Mirador de Colom

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Mirador de Colom

This Barcelona landmark to Christopher Columbus sits grandly at the foot of La Rambla along the wide harborfront promenade of Passeig de Colom, not far from the very shipyards (Drassanes Reials) that constructed two of the ships of his tiny but immortal fleet. Standing atop the 150-foot-high iron column—the base of which is aswirl with gesticulating angels—Columbus seems to be looking out at "that far-distant shore" he discovered; in fact he's pointing, with his 18-inch-long finger, in the general direction of Sicily. The monument was erected for the 1888 Universal Exposition to commemorate the commissioning of Columbus's voyage, in Barcelona, by the monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1491. Since the royal court was at that time (and, until 1561, remained) itinerant, Barcelona's role in the discovery of the New World is, at best, circumstantial. In fact, Barcelona was consequently excluded from trade with the Americas by Isabella, so Catalonia and Columbus have never really seen eye to eye. For a bird's-eye view of La Rambla and the port, take the elevator to the small viewing platform (mirador) at the top of the column. The entrance is on the harbor side.

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