The statue of Columbus is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Built in homage to the explorer, Christopher Columbus, it rises above Plaça del Portal de la Pau, at the point where the bottom of La Rambla and Passeig de Colom meet, in front of the port of Barcelona. Inside the column there is a lift which takes you up to the hemisphere just beneath the statue’s feet and from where you can enjoy stunning views of the city.
The statue represents Columbus with his right arm stretched out and his index finger pointing towards the sea. It was initially believed that he was pointing towards America, but this theory was a controversial one, since the continent is in fact located in the opposite direction to where the finger is pointing. There then emerged three schools of thought on the matter:
– The first maintains that the statue should be interpreted as a kind of metaphor, and that the artist’s intention was for Columbus to be pointing towards America, but that as the general public wouldn’t have understood that, given that he would be pointing towards La Rambla, and therefore inland, the statue was erected with him pointing out to sea from the point from which he would have sailed.
– The second school of thought maintains that the statue isn’t pointing to America but to India, which was where he originally set off for, albeit by an alternative route, which he was forced to take since the rulers of the Ottoman Empire didn’t allow European traders to use the passage to Asia.
– And the third school of thought also agrees that the statue isn’t pointing to America but in this case to Genoa, his alleged birthplace, although he is in fact pointing straight towards the island of Majorca (where, according to a recent unofficial theory, he was in fact born).