By Michael Williams
East Tennesseans can discover what it must have been like to be on the crew of Christopher Columbus when he set sail in 1492. Two exact replicas of two of the explorer’s famed ships will be landing in Knoxville Oct.25.
The Nina and the Pinta will be docked at Calhouns Restaurant, 400 Neyland Dr., until their departure early Wednesday morning Nov. 6.
The ‘Nina’ was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built. The Pinta was built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.
Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced sailing museum for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the caravel, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world.
Columbus was seeking an alternate trade route from Europe to India and unintentionally stumbled onto the North American continent. Historians regard the event as the collision of two worlds, the Eastern and Western hemispheres that changed world history. In the decades that followed, the Eastern Hemisphere flourished while the Western Hemisphere, populated by the indigenous tribes of the Americas, experienced great hardships.
While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Visitors can see where the explorers slept and the cramped quarters they lived in for months at a time. Admission charges are $8 for adults, $ 7 for seniors and $6 for students ages 5 – 16. Children 4 and under are Free. The ships are open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. No reservations are necessary.
Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member should call 787-672-2152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a minimum of 15 and a charge of $5 per person. For more information visit the website www.thenina.com.