Associated Press
Sat, Dec. 04, 2004

Dominican Columbus Monument Lighted Again

Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - For the first time in three years, the lights on the Christopher Columbus monument in the Dominican capital will illuminate the sky with a huge cross on Sunday, the anniversary of the explorer's arrival to the island of Hispaniola.

Electrical problems

that had kept the lights off have been fixed, Andy Mieses, the director of Faro a Colon monument said Saturday, adding that short tests have been performed in preparation for the lighting.

The sprawling cement monument on the eastern edge of Santo Domingo is covered with thousands of lights. When turned on, they project a large cross in the sky that can been seen all over the city.

Columbus first landed on Hispaniola - now shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic - on Dec. 5, 1492. He named the island Santo Domingo.

The Columbus monument opened in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of the sailor's first voyage to the Americas. It claims to hold Columbus' remains inside an intricately carved bronze tomb.

Spanish researchers have challenged the claim, saying the Columbus is buried in the Cathedral of Seville in southern Spain.

In October, Spanish researchers studying genetic evidence from bone slivers allegedly belonging to Columbus and two relatives said preliminary data suggests the explorer might have been buried in Seville, not the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican government refused to let the scientists do DNA tests on the remains in Santo Domingo, saying it didn't believe the testing would be definitive enough to resolve the dispute.