Article by Rachel Greenberg, originally written for NileGuide
There’s something about a massive towering statue that both excites us and totally freaks us out. Their sheer size is mind boggling, their design questionable, and taste level…you’ll see what we mean.
1. Emperors Yan and Huang – Zhengzhou, Henan, China
These creepy faces belong to the Emperors Yan and Huang – two ancient leaders of China. They’re credited with being the earliest ancestors to the nation of China, and their “likeness” is supposed to represent “politics and the economy” (whatever that means). We’re not exactly sure where the rest of the emperors’ heads are, but this statue does rank pretty high on the creep-o-meter. Not to mention it cost 22.5 million US dollars to make and an astonishing 20 years to complete.
Unveiled in 2007 and clocking in at 350 feet-tall, this monument is the 5th tallest in the world.
2. The Motherland Calls – Volgograd, Russia
Image: BBM Explorer
When the Russian government wanted to commemorate the Battle of Stalingrad in the 1960s, they turned to this incredibly – um – expressive piece. Part furious, sword- wheedling warrior, part sensuous, barely clothed lady, this statue gives some pretty strong mixed messages.
No matter how you want to see “Mother Russia,” she is pretty big. Declared the largest statue in the world in 1967, she is the last record holder of that title that is not a religious statue.
3. Crazy Horse – Black Hills, South Dakota
Unlike most other mega statues, Crazy Horse is being built on private land with private funds. It was conceived in 1929 to pay tribute to the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse who defended his tribe against the encroaching US government and fought valiantly at the Battle of Little Bighorn. The artist, Korczak Ziółkowsk, began the epic task of capturing Crazy Horse’s likeness in 1948.
Unfortunately he didn’t get very far, and when he died in 1982 only the face of the sculpture had been started. When completed, the statue will encompass Crazy Horse’s torso, riding a horse, and pointing off into the distance – so clearly there’s much work still to be done. After Ziółkowsk’s death, his family has taken up the task of completing the work.
If it ever gets done, Crazy Horse will be six-hundred and forty-one feet wide and five-hundred and sixty-three feet high, which would make it the worlds largest monument. Even though this massive piece isn’t close to being completed, it is still open to visitors.
4. African Renaissance Monument – Dakar, Senegal
Image: Jeff Attaway/Flickr
If you responded with a huge, “HUH?” to this statue, then you’re definitely not the only one. Unveiled in 2010, this piece of art has been criticized as being Stalinist, totally “un-African”, too expensive (it cost $27 million), sexually inappropriate, and a complete eyesore. Since this massive monument is located at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean, it is the first thing any visitor sees when visiting Dakar. Outside of Asia and the former USSR, the African Renaissance Monument is the tallest in the world.
5. Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue – Tuv Province, Mongolia
Image: LD PIX/Flickr
Located about an hour outside Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is this massive monument to Genghis Khan. Placed far from any metropolis, the spot was chosen because, according to legend, it was there where Khan found a “golden whip,” which he holds in his right hand in the statue.
Not only is this epically huge statue situated in the middle of nowhere and made from 250 tons of reflective stainless steal, but it commemorates a warmongering dictator who’s military conquests are said to have taken somewhere around 40 million lives. Whatever floats your boat Mongolians…
6. Blue Mustang – Denver, Colorado
So he’s not quite a mega-statue, but we couldn’t bare to leave the Blue Mustang off our list. The creepiness of this big guy is pretty evident when you look at him; anatomically correct, blue skin, glow-in-the-dark robot eyes, and not to mention 32-feet tall. He was installed outside the Denver airport in 2008, and there has been public outcry criticizing the work ever since.
Originally, he was supposed to be the center of a sitting area outside the airport where people could park their car, hang out on benches, and wait for arrivals. But when security measures changed after 9/11 the park was cancelled and now the Blue Mustang stands ominously alone, in an empty patch of dirt cut off from the rest of the airport.
And what does a statue like this even mean? We could ask the artists, except he passed away in 2008 when a section of the 9,000-pund fiberglass Blue Mustang statue FELL ON HIM during construction. ACK!
7. Peter the Great – Moscow, Russia
Image: Natalia Rifai/Flickr
Image: Captain Chaos/Flickr
The eighth largest statue in the world commemorates the 3ooth anniversary of Peter the I creating the Russian Navy. Unveiled in 1997, Moscow has been trying to get rid of this monument almost immediately after it was built. In 2010 Saint Petersburg refused for it to be relocated to their city, and it was voted one of the top 10 ugliest statues by Virtual Tourist and Foreign Policy magazine.
What it lacks in charm it definitely makes up for in height. This monstrosity looms over 300 feet above the banks of the Moskva river.