World News

One of Asia's tallest Jesus statues graces Indonesian city

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A Protestant property developer has built what may be Asia’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ in a Christian region of predominantly Muslim Indonesia.

Officials and Christian leaders inaugurated the 30-metre (98.4-foot) high statue last week in Manado city, in the mainly Christian province of North Sulawesi.

The white-robed Jesus with upraised hands stands on a 32-metre high hill in a residential estate built by Ciputra, a property company named after its founder.

Ciputra, 76, was recently ranked as one of Indonesia’s wealthiest men with a personal fortune estimated at $335 million. An architect by training, he spent his childhood in Manado and has built the statue as a token of gratitude for his success, said Yuliarso Christiono, a company estate design manager.

“He lived a simple life as a child in North Sulawesi and experienced a hard life under Dutch occupation. Now he is successful,” Christiono told Reuters.

He said the statue, made of metal fiber and steel, is the tallest in Asia and this had been confirmed by the Indonesian Museum of Records.

The world’s tallest is the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, which stand 39.6 metres tall and is located at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado mountain overlooking the city. It was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World last year in a global online poll.

Vietnam’s tourism Web site said a statue of Jesus Christ in the southern coastal resort city of Vung Tau is possibly among the world’s tallest, standing 32 metres high with two outstretched arms spanning 18.4 metres.

Christ the King statue in Dili, the capital of East Timor, stands 27 metres high.

Ciputra hopes the monument will become a religious icon and attract tourists, he said.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation but Christians are a majority in some eastern regions.