A central Colombian town claims to have the largest collection of crucifixes in the world, with over 2,700 crosses and Christs.
The religious icons are housed in a “Christ Museum” in Marinilla, a town 30 miles outside Medellin. They come from all over the world and are made from all sorts of materials, including marble and twine.
Museum historian Jorge Ivan Castaño Giraldo told Colombia Reports one of the most interesting images was “The Antioquian,” a figure with a poncho, spade, and sombrero typical of the region. There is also a Christ made of bullets and another without hands or feet.
Giraldo said the collection of crosses was donated to the people by the late Roberto Hoyos Castaño, a local politician “who worked very hard for Marinilla,” especially in social, cultural and educational areas.
Before he passed away in 2009, Hoyos Castaño declared, “I don’t think there is a collection on this planet that is bigger than this one.”
Marinilla mayor Jose Gildardo Hurtado told newspaper El Espacio it was hoped the collection would enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
Hoyos Castaño asked friends and family to bring him crucifixes as souvenirs whenever they traveled abroad. One was brought back for him from Los Angeles, California, which turned out to have been made in Colombia.
Marinilla, in the northwest department of Antioquia, has a very strong Catholic tradition. Visitors can also see the 252-year-old Chapel of Jesus the Nazarene, which is also a museum of religious art. The chapel is home to an image of Christ brought over from Barcelona, painted with gold and cochineal.
For more information about the Christ and crucifix collection, at the Museo del Cristo in the Casa de la Cultura Jose Duque Gomez, visit the local council website.