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The Apennine Colossus, located in Florence, Italy, is part man and part mountain. This amazing statue, designed by a sculptor named Giambologna in the late 1500s, stands 35 feet tall. Inside, there are rooms with different functions; an area behind his head was reserved for a fireplace meant to blow smoke through his mighty nostrils. Costantinus/Wikimedia Commons Italy
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The Great Buddha of Phuket, also known simply as Phuket Big Buddha, is a memorial to Maravijaya Buddha, symbolizing victory over temptation. Construction on this concrete and white marble statue began in 2002. It oversees the scenic city of Phuket, Thailand — and at over 150 foot tall it's quite an imposing part of the skyline. dennissylvesterhurd/Flickr
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Truly one of the most amazing statues in the world, the African Renaissance Monument stands at 160 feet tall and is made from copper. It is located in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Designed by Senegalese architect Pierre Goudiaby, it was formally dedicated on April 4, 2010 — commemorating the 50th anniversary of Senegal's independence from France.
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Daniel Firman designed and executed this mesmerizing sculpture in 2008, when this life-size statue was displayed at the Fontainebleau Castle in Paris, France. Called "Würsa," it shows an elephant balancing on its trunk. (At approximately 11,000 miles above the earth is where gravity would be weak enough for this to occur in real life.) Firman consulted with a professional taxidermist before crafting the animal to make sure it was as realistic as possible. dalbera/Flickr
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In 1893, at an excavation near the Temple of Apollo in
Delphi, Greece, archaeologists discovered an amazingly preserved, standing statue of Antinous, the lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. When Antinous died mysteriously, Hadrian erected statues of him everywhere and declared him a god to be worshipped. However, zealous Christians planned to destroy the temple in an attempt to wipe out the last traces of Paganism, so this incredible statue was moved and buried out of harm's way, where it stayed for 1,700 years.
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"From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a box already built for us to fit inside". Contemporary artist Paige Bradley created this six foot tall bronze figure in 2004 and lighted it from the inside, to ask the question: "Are we the box?" Her poetic sculpture suggesting what could happen if we broke out of our shell is named "Expansion," and is located at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.
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De Vaartkapoen is a humorous statue made in 1985 by Belgian artist Tom Frantzen. It depicts a policeman being tripped by a man emerging from a manhole. It is located in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, a suburb of Brussels. "De Vaartkapoen" literally means "channel rascal" and is also the early 20th century nickname name given to people born in the town.
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The giant Leshan Buddha statue is considered to be the largest stone Buddha in the world. It measures 233 feet tall and depicts Maitreya, disciple of Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddhism's famed founder. Designed by a monk named Hai Tong during the Tang Dynasty, the statue was built to appease the river gods. It was completed in 803 A.D. — several decades after the death of Hai Tong. The site is now a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrimages. Wikimedia Commons
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Depicting mother nature as hurling the planet around in orbit, Lorenzo Quinn's 2011 "Force of Nature" is one in a series. They are greatly symbolic of the way humans are living with false security and that at any moment mother nature could awaken and unleash fury upon us. This sculpture, located in Berkeley Square, Westminster, London, is made of bronze, aluminum, and stainless steel.
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Created by Zenos Frudakis, this breathtaking sculpture in Philadelphia is aptly called "Freedom." It is twenty feet long and weighs in at 7,000 lbs. This incredible statue was installed in 2017, and explores the different stages of liberation from the things that hold us back in life. brookeipse/Flickr
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Here, the second-century Chinese general Guan Yu is portrayed in a 190-foot tall, 1,200-ton monument in the city of Jingzhou, along the banks of the Yangtze River. However, under complaints from people that the imposing bronze sculpture is "an eyesore," a relocation process began as of September 2021. Guan Yu's new site is about five miles away at a place where it's rumored that Guan Yu drilled his troops.
