>Happy Columbus Day!

>As we celebrate Columbus Day, it gives me a good opportunity to point out a couple of interesting connections between Christopher Columbus and Barcelona. Despite ongoing controversy as to whether Columbus was, in fact, Catalan rather than Italian, the more important connection between the explorer and the Catalan capital is the fact that when Columbus returned from America to formally present his discovery to King Fernando and Queen Isabel, he did so in Barcelona where they were residing at the time. This took place in the architecturally stunning Saló de Tinell, the massive barrel-vaulted 13th century throne room/audience chamber of the old Royal Palace in Barcelona, which is pictured below:

Later the Indians who had accompanied Columbus back to Barcelona were baptized in the cathedral, an event which is commemorated in a plaque in the baptistery:

Because of this connection, an impressive monument to Columbus was constructed between 1882-1888 for the Universal Exposition world’s fair in Barcelona in 1888. The monument, which sits at the end of the Ramblas (one of Barcelona’s most beloved streets, which I wrote about recently) is emblematic of Barcelona and dominates the port area, close to the amazingly well-preserved medieval shipyards, now the Nautical Museum, which Columbus himself would have known very well:

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