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.

For a little context, please enjoy one of my favorite Wikipedia charts, "Height comparison of notable statues," made by Anna Frodesiak.

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

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Videos

    5 Ways to Seriously Battle Traffic

    So long as cars are among us, road pricing, ramp meters, diamond-shaped intersections can mitigate horrendous commutes, a new video explains.

  2. Transportation

    Why Some Brits Are Fuming Over London's Crossrail

    A massive new commuter rail project is stoking centuries-old resentment in Britain’s north-south divide.

  3. Transportation

    5 Reasons to Be Wary of Elon Musk's Hyperloop

    High-speed vactrains might be the ticket for a Martian colony. As a practical transit investment for Earth, the technology has a long way to go.

  4. The Salk Institute, near San Diego
    Design

    This Is Your Brain on Architecture

    In her new book, Sarah Williams Goldhagen presents scientific evidence for why some buildings delight us and others—too many of them—disappoint.

  5. An empty storefront on a sidewalk with a "retail space for lease" sign in the window
    Life

    How Cities Can Save Small Shops

    Some places are already taking action, but New York City is lagging behind. Here’s a blueprint for keeping local retail healthy.