Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz

The Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz is a colossal statue honoring Mary. Completely made out of concrete, it is located 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) southwest of the city of Trujillo in Venezuela.[4] At 46.72 metres (153.3 ft) tall it is the 48th tallest statue in the world, the tallest statue in South America and the second-tallest in the Americas,[5][a] the fourth-tallest statue depicting a woman in the world, and the tallest statue of Mary in the world. It is 16 metres (52 ft) across, with a base that is 18 metres (59 ft) deep, and weighs 1,200 tonnes.[5]

Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz
Monumento Virgen de La Paz II.jpg
ArtistManuel de la Fuente,[1]
Rosendo Camargo
TypeModern architecture; concrete and steel
Dimensions46.72 metres (153.3 ft) high[3]
LocationTrujillo, Trujillo, Venezuela

It was designed by the Spanish-Venezuelan sculptor Manuel de la Fuente and opened on 21 December 1983 by President Luis Herrera Campins.[7] The monument stands at about 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level,[8] in the region named Peña de la Virgen — where it is said that the virgin appeared in the year 1570. From the monument there are spectacular panoramic views of the region:[9] on a clear day, one can see all of the state of Trujillo, parts of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, and the south coast of Lake Maracaibo.[10]

Since 1568 the virgin of Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace) has been the spiritual patron of Trujillo; since 1960 she has been the patron of this diocese, as well.[4] The dove in the statue's right hand symbolizes the responsibility of the presidency of Venezuela to make peace across the land.[11] For many years the statue was administered through a private foundation, before passing to the directorship of the government of the state of Trujillo.

Despite its colossal size and the importance of its commemorative symbolism of the patron saint of the state, the monument is one of the least visited tourist spots in Trujillo and in Venezuela. In Easter 2010 the Trujillo government reported 11,000 visitors to the monument, while the José Gregorio Hernández sanctuary received close to 80,000 visits, and the traditional way of the cross in the town of Tostós was visited by approximately 57,000 tourists.


The Trujillo area has been relevant in the Christian mysticism beliefs of the inhabitants of the lands around the monument since colonial times. The Virgin of Peace is the patron saint of the state of Trujillo,[12] and the state flag has a green triangle, in its center a white star and inside the star the silhouette of a dove, a symbol of peace. The three sides of the triangle represent a triad of monuments, two of them religious:

  1. The national monument of the Meeting of Bolívar and Morillo in Santa Ana, on the occasion of the Armistice Treaty and Regularization of War
  2. The Cathedral Señor Santiago de Nuestra Señora de La Paz, finished in 1662, and where the precious image of Our Lady of Peace was venerated in the 16th century. It is also on the coat of arms of the city and the state, and is where Bishop Lasso de La Vega welcomed Bolívar and entrusted him to divine providence on 1 March 1821
  3. The Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz, an appeal to world peace

Virgen de la PazEdit

The origins of the image of the Virgin of Peace probably dates back to the 7th century, associated with Saint Ildefonsus of Toledo (606-667), an archbishop of Toledo, Spain,[13] noted for his devotion to the Virgin Mary. Tradition relates that on a December night, Ildefonsus entered the Cathedral of Santa María de Toledo and witnessed a great illumination inside the temple, purporting to see the Virgin sitting in the archbishop's chair,[14] which has been interpreted as divine approval of Ildefonsus' teachings.[15]

The area of Trujillo where the monument is now erected was inhabited by an indigenous society known as Eskuke. It was the site of an indigenous uprising led by the Cacique Pitijoc,[16][17] of the Cuicas ethnic group against the Spanish colonists.[18] The indigenous people were defeated, and Trujillo was founded in 1557, with the belief of the Virgin of Peace introduced to replace the indigenous goddess Ikake.[19]

The legendEdit

Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz

The name of the monument, the place and the Virgin all refer to the legend of her appearance. On the hill called Peña de la Virgen, according to legend from the late 1550s, the image of the Virgin Mary appeared to several residents of the town of Carmona. With unique features and a youthful spirit, the young woman appeared walking in the afternoons to buy candles for her hearth, and it was in a grocery store where some men asked her why she was alone; she answered that she was "not alone, but with God, the sun and the stars",[20] or "children, don't forget that I walk with God, my protector". As they followed her, the locals saw her hide behind a rock that began to spark, discovering that she was not a mortal young woman but that she was the Virgin Mary.

Monumento a la PazEdit

The construction of the monument began as an idea of First Lady of Venezuela Betty Urdaneta de Herrera Campins, who was from Trujillo, and the state governor Dora Maldonado de Falcón.

