See the Resurrection of Robo-Jesus at this Religious Theme Park

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Feb. 11 2014 9:31 AM

Tierra Santa Buenos Aires: Where Christianity Meets Kitsch

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

If you missed the resurrection of Christ, don't worry — it'll happen again at 10 minutes to the hour.

Every 60 minutes at the Tierra Santa religious theme park in Buenos Aires, a 40-foot statue of Christ rises from inside a plaster mountain as Handel's Messiah blasts out the hallelujahs. When the robo-Jesus has completed his ascent — a process that takes about a minute — he swivels, closes his eyes, and rotates his palms as if to say, "Look ma, no stigmata." Then it's back inside the mountain to await the next hour's resurrection.

Advertisement

Tierra Santa, which claims to be the first religious theme park in the world, opened in 2000. Located next to a water park, it recreates Jesus-era Jerusalem in kitschy, cartoonish glory. Tableaus of biblical scenes feature mannequins with exaggerated features: sleaze-faced centurions; a shepherd with Mr. Universe muscles; a disco-lit Virgin Mary. Visitors are welcome to take snapshots within the scenes — just crouch next to grimacing Jesus as his back is whipped into a bloody pulp and smile for the iPhone.

It's not all plaster and fiberglass at Tierra Santa: human employes in era-appropriate garb weave among the mannequins to serve food and change trash bags. During Easter a team of actors performs the Stations of the Cross — fake blood streams down the bare torso of the long-haired, bearded man playing Jesus as he is helped onto a cross and crucified for the tourists. Following his resurrection he happily poses for photos alongside the woman playing Mary.

tierra2
Jerusalem, with Buenos Aires in the background.

Photo: Kevin Jones/Creative Commons

christ
An actor portrays Jesus being scourged during the Stations of the Cross.

Photo: Beatrice Murch/Creative Commons

tierra10
Jesus and Mary pose with fans.

Photo: Beatrice Murch/Creative Commons

tierra12
The 40-foot Jesus that rises every hour.

Photo: Brian Allen/Creative Commons

tierra11
Resurrected Jesus, celebrated with fireworks.

Photo: Beatrice Murch/Creative Commons


View Tierra Santa - Parque Tematico in a larger map

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.