Inspired by a visit from Pope John Paul II, Cristo de la Concordia dominates the skyline of a Bolivian town. Designed by César and Wálter Terrazas Pardo and hewn entirely of cement and concrete, construction lasted from 1987 through 1994 before the world’s the second largest Jesus statue was finally completed.
Sometimes referred to as the “Christ of Peace,” Cochabamba’s colossal statue rises 869 feet above the city below. At 33 meters high, Cristo de la Concordia is nearly exactly the height of Río de Janiero’s Christ the Redeemer; the architects of both statues suggest that one meter was allotted for each year of Christ’s life.
However, El Cristo de la Concordia once held the title of “World’s Largest Christ Statue” by towering over its more famous brother in Río thanks to an added 44 centimeters of well-coiffed hair atop Christ’s head. Cochabambinos like to say this petty – nay, monumental – difference accounts for the fact that the historic Christ died while He was “a little bit past” His 33rd year on the planet.
Regardless of the architectural one-upmanship – that game’s as old as the church itself, after all – Bolivia’s giant Christ beckons visitors up to his steep, rocky perch. Choose to take 1250 steps to its base, or the perennially entertaining cable car offering a lift to the top for a nominal fee. Bolstering its appeal is a weekly invitation into His literal folds each and every Sunday; the statue’s outstretched arms and inner sanctum of His head serve as viewing platforms, providing a birds-eye glimpse of the benevolent, holy gaze el Cristo bestows upon the townspeople below.