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Statues come in all shapes and sizes, grabbing our attention with their peculiar designs. The creative minds of their sculptors drive us to think outside the box to understand their unique concepts, and amid their dead silence, they speak to us and provide visions of extraordinary worlds too surreal to fathom. In celebration of one of the world's oldest artforms, we at TravelPulse bring you 10 amazing and profound monuments that have captivated our minds with their powerful presence.
Easter Island, Chile: Moai
The scattered evidence of their creators and why they were built make the Moai statues a mysterious phenomenon. Yet, in the presence of their silence there is an irresistible charm that shines when beholding the intricate stone faces and torsos of these 13-foot-tall statues. Their hardened décor pays homage to Polynesian culture and seafaring history and have captivated generations with their stony silence and silent watchfulness.
"Who are you?" and "Where did you come from?" are some of the questions that will pop in your head from the moment you encounter these monolithic statues speckled along the landscape of an extinct volcano. Regardless of your curiosities, their silence is golden, concealing their past deeply within their stoned hearts.
Sanya, China: Guanyin
Recognized as one of the tallest statues in the world, you may have to step a few feet back to witness its grandeur, but even from afar her glory beckons every onlooker to come close. And why wouldn't you want to see this pure-white, three-headed figure standing at 108 meters tall up close? Appearing as though she is rising out of the South China Sea, her domineering presence represents mercy, peace and wisdom as she looks down on her subjects like a mother hovering over her child.
From all sides the Nanshan Kwan-yin (Guanyin) is a vision that begs to be gawked at. From the right the statue is holding a sutra which symbolizes wisdom; from the right she can be seen clenching onto prayer beads; and the left she displays her peaceful side while holding a lotus flower. Her six years of completion was meticulously designed to bestow blessings on the world, and lures many people from all near and far to capture a glimpse of her sacred beauty.
England: Angel of the North
Through rain, sleet, wind or snow, the Angel of the North stands at attention at 20 meters high with its wings spread wide open. It was designed by the acclaimed sculptor Antony Gormley who envisioned a representation of the evolution from the industrial age, a celebration of the diligent miners who spent 200 years in darkness below the surface of the site, as well as the important concerns of humanity through a mystical creature- an angel.
The angel continuously shines a bright light on the once barren hilltop on which it stands while gesturing drivers and strollers to cast their eyes its way.
Brazil: Christ the Redeemer
No visit to Rio de Janeiro is complete without visiting its most prized possession, Christ the Redeemer. Emerging out of Corcovado's Mount at 26 feet tall with his arms wide open, visitors from all over the world gravitate to the famous statue to pay their respects to the spiritual leader or simply to feel his pure embrace. Even in its silence, the colossal monument speaks volumes, leading it to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a world-famous masterpiece too sacred to ignore.
Mongolia: Genghis Khan
You may have to approach the statue of Genghis Khan with caution in hopes of not awakening his turbulent soul. This 13th century warrior created a ruckus for his enemies, which led to millions of deaths and changed the course of world history. But on the bank of the Tuul River, the combatant is seated on a horse, as he would have been in battle with his sword in tow facing east (his birthplace).
Perched atop a 10-meter tall exhibition center, you can wander inside of its doors to see a model of Genghis Khan's whip, sink your teeth in potatoes and horse meat, and enjoy a game of billiards. To get up close to the gigantic statue, you can stroll through the body of the horse to capture a panoramic view of its surroundings.
Germany: Die Badende
Boaters of Binnenalster Lake may seem a bit rude interrupting the peaceful bath of the Die Badende (The Bather). With just her head and knees poking above of the water, she appears to be having a relaxing bath in the waters of Hamburg, Germany. At 13 feet tall and over 90 feet long, you will definitely be in for a shock - just make sure you keep your head above water to avoid looking like a peeping tom.
Australia: Upside Down Charles La Trobe Statue
You may have to perform a headstand to understand the concept of this unique statue located on the La Trobe University campus - but if you choose not to, you will at least need to tilt your head. It is a replica of Charles La Trobe, the first lieutenant-governor of Victoria who strived to change the perceptions of universities- or "turn their ideas on their heads." Although many were angered by the representation to the upside-down figure, the statue stands out on its own as one unforgettable piece of art.
Spain: The Magic Tap
Do you believe in magic? Well, you just might once you come close to the Magic Tap, which plays with perception and changes how we view public art. This clever work of art provides the illusion of floating in air as gallons of water gush out of the faucet. But what the surprised onlooker may not know is there is a see-through tube located in the column of the water that gives the pipe its floating capabilities. With several floating taps throughout Spain, locating them is just as fun as watching them float in midair.
Michigan, Spirit of Detroit
Situated in the Coleman A. Young Center, the Spirit of Detroit features a man with his feet crossed holding an orb in one hand which symbolizes God, and a family in the other hand. Unveiled in the 1950s, the statue has made several television appearances since then and dresses in team spirit whenever the Red Wings or Pistons win a big game (it rarely wears a Lions jersey, but hope springs eternal). Not only is it a team player but a game changer, bringing unity to the Motor City by becoming one its most iconic residents. Sorry, Kid Rock.
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