The iconic statue of Christopher Columbus is one of Barcelona’s most emblematic attractions.
In the Portal de la Paz Plaza in Barcelona, nestled in the Old City and alongside the Ramblas and the Paseo de Colón, stands the Columbus Monument, one of the city’s most symbolic sights.
The monument, designed by architect Cayetano Buigas, was built on the occasion of the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition. Originally meant to be financed by individual donations, the work was ultimately funded by the Barcelona City Hall, while the government of Madrid provided 30 tons of bronze taken from its stores of military scrap metal. The ceremonious arrival of all the building materials on horse-drawn carriages was quite a spectacle for city dwellers at the time.
The monument was inaugurated on June 1, 1888 in a ceremony presided over by the Queen Regent María Cristina, with the presence of the President of the Council of Ministers, Práxedes Mateo Sagasta. Also among the guest were Umberto I, King of Italy, and United States President Grover Cleveland, as well as the municipal authorities and ordinary citizens from Genoa.
In total, the monument measures 57 meters tall and is comprised of four parts:
- A circular base, with four flights of stairs 6 meters wide, decorated with eight statues of lions and eight bas-reliefs depicting the shields of the Spanish provinces and Columbus’s principal acts.
- An octagonal pedestal with four buttresses depicting four figures representing the realms of Catalonia, Aragon, Leon and Castile, as well as various individuals who supported Columbus.
- An iron Corinthian column, atop a base decorated with caravels and two griffins holding up the shield of Barcelona, as well as winged victories, with its central shaft engraved and inscribed with an homage to Columbus’s seafaring voyage, with representations of Europe, Africa, Asia and America, the earldom of Barcelona, and a hemisphere.
- Finally, the statue of Columbus himself sits atop the column. The bronze statue by Rafael Atché is 6 meters tall and represents the explorer with his right arm outstretched and his index finger pointed towards the sea, while his left hand holds a nautical map.
An interesting side note is that contrary to popular belief, the statue does not point towards America, but rather in the opposite direction, towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Estatua impresionantemente bella, perfecta y estrepitosamente señala el mundo desde la vista de Barcelona, cuando se llega desde el mar es la bienvenida a la ciudad... gratificante mirarla y verla imponente en su magnífico pedestal
Icono de la ciudad
Absolutamente imprescindible verlo y posar junto a él. Está al comienzo de las ramblas y puede ser un comienzo perfecto para empezar a conocerlas y adentrarnos en esta maravillosa ciudad. O simplemente sentarnos a sus pies y disfrutar con el bullicio que le rodea. También está cerca el maremágnum con restaurantes , bares , cines y tiendas. Y el museo marítimo. Múltiples opciones.