Armenia targets religious tourism with ground-breaking construction of 33 meters Christ Statue

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The mountainous region of Hatis in Armenia is set to host the 2528 m-height gigantic statue of Jesus Christ in the proclamation of the country’s Christian values. The proposed site of the statue is Mount Hatis, about 30 kilometers northeast of Yerevan.

The statue of Christ will have a height of 33 meters, which symbolizes the number of years he lived. It will be installed on a 44-meter plinth. In addition, a museum will be built on top of Mount Hatis.

The project, which is championed by philanthropist and businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, is scheduled to be completed in the next three years.

Speaking at the ground-breaking Commissioning on Saturday 9th July Mr. Gagik Tsarukyan said the primary aim of the project is an opportunity to present Armenia to the world and receive millions of guests from different parts of the world.

‘’This idea is another opportunity to present Armenia to the world and receive millions of guests from different parts of the world. After the war and so many disasters, we have no right to close ourselves off from the world. Quite the opposite. we must find the strength in ourselves to look at the world, to open up to the world, to present ourselves in a new way.’’

Detailing what the future project will look like, Mr Gagik said it will house a restaurant, hotel, a holy division place, and a well-deserved tourist information area for visitors to learn, immerse and study about the saviour,. A few years after this historic day, the Savior’s statue will rise in Armenia as a symbol of unity, hope, and light.’’

Mr. Gagik Tsarukyan

Mr. Tsarukyan noted that Government is willing to support the project which will accelerate the country’s efforts in promoting tourism. This will be a feather in the cap of the already rich 18,000 cultural monuments that the country boasts.

‘’We must find the strength to say that Armenia and the Armenian people will gladly welcome guests from all friendly countries. Armenia has many friendly countries in the world, but their number must constantly increase. In today’s world, we must be very active, we must use every opportunity to talk about our small but beautiful country with a great cultural and spiritual heritage. We will have to create opportunities to tell the world that hard-working, peace-loving and hospitable people live here.’’ Mr. Gagik Tsarukyan concluded.

In support of initiatives by member states of UNWTO to revive and grow tourism with a focus on boosting investments, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and focusing on jobs and education and sustainability, the Secretary General of the Organization Zurab Pololikashvili joined other dignitaries to celebrate the historic occasion.

Speaking to be media on the occasion of the commissioning, the UN World Tourism Organization Boss said, the installation of the gigantic statue of Christ is a major historic step which will help in establishing Armenia as a hotspot for religious tourism.

The Secretary General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili AND Armenia’s Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan addressing the media

“It was with excitement that I witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony for the installation of the statue of Christ in Armenia. This is a historical day! Thank you, Minister, of Economy of Armenia Vahan Kerobyan and businessman & philanthropist Gagik Tsarukyan, for inviting us!’’ Mr Pololikashvili posted on Twitter.

He added that Tourism continues to recover, and the momentum seen in the latest figures is encouraging for the sector. ‘’Although international tourism remains 61% below 2019 levels, the gradual recovery is expected to continue throughout 2022, as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions and pent-up demand is unleashed.

Background
In January 2022, philanthropist Gagik Tsarukyan announced his intention to have the world’s tallest monumental statue of Jesus Christ in Armenia, the first country to officially adopt Christianity as its national religion. Immediately after that, a competition was launched which attracted submissions from leading architects from Armenia and beyond.

About 300 works were presented in the first stage of the competition. After 2 months of deliberations, the competition committee, consisting of reputable specialists and experts, selected 12. According to Gagik Tsarukyan, Armenia with its ancient culture, Christian traditions, and rich history should present itself to the world in a new way. Finally, after a nationwide vote, the work of the acclaimed sculptor Armen Samvelyan was recognized as the winner.

Armenia is a member of the World Tourism Organization and this year marks 25 years since it joined the Madrid-based UN Tourism Agency. In June this year had the honour of hosting the 67th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe held in Yerevan.

Click here to view the pictures of the installation ceremony

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