Saturday, January 30, 2010

Here's Looking at You!

Yesterday I had a tour of Cochabamba, Bolivia's most famous landmark, the statue of Christ of Peace, Cristo de la Concordia, which is predominantly placed on San Pedro hill near the center of the city. It is the largest representation of Christ in the world, standing at 132.7 feet tall and exceeds the height of a similar famous statue on Corcavado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro by 2.7 feet. Allegedly, it's height of 33 meters was intentional to represent Christ's age at the cruxification.
If you look carefully, the body contains "stigmata" , which serve as windows for those that want to crawl up the windy internal staircase. The second photo shows a view of the city taken from one of the portals. It felt ironic and humorous to be a "living" Jew inside that massive structure.. The building just below the monument is the top of the tram which provides access to the statue. The starting point is not in view and almost a 1/4 mile straight down. It is my understanding that it was completed in 1988 too correspond with the visit of Pope John Paul II to this town. It was built with donations from prominent local people, corporations, and politicians and may have been intended to compete with the Mormon community here that built an extremely large temple. Regardless, its presence is helpful, as I wander the streets, as an orientation point to find the way to my temporary home.


  1. This is indeed interesting on several counts. Here's another bit of local and national culture I had no clue about before. It's a preservation of history (the Pope's visit) in a poor country where civic monuments may be rare (?). Also, what came to mind next is your description last post about the unfinished houses, and yet this religious megalith can be completed, no problem. That it serves as a reference point when walking in the city is pretty cool.

    I absolutely love the pic of the city framed in the oval.

  2. Terrific captures, Lee! I, too, love city framed in the oval. I'm always amazed that there is always money for these types of monuments but, as tapirgal wrote, what about how the people live from day to day, the unfinished houses, the lack of so many things for so many people. Isn't that what religion is supposed to be about --- helping provide decent living environments for all the people?? I guess it's things like this that make it very difficult to take churches/religion seriously. Well, I don't usually get on that subject. Terrific post, Lee. Take care.


  3. Lee: Okay, now I really am about as close to speechless as I ever get, because you really outdid yourself with this one! I loved the view of the city framed by the oval before I read your post--meaning before I learned what that oval frame actually was. Then when I read that it was the representation of a stigmata I was totally blown away by the wonderful irony of it. Right now I'm fighting back the temptation to get shamelessly tribal, telling everyone: "It's a Jewish thing; you wouldn't understand."

    Except that I'm pretty sure they DO understand. It's to your credit that you were able to bring the core issue here--i.e. salvation by faith vs. salvation by works, to use the Christian terminology--front and center, in a subtle but unmistakable way. I'm going to leave it at that for now.

    Sylvia: Re "Isn't that what religion is supposed to be about --- helping provide decent living environments for all the people??"

    That very much depends on which religion you're talking about. Some religions don't lose sight of their priorities. While I can't say it "never" happens, it doesn't happen too often.

  4. Great images,Lee. Love the view from the oval. It also looks like you opened up a can of worms. Maybe on purpose. LOVE IT!! LOL MB

  5. Hmmm... Please don't get me started.

    The view is wonderful though.

  6. Great scenes, Lee. But I'm going to refrain from commenting ... methinks you know why ... the better part of valor and all that!