In the spring of 1493, the Royal Court was in Barcelona, in residence at what is now known as the Palau Reial facing the Placa del Rei. In April of 1493, Columbus traveled overland from Sevilla to Barcelona to make his report to the monarchs. We have often visited the Placa where Columbus and his entourage – including colorful parrots, native Indians, and gold artifacts – approached the steps of the palace.
Palau Reial and the Placa del Rei. We arrived on the Diada, September 11, and the Catalan flag was on display throughout the city. Columbus would have climbed the stairs in this photograph to greet the monarchs.
The palace, including the great hall, the Salo de Tinell, is part of the Museu d’historia de Barcelona, and can be entered from the museum. The hall is usually the site of an exhibit, and on our recent visit the exhibit centered around the world of the 15th and 16th centuries.
We had visited the hall before, but other rooms of the palace are typically closed. By good fortune, a special exhibit was being shown in the former Royal Chapel, and for the first time we were able to enter this historic room. Following Columbus’s report to the monarchs, he accompanied them to the Royal Chapel where Te Deum Laudamas (“We Praise Thee, O God”) was sung and, according to contemporary accounts, great tears of joy fell from the eyes of the monarchs and their admiral as they gave thanks for the great miracle of the voyage. The Ocean Sea had at last been crossed.