The best way to tell the story of a city is by visiting its most colossal statue because it carries thousands of stories for centuries — too much information to be put down on paper. Statues hold the tales of Humanity for generations. They are the best method of communicating culture or expressing feelings having been used since the dawn of civilization. Whenever Colossal Statues are mentioned today, most people think of the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan or Jesus the Redeemer in Rio, but these are just a tip of the iceberg. Here is a look at the ten most revered colossal statues around the world.
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The Statue of Liberty, USA
The Statue of Liberty is not the tallest in the world, no! But its mere mention is enough to tell any stranger what to expect when they arrive in America. A land once ravaged with wars, torture and the pain of slavery became a symbol of freedom for the whole world. The rise of America as a land of freedom fostered the growth of the new civilization that saw slave trade abolished and human rights embraced worldwide. In I886, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this great nation and its friendship with the people of France, France gifted the US with the mighty statue of Liberty.
Its greatness does not lie in size but the untold stories of billions of people around the world that are represented in the statue, some who have never even seen it physically. It is simply the global symbol for the spirit of universal freedom of humanity. It is the creation of the French Sculptor Fredrich Augusto Bartholdi. The steel framework was created by Alexander Eiffel, the very creator of the Eiffel tower. It was erected on Liberty Island to be seen by everyone in the city and most importantly, incoming immigrants who tended to come in via the nearby Ellis Island. Most of the modern view is as a result of the 1986 renovation during the 200th anniversary. It is one of the greatest landmarks in the world. It is estimated to have at least 4 million visitors annually.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
This statue was recently included in the new seven wonders of the world. This is the 5th largest statue of Jesus Christ but the most famous in the world. Is has become the primary landmark of Rio as well as Brazil as a whole. It was proposed as a commemoration for princess regent of Brazil Isabela in 1850, but permission for construction was not given until 1921. The initial design made by the Brazilian Engineer Hector da Silva Costa was not the open arm Jesus we see today.
The idea was creating an image of Jesus that showed his love and welcoming nature for all humanity, and as a result, Silva Costa proposed an image of Jesus carrying a cross in one arm and the globe in the other. Oswald Silva Costa corrected the design to the open arm, Jesus, we see today standing 98 feet high with arms stretched 92 feet apart. It has been the victim of vandalism over the years but not without accomplishing its purpose. It is the most famous statue of Jesus in the world with nearly two million visitors annually.
The Great Sphinx at Giza, Egypt
Most people think of Pyramids whenever Egypt is mentioned, but they forget that the Sphinx is the guardian of all the pyramids. It is one of the great mysteries of Ancient Egypt. No one knows precisely why the pharaohs made it, its actual extent or its exact date of construction. It is nearly 75 meters long and 20 meters high making it the largest statue of any ancient civilization.
It lies facing the sun with a head initially believed to depict a lion or a cobra, but part of its nose and beard were chipped of allegedly by Napoleon’s soldiers. It was buried under the dust for years which is why no one knew its actual extent. It lies facing the rising sun while its tail extends into Memphis which is why most historians believe it stood as the protector of the pharaohs in their resting places in the pyramids.
The Statue of Decebalus, Romania
This statue was commissioned by professor Giuseppe Constantino who largely believed that the Dacians had the earliest form of civilization and that the bravery of King Decebalus who defended the ancient empire of Dacia to his death was worth remembering. It stands as the largest rock statue in Europe at 40 meters high on The Romanian side of Danube. Decebalus fell to the Roman emperor Trajan in 106 BCE after defending the territory fiercely through three major battles against the greatest power in the world at the time.
His face was sculptured into the rock to represent the dominance of the Dacian culture in Romania and also recognize the bravery of that empire’s last king. The work took ten years to accomplish with 12 professional sculptors supervising the tough work from 1993 to 2004. It is now used to remember the earliest civilization in Europe and the entire world with over 1 million visitors annually.
The Motherland Calls, Russia
This is Europe’s tallest statue Build to commemorate the victory of the Soviets against the Nazi invasion in the battle of Stalingrad which marked the most significant Soviet triumph in WWII. The vents of that site changed the course of the war against the Axis forces which is why the Russians decided it was the right place to construct the tallest statue in the world. Joseph Stalin chose Evgeny Vucetic, one of the world’s greatest sculptors to create the monument to commemorate over 30,000 soldiers buried at the foot of the statue.
