December 2017

Cristo de la Concordia - The Guardian of Cochabamba

By: Jeffrey Coleman
Projects Abroad Volunteer

The Monumental Christ Figure Stands as one of the Biggest and Most Impressive of its Kind in the World

▲ Christo de la Concordia
Photo by: Jeffrey Coleman

High atop San Pedro Hill on its eastern side, the Cristo de la Concordia watches over the city of Cochabamba as a symbol of unity and peace. Motivated by a visit from Pope John Paul II in 1986, the steel and concrete statue stands 40.44 meters high and can be seen from several different parts of the city. Inspired by the Pope's visit, the landmark structure was designed by architects Cesar and Walter Terrazas Pardo in 1987 with the final work being completed in 1994. The statue was modeled after the Christ the Redeemer statue located in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Cochabambas Cristo de la Concordia is actually over 7 meters taller than its, structurally similar, but more famous twin in Rio de Janeiro and is currently the second tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world. While officially the second tallest, the statue, excluding the pedestal, stands 1.2 meters taller than the stone portion of Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Poland which holds the current title of Largest Statue of Christ. Though the overall statue (including the pedestal) measures in at over 40 meters, the statue itself is 34.2 meters high, exceeding the height of Christ the Redeemer by 4.2 meters

"When I see the Cristo, I feel proud because it is one of the biggest statues in the world," says a local.

Although exceeded in size by such structures as the Statue of Liberty in New York City, it is currently the third largest statue in the Southern Hemisphere, exceeded only by the statues of Saint Rita of Cascia in Brazil and the Virgen de la Paz in Venezuela.

While admiring the work of the Cristos architects, it is important to acknowledge the heritage of the statue. The original design for Christ the Redeemer was created by French sculptor Paul Landrowski. The choice of the original design was as a symbol of peace for the city, but its iconic representation in the form of Christ the Redeemer has become a symbol of Rio de Janiero and an international tourist attraction drawing 1.8 million visitors a year. Though newer and larger, the Cristo de la Condordia shares the tourist appeal of Cristo Redeemer, but on a much smaller scale.

"I like to go up in the arms of the Cristo de la Concordia", says a local editor of a Cochabamba-based magazine. "From the Cristo's arms you can see the whole city of Cochabamba." As the editor notes, one distinguishing attribute of the Cristo de la Concordia is the ability of visitors to enter the statue and view the city from the many viewing holes in the structures torso area. 1,399 stairs lead visitors to the viewing area and standing at 2,840 meters above sea level, the Cristo affords viewers a beautiful overview of the city. Unfortunately, visitors are only allowed to enter the statue on Sundays, so it is important to plan accordingly if wishing to make the ascent.

El Cristo de la Concordia Statistics
Original Design: Paul Landrowski
Design: Cesar and Walter Terrazas Pardo
Architectural Type: Statue
Materials: Steel and Concrete
Started: July 12, 1987
Completed: November 20, 1994
Height: 40.44 Meters
Meters above Cochabamba: 265 Meters
Meters above Sea Level: 2,840 Meters

Photo by: Mads Hørkilde

Though impressive at any hour, visiting the statue after dark is not advised as thieves frequent the area after dark. "Do not go to see the Cristo at night," says Emmanuel, a local taxi driver, "There are thieves who will beat you up and rob you." While it is unfortunate that the Cristo does not offer his protection to unwary travelers after dark, the monument remains an important icon to the culture of Cochabamba.

"The Cristo is very important to the city because many of the citizens here are Catholic and it represents the church and is a spiritual monument," says Ricio Treveno, project advisor at a local service organization. "The Cristo is like a guardian of the city. It is like he is extending his arms to hold the city of Cochabamba within his protection."

Agenda Cultural

Instituto Cultural Boliviano Alemán – ICBA







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