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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 BEST ACCOMMODATION IN BUENOS AIRES
If you stay close to the city centre of BA, you’ll be near many of the main sights and have easy access to other neighbourhoods.
For a backpacker option, Che Juan Hostel is modern and comfortable with good privacy.
With great value and a central location, River Hotel is a good option if you’re on a budget.
For true style, I would recommend BE Jardin Escondido, which is where Francis Ford Coppola stays.
And when it comes to the top end, the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt is the ultimate in luxury!
22 thoughts on “The New Touristament”
That is a strange concept but I guess it works the stands look full of people.
The stand was full but the rest of the park was pretty empty. I wouldn’t say it was packed…
This is definitely a unique photo essay!
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 🙂
1wow — quite insane! a bit disturbing also, I have to say… thanks turtle
It probably is a bit disturbing for some people – but most of the visitors who were there seemed to be enjoying it!
I heard about this and forgot!! So glad you went, so I can see photos of the weirdness.
I can’t believe you never made it there! It was definitely worth checking out!
What a wonderful place to visit. For sure, it will be a rewarding experience to be there.
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!
Yeah, I’m not sure what the kids made of all the whippings and violence that was depicted there.
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.
I don’t think many people have heard of it and most of the visitors seemed to be local.
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”!
They definitely put a lot of effort into making it seem as authentic as possible!
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
If you’ve been thinking of visiting, you definitely should!
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.
Thanks for that! The Show & Tell is a great way to discover all these great stories, isn’t it!
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. 🙂
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! 🙂
Went to the park, it was quite disturbing for an atheist like myself.