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Tierra Santa … Holy Cow

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Jesus Merchandise

Tierra Santa, found in Palermo’s Parque Norte next to the Newbery Airport, is a Jesus-themed fun park. Though, calling it “fun” might be stretching the truth a bit.

Fly To Jesus Land

Step right up, and get your picture taken with Crucified Christ, Argentine flag waving proudly behind him! Or right over here, let’s have fun watching Jesus struggle under the burden of the cross. My, how lifelike his agony seems! Wonderful, clap clap. Haha, Johnny, step up here and get a picture with the Roman soldier whipping Jesus. Smile, Johnny! You are at a fun park, after all.

Jürgen and I were sold after reading about Tierra Santa’s big draw, a massive Jesus statue that emerges from the ground once an hour. Yes. It was like hitting the atheist’s irony jackpot. So, we went. We had to.

The park turned out to be lame. I mean, of course it was lame, but even more so than we’d expected. The big nativity show was ridiculous. Are you old enough to remember Showbiz Pizza Place? It was like that, except a lot less cool. And there was nothing to do in the park. You could get your picture with demonic, twisted caricatures of figures like Mother Teresa or the Pope. You could pet a donkey. Buy a Pepsi. That was about it.

Honestly, I don’t know who the target market for Tierra Santa is. If you take religion even the slightest bit seriously, you’d be horrified by. Maybe it really is for people like us: godless heathens who just want to have a laugh. But it’s not even good for that.

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April 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm Comments (3)

The Metropolitan Cathedral

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A visit to the Cathedral in Oviedo, Spain

On one of our first days in Buenos Aires, we approached the dour neo-classical building on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Mayo without having any idea what it could be. My best guess was a courthouse, with those massive stone columns that evoke the Parthenon, and I was surprised to discover a cathedral behind the facade.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral has a history nearly as old as the city itself. The original wooden church was constructed in 1580, at the same time Juan de Garay founded Buenos Aires. Since then, it’s collapsed or been torn down seven times. The version recognizable today wasn’t finished until the late 19th century.

The artwork throughout the cathedral is beautiful, particularly the ceiling frescoes and the tiled mosaics on the floor. There are some pieces which date from colonial times, such as a 1670s wooden sculpture of the crucifixion. But most impressive is General José de San Martín’s mausoleum. Two guards stand vigilant, protecting the great general’s coffin which sits atop a large column in the center of the room. Martín is credited with the liberation of Argentina, Chile and Peru from Spain, and statues representing those three nations surround his memorial.

Signs at the cathedral’s entrance prohibit photography, but that rule is neither regarded nor enforced. Everyone and their mother was taking pictures; flashes going off all over the place. Although Argentinians identify almost exclusively as Catholic, the society is basically secular. Perhaps that’s why the Metropolitan Cathedral, where tourists greatly outnumber the faithful, feels more like an amusement park than the country’s most important place of worship.

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February 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm Comments (3)
Tierra Santa ... Holy Cow
For 91 Days