For a bird’s eye view of Barcelona’s Old Port (Port Vell) and its surrounding neighborhood, visit the Columbus Monument (Mirador de Colom). Built for the 1888 International Exhibition, this eye-catching tower protruding from the center of a busy traffic circle, stands over 196 feet tall and is topped by a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus—the Italian explorer (believed to have been Catalan) whose maritime voyages were funded by the Spanish Monarchy.
The base of the monument, surrounded by four regal lions, is decorated with stone statues, royal and nautical emblems,
and bronze medallions and bas-reliefs depicting significant figures and scenes from the life of Columbus and his historic expeditions. Among these are:
Bas-reliefs depicting Columbus meeting with Isabella and Ferdinand in Santa Fe,
and appearing before the Spanish Monarchy upon his return in Barcelona.
Artists associated with the monument include Gaietà Buïgas, the monument’s designer; Rafael Arché, who sculpted the statue of Columbus; Agapit Vallmitjana sculptor of the majestic lions; and Josep Llimona, Josep Tenas, and Manuel Fuxà, sculptors of the various medallions and reliefs.
A tiny elevator at the center of the monument, whisks visitors up to an observation deck in the crown beneath Columbus’ feet for a 360° view of the waterfront.
On a pretty day, you’ll have a clear view of the boats in the harbor;
the busy pedestrian filled La Rambla;
the Royal Shipyards and Maritime Museum;
various military installations, including the Third Army Sub-Inspection Unit
and the Naval Command of Barcelona;
the former Port Works Council (now the Port Authority); and in the distance, several other landmarks, such as Montjüic and its castle.