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Barcelona rejects building new Don Quixote statue

One of the most iconic scenes of the book saw the famed fictional knight face a battle on Barceloneta beach

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18 November 2021 11:40 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Barcelona has rejected plans to erect statues of Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza on Barceloneta beach

The seafront area is where one of the most iconic scenes of the story from author Miguel de Cervantes takes place. There, Don Quixote battles with the Knight of the White Moon, a duel he loses, forcing him to abandon his quest. 

The tribute to the main characters of what is regarded as the world’s first modern novel was struck down by councillors from Barcelona En Comú, the Socialist party, and Esquerra Republicana. 

Centre-right unionist party Ciudadanos first put forward the motion to build the new statues, but they could only gain the votes of the People’s Party and Barcelona pel Canvi, while Junts abstained. 

Ciudadanos councillor Paco Sierra lamented that Barcelona rejected the “homage” that one of history’s greatest authors “deserves,” adding that the monument would have attracted “quality tourism” to the area. 

The debate had an added political dimension, as the figures of Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote are seen as Spanish symbols. The institution in charge of promoting Spanish culture around the world is called ‘Instituto Cervantes.’

Conservative unionist People’s Party politician Óscar Ramírez pointed the finger at “political and ideological motives” as the reason behind the rejection of the statue. 

Barcelona’s councillor in charge of culture, Jordi Martí, from the party Barcelona En Comú, the only party not aligned on the issue of independence or unionism, rejected the idea that the Don Quixote statue motion was turned down on ideological grounds.

“If there is anyone who has transcended political debates in this country it’s Cervantes,” he argued. 

Meanwhile, Gemma Sendra of the left-wing pro-independence group Esquerra Republicana, said there were already homages to the historic writer in the Catalan capital. 

“I was surprised by the request at the time of crisis in the cultural sector, it seems very strange to me,” Sendra said. “If any figure has been recognized and loved in the city, it is Cervantes and Don Quixote."

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  • The oldest surviving copy of Miguel de Cervantes's book Don Quixote, dating back to 1750 (by Montserrat Ayala)

  • The oldest surviving copy of Miguel de Cervantes's book Don Quixote, dating back to 1750 (by Montserrat Ayala)

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