Christopher Columbus’ Tomb: Visit with Kids
Christopher Columbus’ Tomb:
Visit Christopher Columbus’ Grave with the Kids
You wouldn’t think that visiting a tomb or grave would be an interesting thing to do on vacation but this one is really special. Christopher Columbus is an important figure in the history of the United States and Spain. Not only that, but Christopher Columbus’ gravesite is really unique and worth a visit on your family vacation in Spain.
Tombs and headstones are full of symbols and Christopher Columbus’ tomb is no exception. The larger the tomb, the more room for symbols. Taking the time to think about the symbols and what they mean makes visiting tombs and memories meaningful and fun! Teach the kids how to use their super sleuth skills to solve the mystery behind the symbols.
Common symbols on tombstones:
Angels: reminding us of heaven
Books: reminding us of the story of each life lived
Hearts: reminding us of our love for the deceased
Ants: make us think of Christian hard work
Fox: represents cruelty
Lamb: represents innocence
Rose bud: represents a child younger than 12 years old
Rose, partly in bloom: represents a teenager
Rose in full bloom: represents a young adult
Christopher Columbus’ Tomb
Details and symbolism on the tomb of Columbus:
Christopher Columbus is buried at the cathedral in Seville, Spain in a tomb with a large, elaborate and decorative tombstone.
Four noblemen hold up his tomb, each one symbolizing one of the 4 kingdoms that were joined to become Spain. Look carefully to determine which nobleman represents which kingdom
Figuring out who is who is part of the fun!
Christopher Columbus’ tomb symbolism: Nobleman #1
OK – guy #1 has pomegranates on his robe. Since Granada means pomegranate we know this one represents Granada.
They were also the last kingdom to be conquered in the name of Catholicism and that is what the spear through the pomegranate means. The point of the spear through the fruit sure symbolizes them being conquered, doesn’t it? That is easy to understand.
Christopher Columbus’ tomb symbolism: Nobleman #2
Guy #2 has chains on his robe. He represents the kingdom of Navarre. There are chains on the coat of arms, also.
Christopher Columbus’ tomb symbolism: Nobleman #3
Guy #3 is my favorite. Bats on his crown! He represents Aragon. The stripes on the coat of arms on the front of his robe match the country’s coat of arms.
But, what about the bats? Bats were also a part of the country’s earlier coats of arms. Some think it was originally supposed to be a winged dragon. King Ferdinand, who was married to the Queen Isabel that sent Columbus on his voyages, was King of Aragon.
Christopher Columbus’ tomb symbolism: Nobleman #4
Guy #4 has castles on his robe and crown. He represents the kingdom of Castile. Queen Isabel was Queen of Castile and she sent Christopher Columbus on his journey to America.
But that’s not all! They have decorations on the back of their robes. Discuss the symbolism. Admire the detail.
Even the underneath of the casket itself is decorated.
You can visit Christopher Columbus’ tomb in the Seville Cathedral which is the world’s largest Gothic style cathedral in the world. Enjoy the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and the detailed tomb of Columbus.
Christopher Columbus’ tomb controversy: Are these really his bones?
Christopher Columbus’ bones did a lot of traveling after he died. When he died, he was initially buried in Spain, but then his remains were sent to Santo Domingo. Next, when France gained part of Spain, Christopher Columbus’ gravesite was thought too valuable to fall into French hands so he was unearthed and sent to Havana. Later, when Spain went to war with the US, the worried Spainards sent his remains back to Spain so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of US.
That sounds pretty clear cut, right?
Why the argument about where his bones are resting? In 1877, workers in the Santo Domingo cathedral in Havana, found a box labeled ” Illustrious and distinguished male, Cristopher Columbus” which included a set of human bones. Naturally they assumed the wrong set of bones had been sent back to Spain earlier during the war and that these must be the real bones. For years Havana and Seville have argued over who REALLY had the bones of Columbus.
But….enter science to end the debate. In 2006 DNA test results showed that the bones in Seville are really the bones of Columbus. Those in charge of the bones in Havana will not allow testing to be done on their bones. So….the winner is? Seville! Read more about the DNA testing for Christopher Columbus’ bones and DNA.
CLICK BELOW to see the video we made while at the Seville cathedral.
Natalie, The Educational Tourist