Overlooking the city of Czestochowa, the 13.8-meter-tall depiction of John Paul II is the tallest pope statue in the world, and has one of the strangest origin stories for a religious monument of its time.
The person who funded this holy project was a businessman by the name of Leszek Lyson, who believed that the pope had helped him when he rescued his son from drowning during a family vacation in Croatia in 2010. As a humble thank-you to John Paul II, Lyson put his money towards building a huge statue of the late pope.
The company commissioned to undertake the huge endeavor is one that specializes in fiberglass statues of dinosaurs for European theme parks. Of course, a statue this imposing has come under criticism. Most of the complaints range from sarcastic remarks on how the statue resembles the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, to how such a garish monument to John Paul II poorly represents his principles. The Czestochowa architects’ association has even gone as far as to say that the statue lacks quality.
Know Before You Go
The statue is part of a now abandoned miniature park, so this is more of an urbex trip. You can leave your car on Parking Złota Góra and follow along the top of an old quarry. Follow the path left and down to reach the miniature park, which is equally worth exploring. To reach the statue, just climb a small hill there.