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Translated from French, the word maman means "mother" — and while this giant spider statue of the same name may not immediately invoke the feeling of motherhood, if you look up you'll see the 26 marble-carved egg sacs the spider is carrying. Artist Louise Bourgeois created this 30-foot-high tribute to her own mother in 1999, and it's located in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
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Kerala, India boasts a beautiful nature park, but perhaps what it's most known for is having the world's biggest bird sculpture — one that doubles as a roof for the park's central building. Jatayu Nature Park has been open since 2017, with the statue taking artist Rajiv Anchal 10 years to finish. Depicting the Hindu demi-god Jatayu, the statue measures 70 feet tall, 200 feet long, and 150 feet wide.Superm4n23Pixahive
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There are several memorials to unknown soldiers around the world, but in Reykjavik, Iceland, there is a memorial to the faceless bureaucrat. Known as the Monument to the Unknown Bureaucrat, it depicts a man carrying a briefcase and serves as a tribute to the countless everyday city officials that make the city run smoothly. However, this statue is truly faceless — a large chunk of volcanic basalt makes up the top half of the worker. This unique sculpture was crafted by Magnús Tómasson in 1994, so if you want to know whether to treat this statue as serious, humorous, or satirical, you'll have to ask him. luc_coekaerts/Flickr
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Outside of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Russia, sits a mouse. It's not just any mouse, however, but an elderly lab mouse with glasses on its nose knitting strands of DNA. This petite statue (the mouse is only about 28 inches tall) celebrates the role that lowly lab mice have played in the study of DNA — and the whole of scientific research to date. Irina Gelbukh/Wikimedia Commons
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In 1945, Stalingrad was named a Soviet Hero City for its role in defeating the Nazis during World War II. In 1959, construction of a memorial started on Mamayev Hill, the high ground of the famed Battle of Stalingrad. The memorial was finished in 1967 with an intense focal point: "The Motherland Calls," a 172 foot statue of a winged female figure with an extended sword that reaches 280 feet into the sky.
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Inspired by the feeling of leaving a part of himself behind in the places he traveled, artist Bruno Catalano placed 10 "Le Voyageur" statues along the waterfronts of Marseilles, France, in 2013. These gravity-defying bronze statues are life sized, and each carries only one suitcase — which both serves as structural support and appears to weigh the travelers down.
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According to Scottish legend, kelpies are a shape-shifting spirit of the water who haunt streams and rivers and often take the form of a horse. These colossal kelpie horse-head statues in Falkirk, Scotland, are the largest equine figures in the world. They stand 100 feet tall and weigh 300 tons each — and they're modeled after the Clydesdale horses that propelled early Scottish industry and economy by pulling the barges, wagons, and coal ships.
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Magadan, Russia is home to the solemn sculpture known as the Mask of Sorrow. Created in 1996 by sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, the brutalist concrete statue is a stark homage to the suffering of millions of people killed in the Russian gulags from the 1929 to 1953, including Neizvestny's own parents. The mask is constructed of many smaller faces, some representing tears. On the back side of the monument kneels a weeping figure beneath a headless person on the cross.
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In 1955, archaeologists discovered that Moai, Easter Island's ancient and mysterious giant heads, actually had sizeable bodies that had been covered by the soil and sediment as it shifted over time. Many other moai statues made by the Rapa Nui people on the island have bodies too, but the large heads are most prominent because they sit on the side of a volcano. They call them "Moai Aringa Ora" which translates to "the living face of our ancestors."
Archeology and Art/Facebook
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This ominous statue in Wroclaw, Poland, consists of a group of 14 lifelike bronze pedestrians sinking into the ground on one side of the street, and coming back up on the other side. Known as the Monument of an Anonymous Passerby, it’s commonly interpreted as a memorial to the people who died or went missing during a period of martial law in the country in the early 1980s. Designed by artist Jerzy Kalina, it was installed in December 2005 to coincide with the 24th anniversary of the start of martial law in Poland. Jerzy Kociatkiewicz/Flickr
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Unsurprisingly, the first people to witness this nearly 33-foot-long white floating infant in a garden outside Chesterfield, England made quite a stir about it. What headlines referred to as the "Invasion of the Giant Baby" was in reality an art installation called "Planet" by sculptor Marc Quinn. The Chatsworth House, home to the Duke of Devonshire, commissioned the artwork in 2008, and a feat of engineering make the painted bronze figure appear as though it's suspended in the air.
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The colossal Statue of Unity is the world's tallest statue at 597 feet tall (787 feet including the base). It depicts the Indian statesman, founding father, and independence activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy prime minister of India. The looming statue was erected in 2013 and is located in the state of Gujarat, India, on a river island overlooking the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Vijay B. Barot/Wikimedia Commons
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In this epic photo, waves crash over a statue of Neptune off Melenara Beach, in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain. Sculptor Luis Arencibia used to swim in these waters as a boy, and often out to the slab of volcanic rock that now holds his 13-foot-tall vision of the god of the sea. As the sun sets, the water takes on a metallic blue sheen, and the bronze god Neptune appears to be rising out from below. GucciMonk/reddit
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The aquatic statue known as "Ocean Atlas" resides on the western coast of New Providence, Nassau, Bahamas. Jason deCaires Taylor's artwork depicts a girl carrying the weight of the ocean in a twist on the Greek story of Atlas, who held up the heavens. At 16 feet tall and 60 tons, it is the largest single sculpture existing underwater. The large statue is also a home to coral and is meant to promote harmonious relationships between humans and nature.
