Mirador de Colón - Columbus Monument, Barcelona
Just in case you hadn't noticed or heard about the Columbus Monument I thought I would tell you a bit about it.
Christopher Columbus was a famous navigator and explorer of the 15th Century. He was born approx. 1451 in Italy and died in 1506 in Spain. He is well remembered for his voyages to the Americas which established trade routes between there and Europe.
The Column itself is fitted with sculptures of angels and people of different status, and standing above them all at the top is Columbus, pointing to the new world (and new opportunities)... only, I'm pretty sure he is actually pointing towards Africa and not America... slight mistake there :).
Anyway, aside from that small error, it is a beautiful column and you should check it out when in Barcelona. You can find it at the very start of Las Ramblas at the harbour end.
Fondest memory: Gasping at the sight of the Columbus Monument, as he points to the new world. Being an Italian-American, this monument really moved me! This was one of the first glimpses of Barcelona when we first arrived.
This is one that you'll need to investigate yourself, but I think it would be worth it. At the bottom of La Rambla near Port Vell you see the can't-miss monument to Christopher Columbus. A great photo op, meeting point or place to catch a bus, sure. It's also a nice spot to brush up on your history of how CC supposedly marched through town from the port to deliver his New World findings to the Royal family (or something like that). But apparently there's also an elevator inside the monument that you can take up to the top, so you can see for yourself just where the Hell it is old Chris is pointing anyway. Is that America.....or Africa??
I call it 'little-known' because I never heard of it or saw anyone going inside the monument, nor any line of tourists forming at the base, nothing. I just read about it at a newsstand in a Barcelona guidebook. Maybe everyone knew about it but me.
Finding your way about in Barcelona is not very difficult, but you should bear in mind some important references: The centre of the city is of course Pl. de Catalunya, to the south of which you can find the old town and most of the museums and other historical places of interest of the city.
The famous Rambla meanders from the Plaça de Catalunya down to the Columbus statue, just before the port. To the east of the Rambla you can find the beautiful and romantic Barri Gòtic and to the west, the Barri del Raval. From the Columbus statue you can follow Passeig Marítim (Seafront walk) to the east, past the Moll de la Fusta, and Port Vell, the colourful Barceloneta area and up to the Port Olímpic (Olympic Port). To the west, following Paral.lel you get to Plaça d'Espanya from where Montjuïc, one of the mountains of Barcelona, rises up.
The other mountain, Tibidabo, marks the northern limit of the city. The popular Av. Diagonal is another important landmark, since it runs diagonally across the whole city.
Between Diagonal and Pl. Catalunya is most of the 'Eixample' area ('expansion' in English), which arose from the famous 'Pla Cerdà' (Cerdà's city plan), aimed at joining the old town with the nearby villages, which are now part of Barcelona. These villages, such as Gràcia, Les Corts, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, etc. have remained untouched over the years and have kept most of their own historic and cultural identity. L' Eixample, with its square blocks of houses forming a grid pattern, has as its main boulevard the Passeig de Gràcia, where you will find the famous 'Pedrera' of Gaudi.
Other important landmarks are: Sagrada Família, Parc de la Ciutadella, Barri de la Ribera and L'Illa Diagonal.
Favorite thing: One of my favourite things in this city was wandering through the gothic area. There are many narrow alley ways and streets with incredible architectural detail. It really is a monument to the city's medieval past. On our walking tour, we were shown a courtyard where Christopher Columbus was greeted after returning from the Americas. Cool! There are also some areas that do not have such an ancient history. We past an old government building where we were told that over 3000 people had been executed against, even up into the 1960's I think. The wall was absolutely riddled with pock marks. Very gruesome.