The New Touristament

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

The New Touristament


Tierra Santa, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We’ve all heard about the kids who beg their parents for a trip to Disneyland. Perhaps you even were one of those kids. What you don’t often hear, though, are stories about children begging to be taken to a theme park all about Jesus.

“Mummy, I want to go and see Christ turn water into wine! I want to see him betrayed and I want to see him denied three times! I wanna wanna wanna!”

Still, someone in Buenos Aires thought a theme park dedicated to the stories of The Bible was a good idea and so ‘Tierra Santa’ was born. Again. Ok, no, just once, sorry.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

There are no rollercoasters, no log rides, no ferris wheels or fairy floss at Tierra Santa. There is a carousel with manger animals but, other than that, the attractions are all about the life of Jesus. The entire theme park has been made into ye olde biblical village, designed to make visitors feel as if they have been transported back to the time of the New Testament. Even the staff are dressed as Roman soldiers or peasant women. Peasant women with mobile phones, apparently.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

Walking through the theme park is like walking through the books of The Bible. The stories of Jesus are told through dioramas in houses and displays in the streets. Statues of guards whipping Jesus; Lazarus rising from his tomb; merchants in the temple; and, of course, the crucifixion.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

Throughout the day there are regular shows to highlight the most important moments in the narrative. That’s right – it took God six days to create the universe but you can experience it in just 20 minutes through a sound and light extravaganza. There’s also the Last Supper show (also with sound and light) and the Nativity scene.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

The centrepiece of the theme park’s regular events is the hourly resurrection of Jesus. An 18-metre high statue rises from within a mountain while ‘Hallelujah’ booms from the speakers. Although there was a mechanical problem that delayed his rising slightly when I was there. Perhaps it was a reminder of the limits of technology in a world where miracles no longer exist. As was the plane which took off from the airport right next to Tierra Santa and drowned out the choir of angels as Christ was finally resurrected.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

For those with a hunger, you can eat at Noah’s Ark, The Gates of Damascus, or the Salem Pizzeria. There’s more than just loaves and fish, although probably not enough to feed 5000. But nothing is out of theme in Tierra Santa and in the markets robed women sell headscarves and jewellery of the times.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

One of the most interesting aspects of the theme park was the demographics of the visitors. Parents brought their young children, three generations of a family strolled around together and even young couples (one which made out during most of the creation show) spent the afternoon exploring the sights of the village.

tierra santa, buenos aires, religious theme park, argentina

Obviously religion is a much more important part of the culture in South America than it is in many other places of the world. What might feel a bit strange for some people is much more acceptable in Buenos Aires. A trip to Tierra Santa is a way for a family to have a fun day out within the context of their faith. I made some jokes in this post but at the same time it’s hard not to respect the wholesome family entertainment that the theme park represents.

  • The Travel Fool | Dec 10, 2011 at 6:27 am

    That is a strange concept but I guess it works the stands look full of people.
    The Travel Fool recently posted..Top 10 Must Have Android Travel AppsMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 10, 2011 at 6:33 am

      The stand was full but the rest of the park was pretty empty. I wouldn’t say it was packed…

  • Nomadic Samuel | Dec 10, 2011 at 8:33 am

    This is definitely a unique photo essay!
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..India Is | Video CompetitionMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 10, 2011 at 8:57 am

      It certainly felt a bit bizarre. It would make an amazing photo essay in the hands of an expert like yourself! I just point and click 🙂

  • Fabio | Dec 12, 2011 at 2:39 am

    1wow — quite insane! a bit disturbing also, I have to say… thanks turtle
    Fabio recently posted..Vondelpark GreenMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 18, 2011 at 7:08 am

      It probably is a bit disturbing for some people – but most of the visitors who were there seemed to be enjoying it!

  • Stephanie - The Travel Chica | Dec 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I heard about this and forgot!! So glad you went, so I can see photos of the weirdness.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Am I A Digital Nomad Now?My Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 18, 2011 at 7:08 am

      I can’t believe you never made it there! It was definitely worth checking out!

  • Candice Michelle | Dec 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    What a wonderful place to visit. For sure, it will be a rewarding experience to be there.

  • Bret @ Green Global Travel | Dec 17, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Whoa, that looks insane. It’s funny how most of the stories told to kids in generations past, whether it be Bible stories or the Brothers Grimm, are actually pretty horrific when you think about it. This is definitely the strangest theme park I’ve heard about!
    Bret @ Green Global Travel recently posted..GLOBAL CUISINE: Mary’s Oatmeal Fruitcake Christmas CookiesMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 18, 2011 at 7:10 am

      Yeah, I’m not sure what the kids made of all the whippings and violence that was depicted there.

  • Lauren | Dec 21, 2011 at 3:11 am

    its a lovely place, I had never heard of a theme park based on life of Jesus. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am sure one day this park will be full of people from around the world.

    • Turtle | Dec 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      I don’t think many people have heard of it and most of the visitors seemed to be local.

  • Marian | Dec 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    This does look like a pretty special trip, I had no idea such a place existed. I bet the shows are something else as when you are in such a realistic environment things often seem a lot more “real”!
    Marian recently posted..PC TV TunerMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 23, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      They definitely put a lot of effort into making it seem as authentic as possible!

      • Claire | Dec 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

        I am glad to read this as I havee been thinking about visiting but was worried it might be too over to the top and therefore a little tacky

        • Turtle | Dec 29, 2011 at 5:55 am

          If you’ve been thinking of visiting, you definitely should!

  • Traveler’s Show & Tell: Volcanoes, Jazz and Romance on the Road | Dec 25, 2011 at 4:49 am

    […] Turtle presents The New Touristament posted at Time Travel Turtle : Stories from the world, saying, “The entire theme park has […]

  • Shonda @ Abundant Journeys | Dec 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Growing very jealous of your photos and Byteful’s. They bring your subject to life and tell a captivating story. Nice to e-meet you as we make our rounds on the Traveler’s Show & Tell.
    Shonda @ Abundant Journeys recently posted..Christmas Dinner RestaurantsMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

      Thanks for that! The Show & Tell is a great way to discover all these great stories, isn’t it!

  • Mental Mosaic | Dec 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Love your write up as well as all the great photos!

    Y’know, I could actually see a Bible theme park going over big in some parts of Texas…

    Thanks again for being part of this week’s Traveler’s Show & Tell blog carnival. I always enjoy your posts. 🙂

    Mental Mosaic recently posted..Traveler’s Show & Tell: Volcanoes, Jazz and Romance on the RoadMy Profile

    • Turtle | Dec 28, 2011 at 1:39 am

      Thanks for hosting and including me again, Tui! I think you’re right about Texas… from the time I spent there I’m sure it would go down a treat! 🙂

  • “I’m having a vision…” « Peach, Plum, Orange | Jan 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

    […] didn’t interest me very much until yesterday when I stumbled upon a blog post written by the Time Travel Turtle. He wrote a thorough piece about his experience at this venue, more than I could possibly muster […]

Post A Comment

CommentLuv badge