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On the south bank of the Singapore River near the historic Cavenagh Bridge is a gravity-defying sculpture of five boys diving off the quay called "First Generation." Cast from bronze and installed in 2000, it serves as a visual reminder that enthusiastic children once played alongside the bustling trade boats here. Terence Ong/Wikimedia Commons
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The people of Lithuania call this ghastly cloaked figure the Black Ghost. The creepy bronze statue clings to the pier while emerging from the water — looking ready to drag unsuspecting pedestrians into the underworld.
However, as the much less-scary legend goes, this figure appeared to a castle guard named Hans von Heidi in 1595 to tell him the city's supplies of grain and timber were insufficient. Miraculously, von Heidi passed the message on, and the city set about increasing its stores of both, saving it from several years of hunger and shortage that followed.adavey/Flickr
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These graceful Mustangs in Las Colinas, Texas, represent the city's untamed past as a former ranch. African wildlife artist Robert Glen was commissioned to create these nine realistic bronze horses for the plaza fountain in 1976. After nearly a year of research and seven more of rendering, casting, and installing the equine statues, he completed this graceful work in 1984.
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With 50 bars (akin to jail bars) representing the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's arrest, this shape shifting monument at the site of his capture in Howick, South Africa, is multi-dimensional and incredibly symbolic. The artist, Marco Cianfanelli, suggests the sculpture also brings about "the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle." The monument was unveiled on August 5, 2012.maureen_barlin/Flickr
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A popular tourist destination, Jeju Island in South Korea is packed with theme parks and museums around every corner. And this large, sprawling and suggestively-posed female figure is just one of the many attractions in Love Land, a sculpture park dedicated to eroticism. LonelyBob/Flickr
30 Famous Statues From Around The World That’ll Leave You Awestruck
When most people think of famous statues, what comes to mind is probably statues like the Statue of Liberty or Michelangelo's David, perhaps even Christ The Redeemer, which towers over Rio De Janeiro. However, there are many more incredible statues in the world that are just as worthy of being famous.
Since prehistoric times, humans have used sculpture as a means of artistic expression. Even as far back as 32,000 B.C., early man decorated everyday objects with human or animal sculptural elements.
Statues of humans are often more intriguing than three-dimensional paintings. We can interact with them in our own space. When figures are presented in symbolic ways or in great size or detail, they become something more; they tell their own stories.
From the largest and most intimidating to the more subtle in size and scope, these are some of the most unique, thought-provoking, humorous, and incredible statues the world has to offer us.
Beautiful Statues: "Expansion" By Paige Bradley
What's remarkable about contemporary artist Paige Bradley's "Expansion" is the unforeseen manner in which this famous statue came about. She details having to "trust in the process of making art", and to do this, she had to "break down my foundation, let my walls crumble, expose myself completely, and from there I will find the true essence of what I needed to say".
MozartCultures TR/Twitter Paige Bradley created "Expansion" by destroying a wax sculpture, casting the broken pieces in bronze, and reassembling it around a lighting system.
This was a figurative thought, but it manifested itself into literal reality in this famous statue. Paige purposefully threw down and broke a wax figure she'd worked on for months. What was once a statue of a woman meditating in a lotus position was now in many pieces.
Initially, she panicked and wondered what she'd done. However, it was from this point that she realized it was the perfect analogy for what she'd been trying to do in her art career. Also, it reflected the same ideas on life itself. She cast the pieces in bronze and lighted them from within.
"Are we the box that we are inside, and to be authentically 'un-contained' would we still be able to exist?" she asks. "This is the irony of containment. As long as we don't push on the walls of our surroundings, we may never know how strong we really are".
Famous Statues: India's Statue Of Unity
On the other side, there are famous statues of historical figures that cement into us the idea of steadfastness. The tallest statue in the world is in Gujarat, India. It's a tribute to freedom fighter and politician Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Prasad dhage/Wikimedia CommonsThe Statue of Unity in India is the tallest statue in the world.
For durability and strength similar to its muse, the statue is constructed with a steel frame and reinforced concrete. It is as unwavering as the real Patel, as it is designed to withstand winds of almost 70 miles per hour and is earthquake resistant. Recycled iron from old farm equipment was used to make the "Iron Man of India" tribute.
And at 597 feet tall from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head, the Statue of Unity is over three times the height of America's Statue of Liberty.
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.