On 21 December 1983, during the bicentennial year of the birth of Simón Bolívar, the Monumento a la Virgin de la Paz was inaugurated, with the liturgical blessing of the newly ordained cardinal José Alí Lebrún Moratinos.[9] The statue shows the Virgin Mary in a blue robe, and its construction had lasted 18 months,[21] carried out by the sculptor Manuel de la Fuente and the engineer Rosendo Camargo, with support of Juan Francisco Hernández. The monument sits on a steel structure, which includes the skeleton of the hollow concrete sculpture. It has a weight of 1,200 tonnes spread over 46 meters high, of which 8 tonnes is the weight of the head alone. The cost of the monument was 9 million bolívares.[20]

Despite the fact that Pope John Paul II never visited Trujillo, the dedication of the monument was attended by the Venezuelan ambassador to the Holy See, Luciano Noguera Mora, and was accompanied by a television message from the Pope that was broadcast to the Venezuelan Catholic community.[9]

In the speech that the Trujillan writer Mario Briceño Perozo gave during the dedication of the monument, when referring to the tradition of going up to the Peña de la Virgen, he said:[22]


Los alrededores de la peña ofrecían una vegetación exuberante. Los cafetales empapados de rocío bajo la protección de los altos bucares coronados de púrpura silvestre. Y a ambos lados del sendero de musgo, los helechos, el estoraque y las pascuitas que bajarán a la ciudad a perfumar el pesebre casero.

The surroundings of the rock offered lush vegetation. The dew-soaked coffee plantations under the protection of the high bucares crowned with wild purple. And on both sides of the moss path are the ferns, the storax and the Easter pastries that will go down to the city to perfume the homemade manger.

Cult of the Virgen de la PazEdit

The monument demonstrates how architectural discourse is capable of generating a discursive synergy between nature-statement and religious statement, capable of leading the observer to a special state of perception of the sacred.[23]

The patron fairs in honor of the Virgen de la Paz are held in Trujillo on 24 January, often lasting until 30 January. During the festivities, the monument is treated as one of the most religious places in the state, with masses and processions, as well as gastronomic, cultural and recreational fairs at the site; these often extend to La Plazuela and Isnotú.[24]

Dozens of parishioners also gather at the Peña de la Virgen each year for Easter, praying in the attached church.[25] The "Peace March", which takes place every year during Easter, starts early in the morning from the headquarters of the Catholic Seminary in the city of Trujillo and ends with a mass in the monument's chapel.


View through one of the eyes of the monument.

The monument fulfills the function of an extraordinary viewpoint: ascending inside the statue, using stairs that fill the entire interior of the statue, visitors can stop at each of the five viewpoints or lookouts: one for each cardinal direction, and a fifth from the statue's eyes.

First lookout: located at the level of the Virgin's knee, 18 meters from the base, which is accessed by a mechanical elevator. From this height you can see the city of Trujillo.

Second lookout: located in the left hand of the statue, 4 meters above the first lookout, you can see the city of Trujillo and its surroundings, including the Llanos de Monay, the Agua Viva reservoir, Betijoque, Motatán, and rural parts of Pampanito and Isnotú. It is accessible by wide steps.

Third lookout: located in the right hand of the statue, 26 meters up. The Teta de Niquitao can be seen from this height, which at 4,006 metres (13,143 ft) high is the highest point in the state of Trujillo.

Fourth lookout: located at the waist level of the statue, at 28 meters high, which can also be reached by elevator. From here, more distant sights can be seen, including La Ceiba, the eastern shore of Lake Maracaibo, the ridges of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, various plains and much of the land from Trujillo to the state of Lara.

Fifth lookout: located in the eyes of the Virgin, 44 meters high, this lookout the most extensive and impressive view. It is reached by more than 200 wide steps.

In addition to the viewpoints, the monument consists of a chapel and a bell tower, which rings out every half hour. The dome of the chapel is decorated with a stained glass window. In the center of this, a dove appears surrounded by luminous colors that allude to the spiritual splendor of the symbol.[26]

Cave of the Virgin of PeaceEdit

Lower down the mountain than the Peña de la Virgen, to one side of the monument, there is a group of publicly accessible caves collectively known as Cuevas de la Peña de la Virgen II (Caves of the Peña de la Virgen II). Local folklore says that the caves are interconnected and that the indigenous people of the past used them not only for their religious ceremonies but also to travel through the state. Other caves complexes nearby include the Cuevas de la Peña de la Virgen I, Cueva El Zamurito and Cueva El Ronco. The movements of the Andes over the centuries will have closed whatever connected passageways were supposedly present. The followers of the Virgin frequently visit these caves, often in religious processions, and give offerings and candles at the site.

