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November 22nd, 2010
01:39 PM ET

Heaven's Above: that is one big statue!

Polish town consecrates giant statue of Jesus

If I asked you to think of a giant statue of Jesus, I bet your mind would jump to Rio de Janeiro and the towering "Christ the Redeemer" that stands high on a mountain over the city.

But the town of Swiebodzin in western Poland is hoping to change all that.

This Sunday, thousands of pilgrims flocked there for the consecration of a statue they hope will be Brazil's famous religious icon.

The Polish creation stands 33 meters tall; that's one meter for every year of Jesus' life. Then you can add on an extra two meters for its golden crown and the mound it sits on. That brings its total height to a potentially record-breaking 52.5 meters.

Now, as you know, here at News Stream, we're all about visualisation. So we wanted to know how the Swiebodzin statue measures up to other effigies of religious figures:

  • As I mentioned, Rio's "Christ the Redeemer" is one to beat. It stands 39 meters tall and was voted one of the "new wonders of the world" in an online poll.
  • The "Cristo de la Concordia" in Bolivia is even bigger at 40.4 meters.
  • The "Giant Buddha of Leshan" in China's Sichuan province may not be free-standing (it's carved into a cliff-face) but it still comes out as the tallest stone buddha in the world, at 71 meters.
  • The world's largest statue of Lord Shiva measures up at nearly 20 meters, and you can find it in Bangalore, India.

There's no doubt that all of them cut an impressive sight.

But at least in Poland, such a large-scale religious icon has caused controversy; underlining the deep divide between a deeply Catholic population and an increasingly confident secular society - with many people mocking the project as "tacky".

All I can say is "Heaven's Above, that's one big statue".

I'm sure I'm not the only one amazed by the ingenuity and innovation required to build a statue that big.

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