Cristo del Otero – Palencia, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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Palencia, Spain

Cristo del Otero

The gaunt visage of this angular Christ giant is enough to put the fear of God into all who see it. 

In the proud tradition of such colossal Christs as Christ of the Ozarks and the Christ of Vung Tau , Palencia, Spain’s Cristo del Otero (Christ of the Knoll) is a huge stone messiah that looks out over the city in benevolence and supplication, however the harsh modern style of this statue is more frightening than enlightening.

Built in 1931 by famed local sculptor, Victorio Macho, the giant Jesus was inspired by brutalist art deco lines and sharp modern angles. The savior’s face is sunken in and as opposed to the more standard pose of open armed acceptance (which also mirrors the crucifix), Macho’s figure has his hands up in almost halting motion, either displaying his stigmata, or in a signal of caution. The odd pose is a result of a compromise meant to make the entire statue lighter. Other than the stark forms, the figure is largely free of decoration save for a lightly etched sacred heart on his chest.

Though the most striking feature of the Christ are his hollow eyes. Staring like bottomless pits, the eye sockets were originally supposed to be filled with ivory and marble, but in yet another budgetary compromise they were simply converted into windows. However from the exterior they tend to simply look empty.

Despite the strange design of the Christ figure, it is still one of the tallest of its kind in the world topping out at over 70 feet tall.  The Cristo del Otero is also beloved by the city over which it watches, acting as a symbol of Palencia. The base of the statue also features a museum to the statue’s history and Macho’s works in and around Palencia. The artist himself is also buried at the site.

Know Before You Go

Ermita Cristo del Otero Ermita Cristo del Otero, Palencia, España