10 Larger-Than-Life Attractions You Need To See To Believe
Since the dawn of time, humans have been creating outsized works of art and architecture, and this drive to push the envelope of scale continues today. Enormous artworks and installations from ancient sacred statues to quirky contemporary bridges can be found across the globe, but photos are rarely able to capture their sheer size. Here are a few of the most colossal outdoor art pieces and other attractions you’ll want to marvel at in person.
Da Nang, Vietnam
Inaugurated in 2018, the Golden Bridge (Cau Vang) is one of the world’s most striking footbridges. This golden-hued walkway overlooks the lush Ba Na Hills of central Vietnam and is supported by two massive fiberglass hands treated to look like moss-covered ancient stone. Its 500-foot-long (150-meter-long) expanse runs between the Dream Stream Cable Car station and Le Jardin D’amour gardens, offering sweeping views from 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level.
Leshan Giant Buddha
The UNESCO-listed Leshan Giant Buddha (Da Fo) is the largest Buddha sculpture in the world, towering 233 feet (71 meters) above the Mingjiang River in southern Sichuan. Carved out of the cliffside over 90 years, this divine figure was started by a Buddhist monk in 713 to protect local fishermen. You can take in this wonder by land or by water on a day trip from the city of Chengdu.
Field of Light
This fantasy garden of 50,000 points of orange, violet, blue, and white lights set on thin stems that sway in the desert breeze below Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a spellbinding sight. The largest work to date by contemporary artist Bruce Munro, the Field of Light installation covers an area of over 12 acres (5 hectares), roughly the size of eight football fields.
The Great Sphinx
No list of larger-than-life attractions would be complete without a mention of perhaps the most famous monumental sculpture in the world: the Great Sphinx of Giza. This enormous limestone statue with its human head (said to represent the pharaoh Khafre) and lion’s body is 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high, making it one of the largest works of art in the world. A must-see for anyone traveling to Egypt, this landmark is an easy day trip from Cairo or Giza and can be combined with a visit to the nearby Giza Pyramids.
With its six towering pairs of clasping hands that bridge the basin of Venice’s Arsenale, this contemporary work by artist Lorenzo Quinn is a head-turner. Quinn made headlines in 2017 for his work Support, a gigantic sculpture of hands emerging from the waters of the Grand Canal to hold up the facade of Ca’ Sagredo palace. Building Bridges, part of the Venice Biennale contemporary art exhibition, symbolizes the need to overcome divisions and is a highlight of Biennale tours of the city.
One of the world’s great archaeological mysteries, this circle of monolithic stones set on the Salisbury Plain never fails to impress. No photos can prepare you for the sight of these 13-foot (4-meter) blocks, some weighing an estimated 25 tons (23 metric tons), arranged by sheer prehistoric muscle power more than 5,000 years ago. Set out from London to stand in awe at this site, still shrouded in legend and lore today.
Nazca Desert, Peru
The only way to admire these prehistoric geoglyphs is from the air, which is why they weren’t rediscovered until pilots began to fly over the Nazca Desert in the early 20th century. Formed more than 2,000 years ago, these forms etched into the desert floor include geometric shapes and animal and plant designs. Join an aerial tour to take in the vast 19-square-mile (50-square-kilometer) UNESCO World Heritage Site from the skies.
Christ the Redeemer
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Symbol of Rio, this blockbuster statue (also known as Cristo Redentor) is one of the largest in the world. Built in 1931, the statue itself stands 130 feet (39 meters) high and overlooks the city from its perch on the peak of Corcovado Mountain. Most Rio de Janeiro tours include a stop here so visitors can marvel at this art deco masterpiece from up close and take in the view from 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city.
Beachner Grain Elevator Mural
Covering more than 50,000 square feet (4,650 square meters), the Horizontes mural covering the east side of the Beachner Grain Elevator is the largest in the world painted by a single artist. Honoring the surrounding Black and Latinx neighborhoods of Wichita, Kansas, this sprawling work was created by Colombian street artist GLeo in 2021 and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
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Chief Crazy Horse Memorial
Custer County, South Dakota
Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota not far from Mount Rushmore, this immense memorial carved directly out of the granite mountain will be one of the largest in the world when it is finished. Today, visitors can admire the chief’s face that covers almost 90 feet (27 meters) of the cliffside, observe the ongoing work, and visit the adjacent museums and cultural center to learn about the heritage of the North American Indians.