It was built in Venezuela on the spot where the Virgin was said to have appeared in 1570.
From 1892 to 1954, when Ellis Island served as the main port of entry into the United States, migrants coming from across the Atlantic were welcomed by a colossal neoclassical statue representing the one thing they were after: freedom.
“And then all of a sudden we heard a big commotion and we came to America,” one migrant recalled. “And everybody started yelling they see the Lady, the Statue of Liberty.”
“The Lady,” a 153-foot tall copper statue, was a gift from France to the United States in 1886. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and constructed by Gustave Eiffel, who a year later built his namesake tower in Paris.
For years, “Liberty Enlightening the World” (as Lady Liberty is formally known) stood as the tallest statue in all of the Americas. Then, in 1983, Spanish sculptor Manuel de la Fuente erected a 153-foot statue of the Virgin Mary, the “Virgen de la Paz” (Virgin of Peace), in the state of Trujillo, in western Venezuela.
The imposing statue, made entirely of concrete and weighting around 2,400,000 pounds, is a few inches taller than the Statue of Liberty (151 feet from the base to the torch) and several inches higher than the world-famous sculpture of Christ the Redeemer (124.672 feet) located at the summit of Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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