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The Traveller's Magazine
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Tourists invest a lot of time photographing pieces of stone and cast bronze. Statues occupy the space in the middle of a grand plaza or square, porticoes in museums; they mark locations where important events took place. Some are grand, others quite modest but only a handful are world famous.

As far as the history of statues goes… they’ve been created by man since prehistory and who knows why. The oldest one we know of dates back 32,000 years and is called “Lion Man.” From religious deities to influential people and historic events carved into stone, this are some of the oldest, most famous, impressive and according to some, best statues in the world.

David – Florence

Michelangelo really outdid himself with this one. Standing 5.17 metres tall, David is the poster boy for Renaissance men. Sculpted between 1501 and 1504, the statue now stands in a large portico in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. It was moved from its original location in the Piazza della Signoria in 1873.

How to: experience Florence for FREE


Little Mermaid – Copenhagen

Delicate and unassuming at 1.75m tall, the Little Mermaid sits perched on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour. She’s quite small and the best way to find her is to look for a small crowd of people seemingly taking a picture of the water. The statue was designed by Edvard Eriksen and erected in 1913 to celebrate the works of Hans Christian Anderson.

Like a local: Copenhagen


Olmec Heads – Mexico

We’ve all heard of the Aztecs and Incas but what about the Olmec? They were a pre-Columbian civilisation which apparently killer carving skills. They lived in southern Mexico, roughly where Veracruz and Tabasco are now. To day 17 of these ginormous heads, presumably portraits of rulers or warriors, have been dug up and range in size from 1.47m to 3.4m tall.


Moai – Easter Island

We do love a good mystery which is no doubt why these monolithic statues on Easter Island have become so famous. Easter Island is one of the most isolated places on the planet and were carved by the Rapa Nui people between 1250 and 1500. They were located all around the island to protect the different clans. A few have been removed from the island, one of which can be found in the British Museum.


Giant Buddha – China

The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved out of a cliff face in Sichuan, China and is the largest stone Buddha statue in the world. It stands 71 metres tall and 28 metres wide at the shoulders. If you were to sit on the smallest toenail, you’d still have space around you. Today it attracts visitors from around the world, not just Buddhists. The mountain scenery alone is worth the visit.


Great Sphinx – Cairo

Heading for holidays in Egypt? The Giza Plateau is by far the most popular tourist destination in the entire country and the star attraction? The Sphinx of course. It’s one of the oldest and largest statues in the world although it doesn’t look so grand compared to the giant pyramids beside it. Although it’s debatable, many think it was built around 2500 BC.


Statue of Liberty – New York

What would a statue round-up be without Miss Liberty? A gift from France, she stands on Liberty Island and is one of the most recognised symbols in the world. It was built in 1884 in France and transported to the USA by ships and erected where it stands the following year.


Christ the Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro

Rio is famous for two things: its beaches (Copacabana anyone?) and its Jesus statue. Standing on top of Corcovado Mountain at 700 metres, he has one of the best views around: Guanabara Bay is to the north, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is to the south. The statue itself is almost 40m tall and 30m wide from finger tip to finger tip.


Have you seen any of these in person? Which ones?

Imgs: Sue Waters, Chi King, Sue Richards, Barkaw, CarlosVanVegas, David Holt, anoldent / Flickr cc.

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One response to “Stone cold: world’s most famous statues

  1. This website has given me useful information about stone and cast bronze sculptures which looks really interesting .Thank you, really for sharing this kind of information.

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