Bolivia mining town erects huge statue of Virgin
ORURO, Bolivia (AP) — The Carnival celebrations in this Andean mining city already rival Brazil's Rio de Janeiro for color and culture, if not for size. Now Oruro has erected a huge statue of the Virgin Mary that's a little taller than Rio's famed Christ the Redeemer.
Oruro formally dedicated the new statue Friday as it kicked off its Carnival celebrations, which have been recognized as part of the patrimony of humanity by UNESCO.
The Virgin of Socavon is almost 150 feet (45 meters) high — a shade shorter than New York's Statue of Liberty and 23 feet (seven meters) higher than Rio's image of Christ. It's built of cement, iron and fiberglass to withstand the fierce winds of the high plain.
"If Rio has its Christ and its Carnival, Oruro has its Carnival, and now it has the Virgin. We're complete," said Virginia Barrios, a neighborhood leader.
She said construction of the statue cost $1.2 million and took four years.
During Carnival each year, more than 30,000 people dance in procession through the streets, some in elaborate costumes, and brass bands blare. They honor the Virgin of Socavon, the patron saint of the city of roughly 250,000 people.
President Evo Morales, who was a musician in Oruro in his youth, participated in the inauguration of the statue and Pope Benedict XVI sent a message of blessing.
Life Photo Galleriesview all
- 42155Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15090Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 9670Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8506Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 8490Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 7696Rock, pop, country acts give talents and time to help Oklahoma tornado victims
- 7550Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena