Generally you go on a vacation to a historic center or beautiful town square and they all begin to look the same as they all have the same monuments; Men on horses, military generals or visionaries looking off into the future, or elaborate and ornate water fountains. Every now and again you’d just like to see something a little different. Well, if you’re a fan of local sight seeing get ready for something completely different. From space age robots the size of buildings to child-eating ogres, here are some of the strangest monuments you’ll ever lay eyes on!
10. The Crazy Horse Memorial – Black Hills, South Dakota
Other than size, there’s nothing visually bizarre about the monument to Crazy Horse but the stories behind it are certainly a little strange.
Crazy Horse was a war leader of Lakota Native Americans that led his warriors against the United States government to battle intrusions on their lands and way of life. He even led his warriors to victory against the United States army at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. It makes one wonder why he would receive one of the largest monuments in America. But hey, he’s been on a United States postage stamp too.
On top of the fact that individuals that rally against a country typically aren’t given monuments in that country, the sheer amount of time spent on this monument is something to behold – 66 years. Believe it or not, it still isn’t finished! When all work is finally done it is expected to be 641 feet long and 563 feet high.
9. Kindlifresserbrunnen – Bern, Switzerland
The name of this fountain translates as “Fountain of the Eater of Children”. It depicts an ogre eating a naked baby with another sack full of delicious babies slung over his shoulder. No one is exactly sure what this monument is supposed to symbolize but the speculations run wild. Some believe it’s a depiction of the Krampus, a creature of folklore that punished bad children during the Christmas season. Some believe it was a libel against the Jews. Others believe it symbolizes the Ogre of War taking away the children of Switzerland, hence Switzerland’s general neutrality concerning international conflict. These theories are only a few out of several. There is one thing everyone can agree on though: It’s pretty darn frightening!
8. Statue of Saint Wenceslas riding a dead horse – Lucerna Palace, Prague
In Wenceslas Square, a glorious statue of Saint Wenceslas riding a horse stands tall in Prague’s historic center. Wenceslas was the patron saint of Bohemia. The base of his statue is adorned with images of other saints. Very close to this statue sits the Lucerna Palace and in the palace a mocking parody of the statue of Wenceslas hangs from the ceiling. The horse appears to be dead, strung up upside down by its feet while Wenceslas mounts its stomach. Sculpture Dave Cerny has yet to divulge his true intentions as to actual meaning of the parody piece.
7. Boll Weevil Monument – Enterprise, Alabama
Believe it or not, this strange monument in Alabama is dedicated to an insect that destroyed all their crops.
After the boll weevil appeared in Alabama in 1915, it only took three years before it was destroying the cotton crops. Instead of cursing the heavens, a man by the name of H.W. Sessions found a financial backer and had the land converted to sustain peanut farming. This eventually led to farmers of the area diversifying their crops regularly. The result recouped all their losses and the town experienced an unforeseen financial growth.
In honor of this new found prosperity, the town built a monument to the boll weevil in the center of the business district. Due to theft and vandalism, a heavily monitored replica now stands in the original’s location.
6. Carhenge – Alliance, Nebraska
In the High Plains of Alliance, Nebraska stands Stonehenge. No, that isn’t right. At first glance you might think you’re looking at Stonehenge but you’re actually looking at Carhenge. Carhenge is 38 vintage automobiles covered in gray spray paint and arranged to look like an exact replica of England’s Stonehenge.
Carhenge was conceived and constructed in 1987 as a dedication to creator Jim Reinders’ father. Reinders grew up in England and studied the original Stonehenge closely to make his Carhenge replica. The attraction has grown enough in popularity to the point where it now has its own visitor center and smaller “car art” pieces populating the same property.
5. Enema Monument – Zheleznovodsk, Russia
You might have read that as “Enemy” Monument at first because what it actually says is far too strange to believe. Unfortunately, you read that correctly. In a city in Russia there is a monument to the enema. If having a statue of an enema ball isn’t strange enough for you, it’s hoisted in the air by cherubs that, according to creator Svetlana Avakina, are inspired by the cherubs of Renaissance artist Allesandro Boticelli.
Once you learn a little back story about Zheleznovodsk the strange monument begins to make a bit more sense. The city is best known for its spas that use fresh mountain spring mineral water in their enemas. If you do something well, you might as well brag!
4. Giant Gundam Robot – Tokyo, Japan
On an Odaiba Island in the middle of the Tokyo Bay rests a place that can only be described as “heaven for Gundam fans”. Many attractions at The Gundam Front are inspired by the vastly popular and long running Mobile Suit Gundam series of animation and elaborate model kits. There are Gundam inspired foods, a Gundam inspired amusement park, relaxing hot springs, and the what is probably the biggest attraction out of the whole lot, a life size replica of a giant battling space robot!
Yes. There is a 43-foot tall scale replica of the fictional Gundam Mecha known as RX-78-2. If the sheer spectacle of a full scale Gundam Mech isn’t enough, through out the day it is accompanied by a light and sound show!
3. The Headington Shark – Headington, Oxford, England
At first glance you would look at the Headington Shark statue and just think it was a cool and light-hearted art project. What else would you think if you were driving in what appears to be a typically normal neighborhood and then BOOM! A house that appears to have a shark lodged headfirst into its roof, as if it had somehow magically fallen from the sky. While it may appear to be from a place of humor the meaning behind this statue is rather deep.
The shark was created on the 41st anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping on Nagasaki. According to artist John Buckley, “The shark was to express someone feeling totally impotent and ripping a hole in their roof out of a sense of impotence and anger and desperation… It is saying something about CND, nuclear power, Chernobyl and Nagasaki”.
Kudos to any artist that can blend so many thoughts and ideas into one piece of unusual imagery.
2. Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park – Off the Coast of Grenada, Caribbean Ocean
You won’t be able to see this site anywhere on land; it’s at the bottom of the ocean.
Just off the west coast of Grenada some beautiful statues rest in the waters where they can be accessed only by scuba divers. Don’t plan to see much if you’re just snorkeling. Most of the statues are made of cement by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The statues depict actual locals going about their daily lives. Some of the statues include people riding their bikes and a man just sitting on a couch and watching television.
What has really bought a thing of beauty to the sculptures is over time they’ve accumulated oceanic growth that makes them truly one of a kind. There is no way you could see this on land.
1. Manneken Pis – Brussels, Belgium
This statue isn’t too bizarre. Sure it’s a boy peeing but every one of us does that every day. At 61 cm in height it isn’t even very tall. The enamor to this little guy are the stories behind him.
No one is a hundred percent sure why the statue was made or what it represents but one story suggests that a local had lost his child. The whole town formed a search party and when they finally found the little boy, he was relieving himself. As a token of appreciation, the boys father created the bronze sculpture and gave it to the town as a gift. Another more outlandish story suggests the little boy put out explosives meant to blow up the town by peeing on them.
Regardless of which or if any of the stories are true, the town adores it and even dresses him in little outfits at different times of the year!