South America’s 4 Most Prominent Statues of Christ
By Connie Lee
Peru For Less
Ever since Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World in 1492, the Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic faith has had a great hold and influence on the lives of the majority of South America’s citizens. Where indigenous and tribal religions, relics, and traditions were once established, the Spaniards replaced with Christian values in their attempt to destroy what they believed were devilish ways and manifestations.
Today, visitors to South America would be hard pressed to not notice evidence of the people’s incredibly strong Catholic beliefs. Incredibly ornate Christian churches and cathedrals can be found in the biggest of cities and the smallest of towns, and countless saints’ shrines are scattered around the countryside throughout the continent. More dramatic to the eye, however, are the crosses and religious effigies found on higher points such as cliff tops and mountain peaks made to symbolize God and Jesus’ protection over the lands they loom over. On your next South America vacation, take note of some of the most impressive of these statues of Christ.
Christ the Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: This infamous white statue of Christ is the fifth largest statue in the world at a height of 130 feet. The legendary icon of Rio and Brazil is famous not only for its religious significance, but also for its incredible views of the city below. It was built over a period of 9 years from 1922 to 1931, and in 2007, was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. As a must-see on any trip to Brazil, travelers can elect to hike up a long series of steps, or take the easier route using escalators and elevators to reach the top.
Cristo del Pacifico – Lima, Peru: This pearly 120-foot statue set atop the Morro Solar mountain flat in the Chorrillos district of Peru’s bustling capital was only established in the middle of 2011, but it has already become a popular addition to Lima travel plans. While a cheap local motorcycle taxi can be easily hired to take you to the top, a more rewarding way to reach the Cristo del Pacifico is to hike the 200 or so steps that in the meantime offer increasingly impressive vistas of tranquil Lima coastline. Also lining the path are dozens of small saints’ shrines. At the base of the statue, you will find families flying kites and a spectacular panorama of the capital city’s neighborhoods and rugged Andean curves in the distance.
Christ the Redeemer of the Andes – Chile; Argentina: For decades, Chile and Argentina have fought over their official border lines. As a symbol of peace and concurrence, the bronze Christ the Redeemer of the Andes was established on the fringes of the two countries in 1904. Much more remote than the other statues of Christ on this list, there is only one road that links this statue with the outside world, and it is only accessible in the summer when there are no snows. Yet, should travelers have the time to spare, it is an unforgettable destination that should be considered on any trips to Chile or Argentina.
Cristo de la Concordia – Bolivia: The 112-foot statue with a 20.5-foot pedestal on top of San Pedro hill in Cochabamba is marginally larger than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and is the tallest statue of Christ on the planet. The monument may be reached by a foot path, or by taking a delightful ride on the cable car as part of your Bolivia vacation. If the scenic views from the base do not satisfy, visitors may climb to the top of the statue itself for an unparalleled experience of Bolivia from above.