Granada City - Plaza Isabel La Catolica

 © Michelle Chaplow plazaisabel35494.
Statue of Queen Isabel with Columbus.

As you scurry across the Gran Via cast a quick glance at the marble statue framed against the shimmering façade of the Banco de Santander (another controversial example of capitalism salvaje a la andaluza). It represents Queen Isabel giving Columbus her permission to make his journey, and was sculpted in Rome for the Fourth Centennial of the Discovery of America in 1892. The official name is Plaza Isabel la Catolica, but the granadinos amusingly call it La Plaza de Colon- Columbus Square - since there´s no doubt in their minds that the real hero was the sailor and not the Queen, who merely signed the chilt entitling him to obtain the ships and supplies.

(Her share of the glory seems even slighter when one considers that she strongarmed the townsfolk of the port from which Columbus sailed into building three ships free of charge, as well as borrowing the hard cash she gave him from a Valencian Jew - the Santangelo whose name is engraved on the pedestal - and never paid it back, since a few months later the poor man was expelled along with all of Spains Jews, by Isabel´s own decree).

This excerpt is taken from:

Granada, City of My Dreams - an artistic and historical guide for the curious traveler by Lorenzo Bohme

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