Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.
There are big statues of gods and heroes almost everywhere, but Asia dominates.
Is there any better city icon than a huge statue? I don't think so. Luckily, there are tons of them scattered throughout cities and towns around the world. Even more luckily, some masterminds have placed the biggest ones on a map.
Thanks to this Wikipedia listing of the world's biggest statues (and their geographic coordinates), we can see the global distribution of massive replications of famous people, deities and Jolly Green Giants.
The list includes more than 120 statues 5 meters and taller, ranging all the way up to the world's current biggest statue, a 128-meter tall Buddha in Henan province, China. That's about the size of a 30-story building.
From left, Henan's Spring Temple Buddha (128 meters), New York's Statue of Liberty (93 meters – including 47 meter pedestal), Volgograd, Russia's The Motherland Calls (85 meters), Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer (39.6 meters), and Michelangelo's David in Florence, Italy (5.17 meters).
And, as you can see in this map of all the statues in the list, enormous statuary is enjoyed all over the world – well, except in Australia and Africa.
All the statues in this list have been grouped by size, and when we eliminate statues under various heights, we get a very clear picture of which part of the world is basically the master of mega-statues.
Statues taller than 16 meters:
Statues taller than 20 meters:
Statues taller than 30 meters:
Statues taller than 40 meters:
Asia, with its penchant for statue-tizing its Buddhist gods, is clearly dominating the world of colossal icons. The western hemisphere has only two showing in the 40-meters-and-up club, only one of which, the Statue of Liberty, is in the U.S.
So while we in the U.S. could do much better at turning our heroes into superstructures, I think we have to give a lot of credit to our Buddhist friends for their superiority and leadership in building super-tall statues.
Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons