Commemorations to Columbus in Vienna

This is an ongoing research of the commemorations to Columbus in Vienna which started on the 12 of October of 2014. In Vienna there are several places where Christopher Columbus is commemorated. In fact, Columbus is a figure of present relevance in Austria, that continues to be used in order to connote a positive image –as the many companies carrying his name testify.
The first monument erected to Columbus in Vienna was set in 1862, being Vienna one of the first European cities outside of Italy and Spain to erect a statue in his name. By 1862, Spain had two of its now (around) 98 commemorative places and statues. Salamanca is recorded as the first city with a monument/plaque and Barcelona the second with a portrait medallion. The main monument to Columbus in Madrid was built between 1881-1885. The one in Barcelona was built between 1881-1888.

*List of places where Columbus is commemorated:

1. Vienna Business School

The Entrance of the Vienna Business School (Handelsakademie I der Wiener Kaufmannschaft, 1862) has two statues: Adam Smith to the left and Columbus to the right, standing, with a map showing the Americas in his left hand, to which he is pointing with his other hand. "Standbild aus Stein (mit Schiffsgeräten) von Josef Cesar (Wiener Akademie der bildenden Künste) für den Entdecker Amerikas (1492)".

Location: Wien 1, Akademiestraße 12. Across Karlsplatz and next to Brut.

2. Naturhistorisches Museum

Façade statues at the Museum of Natural History, 1880s. One of the 108 historical figures represented —all men. Columbus is next to Fernão de Magalhães and Vasco da Gama. "10 statues in niches: devoted to the discoveries and the events of the world, indicating that have suddenly expanded the horizon of observation and knowledge, 34 statues on the balustrades, 64 heads: the personal moments of progress, represented by the chronological sequence of statues of great men, of will and inquiry". Sculptor: Anton Schmidgruber (Wiener Akademie der bildenden Künste).

"Fassade gegen den Maria Theresien Platz. In den Nischen neben dem Fenster links Columbus, der Entdecker Amerikas, rechts Vasco da Gama, der Entdecker des Seeweges nach Indien (Anton Schmidgruber)." Source:

"Nischenfiguren des linken Eckrisalites: Columbus"

Location: Wien 1, Burgring 7. Naturhistorisches Museum.

3. Columbusgasse

Named after Christopher Columbus on December 1, 1864 by the District Committee Wieden. Implemented the 5 July 1894 on the Inzersdorfer Canongasse and part of the Neuburgergasse (September 9, 1969 Council Committee for Culture (Gemeinderatsausschuss für Kultur). In 1874 this section that belongs to the 4th district of Wieden passes to belong to the 10th district of Favoriten.

4. Columbushof

Built in 1892 by the architects Josef and Anton Drexler (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien) and thoroughly renovated in 1983. In the middle of the building, there are relief medallions representing Columbus and the English Francis Drake. The entrance is flanked by atlases.

Location: Wien 10, Columbusplatz 6.


5. Relief portrait Am Hof 2

Built in 1912-1914 after a design of the architects Ernst von Gotthilf-Miskolczy and Alexander Neumann. It is located next to the relief portraits of Gutenberg, Volta and Ressel. The sculptor artist is likely Wilhelm Heyda. The Kriegsministerium was located here until 1913.

Location: Wien 1, Am Hof 2.

6. Mosaic in Columbusgasse

Made in 1966. The mosaic shows a map of North America (Mexico is recognizable at the bottom of the mosaik), with Columbus holding the Spanish flag (standing in the Great Lakes area), one of Columbus's ships, a stereotypic tipi with an Indian chief and the seal of the United States (over Baja California). At the top three large black birds are flying. The mosaik is on the northern façade of the house which was built in 1966. The sculptor artist is Emerich Sandig.

Location: Columbusgasse 66, facing Rotenhofgasse, in Vienna's 10th Bezirk.

7. Columbusplatz

Designed by the architect Ernst Huss. "Columbus Square has become the heart of the Favoriten street." At this square begins the Columbusgasse. Location: Wien 10, near to Reumannplatz.

8. Columbuscenter 

A mall at Columbusplatz that features a visible outward steel and glass structure in the shape of an egg, which protrudes from the glass facade. This in reference to the apocryphal story of the 'Egg of Columbus'. Location: Wien 10.

9. AK Bibliothek Mural 

In three parts:
1 Tableau Socrates 470-399 Platon 427-347 / Pytagoras 552-492 Democrit
2 Tableau Franz Assisi 1182 1226 Dante Aligheri 1265 1321 / Bernard de Clairvaux
3 Tableau Columbus 1451-1506 Galilleo Galilei 1564 1642 / Erasmus 1465-1536

Foto taken in 2017 in the Arbeiterkammer library.

*Full chronology here:

Columbus in Austrian imaginary:

Entry published 28.10.2014