This giant statue of Christ that the Cubans call 'Cristo de La Habana' can be seen clearly from across the Bay in Havana, or at least from the older part of the city. It looks a bit like the Christ that sits high above Rio de Janeiro, he seems to be in the act of blessing everyone in the city. The 17-20 meter high (depending on the information source) statue was commissioned by Marta Batista, the wife of the then dictator Fulgencio Batista. It was inaugurated December 24, 1958 about two weeks before Fidel Castro would ride into Havana victorious on January 8, 1959. It's located on La Cabana hill in the Havana suburb of Casablanca in the municipality of Regla. It's about a kilometer from the entrance to the Fortaleza San Carlos de La Cabana, it was erected about 51 meters above sea level. You can get there by driving under the bay via the tunnel to get to the other side. The sculptor was a Cuban, Jilma Madera, who used Carrara marble from Italy which was also used for many of the monuments in the Colon Cemetery in Nuevo Vedado. Pope Pius XII blessed the 67 blocks of marble that were used for the sculpture, it weighs about 320 tons. They were sent from Rome, Italy on May, 1958 by ship. The assembling of the pieces started on September 3, 1958 by the artist alone with 20 helpers. The hands alone are said to weigh about a ton each. It's just over 50 years old but it's part of the landscape to the entrance of the harbour. There's a beautiful panoramic view of Havana from the site that's open 24 hours and there is no admission fee. It can even be seen at night from the city as they have it floodlit when the sun goes down. If you were wondering why there was scaffolding around the statue recently, it was because a bolt of lightning knocked a chunk of it's head off and it was being repaired.
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