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Cultural Experience

Landmarks of Disputes: 7 of the Most Controversial Monuments Around the World

Monuments are usually built to honor a person, an event or an idea. From ancient ones like the Pyramids of Egypt, to more modern ones like the Statue of Liberty, these monuments have become not only popular tourist attractions, but also symbols of nations and ideals.

Not all monuments, however, are celebrated. On the contrary, some landmarks across the globe have been criticized, and at times, reviled, for what they represent. Here are some of the strangest and most controversial monuments that can be found around the world.

  1. Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain in London, UK

The whole world was shocked back in 1997 when Princess Diana, a beloved royal among the Brits, died in a car crash — which to this day is the subject of many conspiracy theories. A fountain built in her honor met controversies when it opened in 2004, when it became prone to litter and some guests slipped and got injured while visiting it. The $4.5-million project was eventually closed and renovated, and some rules were put in place to improve the fountain’s condition.

  1. Columbus Lighthouse in the Dominican Republic

Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure by himself, having been accused by some historians as having enslaved and killed Native Americans. Controversy also haunts what is believed as his final resting place in Santo Domingo Este town in the Dominican Republic. The structure known as the Columbus Lighthouse is a 688-foot-long cruciform memorial complex that also serves as a maritime museum. Locals were not so pleased when the lighthouse opened in 1992, because it came with a $70-million price tag. To this day, residents near the structure complain of not having good sleep because of the brightness of the light from the place, which has 157 beams of light. Furthermore, it has not been ascertained conclusively whether the remains in the lighthouse are indeed of Christopher Columbus or his son.

  1. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, USA

This sculpture depicting the faces of four American presidents carved on a mountain has become one of the most iconic landmarks in the US, visited by over two million guests every year. Although it is regarded by many as magnificent and inspiring, Mount Rushmore has another story unknown to a lot of people: one that involves violation of sacred tribal rights. It is said that the location of this famed monument, the Black Hills region, is considered as a sacred site by many Indian tribes as early as 1868. Because of this, the creation of the monument is considered by some as unconstitutional. Worse, the original sculptor of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, is believed to have links with the hate group the Ku Klux Klan.

  1. Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, USA

This unfinished monument is the response of some North American Indians to the Mount Rushmore controversy. The 563-feet-high carving is envisioned to depict the image of a leader of the Lakota People, Crazy Horse, who defended ancestral land. There is, however, debate among the Natives about the propriety of building this monument, because it involves blasting and destruction of sacred burial grounds.

  1. The Statue of Peace in Uruguay

You would expect a statue depicting peace to have traditional symbolism like a dove and an olive branch. However, a bronze monument named as such in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, shows Lady Peace brandishing a sword—yes, a sword. Eleven years after the statue was erected in 1877, the sword was damaged by a lightning strike, and was replaced by a broken chain. However, the monument’s sculptor, Jose Livi, insisted about the sword on the artwork, and it was returned in 1940, despite opposition from some groups.

  1. African Renaissance Monument in Senegal

Standing over 160 feet atop a hill in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar, this massive monument has been the tallest statue in Africa ever since it was finished in 2010. The controversies surrounding this monument, however, are as towering as the structure itself. It was built for over $27 million during the term of former President Abdoulaye Wade, when the African nation was gripped by corruption and poverty. It was also criticized for not tapping local manpower for its building, because the statue was designed by a Romanian architect and built by a North Korean construction firm. Worse, the image of a muscled man carrying a child and a woman in distress is considered to have sexist undertones, and the depictions do not look like Africans that much.

  1. Fallen Angel in Spain

Spain may be known around the world as a predominantly Roman Catholic country, but it also has the distinction of having the only statue across the globe depicting the devil. Located within the Parque del Buen Retiro, this statue stands 666 feet – a number attributed to the devil – and depicts Lucifer, an angel who wanted to be God and was eventually banished from heaven. Unsurprisingly, the statue has attracted those interested in satanic rituals.

The world is such a strange place, and these monuments prove that it could not get any stranger.

Originally posted 2017-04-24 04:50:21.

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