It took a total of 2400 tons of steel and 5500 tons of concrete to complete the 87-meter-tall icon which was the tallest in the world at the time. The statue shows a woman that stands in front with a raised sword, an open mouth signifying a brave call to her sons to defend the land and an open arm ready to fight. The 33-meter-long sword was the most challenging aspect because it was initially made of stainless steel which shook in the wind. It was repaired in 1972 with fluorinated steel to withstand the winds.
The Spring Temple Buddha, China
This is the statue currently holding the Guinness world record for the tallest statue in the world although the statue of Unity is India is expected to take the record upon completion. Massive is the only word that can be used to describe this buddha because, at 502ft above the ground, the Buddha, 20 minutes from the Lushan China is a spectacle to behold. It was commissioned as a reply to the destruction of Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001 by the Taliban.
The Chinese Government decided to convert a whole hill into a holy site for the Buddha creating a temple on the hill consisting of a diamond seat and a Sumeru seat with the Buddha on top. It is made of 108kg of Gold, 3300 tons of copper and 15000 tons of steel. Reaching the top of the two seats to touch the Buddha’s feet is a long reflectional journey where visitors have to climb over 1000 stairs. It is still a great place to be despite its remote location.
The Leshan Giant Buddha, China
While the Spring Temple is the tallest, this one takes the record for the largest stone Buddha in the world and equally stands out as a wonder considering the amount of work needed to achieve the efficiency of its sculpture. At 1300 years, it is one of the oldest Buddha statues in the world, but the attraction is in the hair. The Buddha’s head has more than 1000 curls curved and fixed expertly on its head.
The rest of the body was curved from the rock except for the ears which are made of wood and fixed using clay. The final image of the Buddha is a happy monk seated with arms resting on the knees watching the river flow from his feet. It is the site of millions of visits annually especially pilgrims that seek to feel the spirituality of the holy place around Mt. Lingyun where the statue is curved and also the rivers that flow from his feet.
Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, Mongolia
Of course, after conquering half of the known world, you would expect the legend of Mongolia to have a great statue which is why he had to be on the list. This is the largest Equestrian statue made purely of stainless steel. It is located at the banks of Tuul river 54 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar at the site where Genghis is believed to have found his golden whip that he used to conquer the world. Genghis is infamous in the West for his brutality during his conquests but Mongolia revers him as the great Khan that put Mongolia on the world map.
They had no problem erecting the statue of Genghis on horseback on a two-story building designed like an ancient European Gothic house. Visitors have a chance of taking an elevator up the 40-meter statue to the head of the horse to get a view of the surroundings. The site is a museum dedicated to the 36 Khans of Mongolia with antique shops and Mongolian cuisines inside designed to reflect everything Mongolian.
Ushiku Daibutsu, Japan
This was the tallest statue in the world until 2002 when the Chinese constructed the great Spring Temple Buddha. It is however still very famous and inspiring standing 394 feet above the ground surrounded by 2km of beautiful flowers on all sides. It depicts Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light and still one of the greatest tourist attractions in Japan. It is more of a four-story bronze building built In the shape of a Buddha with its famous fourth floor located in the chest of the Buddha where you can get a clear view of the breathtaking landscape below.
The other levels have shrines and thousands of Buddha statues. A visit in April to May gives people a view of the vast carpet of poppies below while autumn in October and November gives an even more spectacular site of a carpet of flowers. It is used to depict the goodness of the Buddha who is believed to have reincarnated many times after his enlightenment to perform many good deeds that brought light and beauty to the world.
Laykyun Setkyar Buddha, Myanmar
This is mostly a site of worship, but the impressive site of two of the world’s largest Buddhas has turned it into one of Myanmar’s greatest attraction sites. It has the second tallest standing Buddha at 420ft and the largest reclining Buddha in the world at 331ft. The respected Buddhist Bodhi Tahtaung commissioned it in Po Khaung Taung. The reclining Buddha is hollow housing more than 9000 statues of the Buddha. The standing Buddha is, however, the most spectacular.
It has 31 stories with each level depicting the levels of life and Hell in the ancient Buddha religion. It has drawings of the different levels of Buddha hell, some too graphic for the faint-hearted because they explain the punishment for every sin in the Buddhist hell. Visitors can take an elevator and get a view of the holy ground below full of Bodhi trees with the Buddha sitting under each of them in meditation.