See alsoEdit

Approximate heights of various notable statues:
1. Statue of Unity 240 m (790 ft) (incl. 58 m (190 ft) base)
2. Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (502 ft) (incl. 25 m (82 ft) pedestal and 20 m (66 ft) throne)
3. Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) 93 m (305 ft) (incl. 47 m (154 ft) pedestal)
4. The Motherland Calls 87 m (285 ft) (incl. 2 m (6 ft 7 in) pedestal)
5. Christ the Redeemer 38 m (125 ft) (incl. 8 m (26 ft) pedestal)
6. Michelangelo's David 5.17 m (17.0 ft) (excl. 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) plinth)


  1. ^ This source, from 2010, says it is the tallest statue in Latin America. In 2014, a taller statue was constructed in Mexico.[6]


  1. ^ Repositorio Institucional de la Universidad de Los Ándes. "Monumento Virgen de la Paz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  2. ^ Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación (in Spanish). Archivo General de la Nación. 1981. pp. 112–113.
  3. ^ El Nacional (5 March 2010). "Murió el escultor Manuel de la Fuente, creador de la Virgen de la Paz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b Perozo, Mario Briceño (1984). Historia del Estado Trujillo (in Spanish). Academia Nacional de la Historia. pp. 309–310.
  5. ^ a b Revista Internacional de Turismo y Negocios: ABC Internacional. "Manuel de la Fuente" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Guerrero Chimalli | Chimalhuacán, Estado de México,". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  7. ^ Hernández Caballero, Serafín (2006). Colofón siglo XX: albores siglo XXI. Volumen 4 de Historia global de Venezuela: desde los orígenes hasta la actualidad (s. XXI) (in Spanish). Ed. Globe. ISBN 9806427173.
  8. ^ Dydyński, Krzysztof (1994). Venezuela: a Lonely planet travel survival kit (in Spanish). Lonely Planet Publications. p. 210. ISBN 0864422296.
  9. ^ a b c Nuevo mundo, Números 115-119 (in Spanish). Hermanos Menores Capuchinos de Venezuela. 1984. pp. 51–52.
  10. ^ Kohnstamm, Thomas; Sandra Bao, Beth Kohn, Jens Porup y Daniel C. Schechter (2006). Lonely Planet Venezuela (in Spanish) (5ta ed.). Lonely Planet. p. 207. ISBN 1741045452.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Castañón, José Manuel (2001). Cuba: hablo contigo, sigo hablando contigo (in Spanish). IEPALA Editorial. pp. 89–90. ISBN 8489743134.
  12. ^ Urrecheaga Medina, Ninoska M. (1995). Caminos de libertad (in Spanish). Impr. Oficial del Gobierno del Estado Trujillo. p. 13.
  13. ^ Martínez-Burgos García, Palma (2008). Historia de los templos de España: Arzobispado de Toledo : Templos de Toledo : S. Juan de los Reyes (in Spanish). Editorial MAXTOR. p. 95. ISBN 978-8497614443.
  14. ^ Martínez-Burgos García, Palma (2000). Religiosidad popular y modelos de identidad en España y América (in Spanish). Univ de Castilla La Mancha. p. 133. ISBN 8484270815.
  15. ^ Ros Carballar, Carlos (2006). San Ildefonso de Toledo, el capellán de la Virgen (in Spanish). Centro De Pastoral Liturgic. pp. 15–16. ISBN 849805155X.
  16. ^ Salas, Marco Vinicio (1996). Encantadores pueblos de Trujillo (in Spanish). Publicaciones Merenap. p. 215. ISBN 9802924946.
  17. ^ Fonseca, Amílcar; Rafael Ángel Rivas Dugarte (2005). Orígenes trujillanos, Volumen 2 (in Spanish). Fondo Editorial Arturo Cardozo. pp. 267–276. ISBN 9806743091.
  18. ^ Trujillo: Dossier Municipal 2006. Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Planificacióny Desarrollo: CorpoAndes.
  19. ^ El conquistador español: los fundadores de Nuestra Señora de la Paz de Trujillo Discurso de recepción del Dr. Mario Briceño Irragory como individuo de número de la Academia Nacional de la Historia. Caracas, Editorial Sud-América, 1930.
  20. ^ a b Eduar Valero (Diario El Informador) (16 November 2009). "Una experiencia que lleva a la paz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2010. Ver publicación en página 21
  21. ^ Robert A. Gómez (El Universal) (26 April 2010). "Coloso en la montaña" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  22. ^ Monumento a La Virgen de La Paz Archived 2009-05-07 at the Wayback Machine (en español). - Último acceso 18 de mayo de 2010.
  23. ^ Semióticas Audiovisuales. Espacio Abierto Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine (en español). [online]. jul. 2006, vol.15, no.3 [citado 11 de mayo de 2010], p.678-680. ISSN 1315-0006.
  24. ^ Hugo Valero ( (5 April 2010). "Gobierno Socialista recupera Monumento a la Virgen de la Paz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  25. ^ Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (29 March 2010). "Trujillo atrae a temporadistas con tradicional ruta religiosa" (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  26. ^ Nota: véase foto del vitral de la cúpula de la capilla Monumento a Nuestra Señora de la Paz en Artí Último acceso 18 de mayo de 2010.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 9°20′55″N 70°27′43″W / 9.34858°N 70.46206°W / 9.34858; -70.46206