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Monte de Gozo - statue commemorating visit of pope has been removed

Marc S.

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I was not aware of this, but apparently the statue of Pope John Paul 2 at Monte de Gozo has been removed. The plan was to renovate but it - according to this article - it will not return. This will also mean there will be a clearer view from the hill towards the city of Santiago.


Edit (26 March) My original post was a bit misleading as I did not formulate correctly. It must be:
the sculpture on Monte de Gozo - that commemorated the visit of Pope John Paul II to Santiago - has been removed.
 
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SabineP

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I was not aware of this, but apparently the statue of Pope John Paul 2 at Monte de Gozo has been removed. The plan was to renovate but it - according to this article - it will not return. This will also mean there will be a clearer view from the hill towards the city of Santiago.


To quote Robert C. Gallagher : " Change is inevitable , except from a vending machine "... :cool: but I find it quite a sad thing. I actually like the fact that, regarding from which part you enter Santiago, you will see the spirals from the cathedral only when you are almost there. I'm too romantic for my own good I guess!

 

simeon

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The other sculpture of the two pilgrims pointing to the cathedral is wonderful. Even though not directly on the path. I remember detouring to see it, to the bewilderment of my walking companion as it would add an extra km to the day!!!!! It was nice to move off the path for some quiet contemplation
 
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Marc S.

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Please clarify. ...

Does this mean that that dreadful pyramid has been removed?! Or does it refer to some other monument?

The pyramid. Whether it was dreadful is subjective, I guess.

Actually I wonder what the opinion of the Vatican / Catholic Church is about this, as it is not actually common for a statue of the pope to be demolished. I also wonder how this fits into the protection of the camino as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as it was arguably a landmark in recent camino history.
How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the Xunta meetings where this has been decided...
 

JabbaPapa

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it is not actually common for a statue of the pope to be demolished
It was not a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II -- it was a piece of weird abstract 1990s "stuff" that looked dated and out of place even when it was new.

The opinion of the Vatican is irrelevant (and likely non-existent).

As to that of "the Catholic Church", well, that's nothing other in this instance than the opinion of the Faithful in the Diocese of Santiago and of the Archbishop (though probably that of the more Catholic foot pilgrims has not been discounted).

Not discussing religion -- this is entirely a question of local ecclesial and municipal politics and administration.
 

Marc S.

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It was not a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II -- it was a piece of weird abstract 1990s "stuff" that looked dated and out of place even when it was new.

You are right - I somehow misused the word statue (and something got lost in translating from one non-native language to another).

Commemorative monument is probably the more accurate word. And probably a monument that has meaning for some, and for some has no meaning.

Whether it was weird abstract 1990s stuff, out of place and dated, is of course subjective.:)
 

walkingman06

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I agree that it was weird looking. My Spanish is very rusty - did the article say that part of the reason it was being taken down was because it was deteriorating?

Nevertheless, the "monument" was a significant sight to me. It meant that, wonderfully/sadly, my walk was ending. It would soon be time to return to real life, ready or not.

I knew that if the weather was right and I looked in the right direction from the ledge of that monument, rumor had it I would be able to see the spires of the Cathedral (I never did make them out).

And one of my most memorable events of the Camino was being reunited with a long-missed member of my Camino Family on the steps of that monument.

I hope they can place something else there that will mark the spot where the ending of a journey is in sight.
 

Camino Chrissy

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I hope they can place something else there that will mark the spot where the ending of a journey is in sight.
I rather liked seeing the monument and thought it quite "unusual".
Like you, Kathy, it marked the spot where the ending if the journey was in sight. There were very few pilgrims around, so it gave me a peaceful time for reflection before heading into the excitement and exuberant jubilation felt by most in front of the cathedral.
 

Kathar1na

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I am with those who find this monument to a speech that Pope John Paul II gave during the World Youth Day in 1989 an eyesore. If the monument, made of concrete, aluminium, glass and bronze, has fallen into disrepair after only a few decades, it was obviously not built for eternity. They are keeping the bronze tableaus and returning the location to its original natural state. There is a perfectly appropriate monument close by, dedicated to pilgrims, to the Santiago pilgrimage and to the moment pilgrims saw the Cathedral towers for the first time, with two giant bronze statues pointing their fingers towards Santiago. What more is needed?

This is how badly the World Youth Day monument fitted into the landscape:

Concrete.jpg
 
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Camino Chrissy

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There is a perfectly appropriate monument to pilgrims, to the Santiago pilgrimage and to the moment pilgrims saw the Cathedral towers for the first time close by, with two giant bronze statues pointing their fingers towards Santiago.
I missed this monument my first time walking to Santiago as I'd not heard of it prior and is not easily seen unless looking for it...I much prefer it to the pyramid.
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David Tallan

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I didn't see the monument in 1989 (perhaps it was erected after my Camino in the early spring) and somehow managed to miss it in 2016. I guess it was not directly on the path and I missed the turn off to it. While I tend to be with the camp that says it was not the most attractive monument and don't, in the long term, regret its loss, I do regret missing the opportunity to see it for myself which I was going to make a point to do on my next Camino with that approach.
 

Lexicos

Jimmy
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It was one of the many surprises along The Way. There were other things that I found less appealing. I guess there is a time for all things.

I look forward to seeing how that spot will be redesigned. The unexpected view of Santiago in the distance is enough for me. Everything else is an add-on.
 

Ian L

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In July 2019 the monument was in really bad shape. As you can see from the photo it was fenced off and we couldn't even walk up to it.

It was a beautiful day and a great view, but I remember seeing the city from up there and being disappointed that the journey was almost over.


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JabbaPapa

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In July 2019 the monument was in really bad shape.
Wasn't much better, frankly, even in 1993, which was when I first came across the "thing" ...

But it was very degraded in 2014 -- which was (hooray !!) the last time I'll ever set eyes on it !!
 

peterbells

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Before you couldn't miss the memorial but within it gone will most just walk by without stopping (and will it have an effect on the little kiosk by it). The two pilgrim statues (as in the film The Way) do require about a 1km detour which perhaps explains why I have always found very few people by it and it is very peaceful. You can see the Cathedral spires and I find it a nice spot to reflect on my Camino before making the final walk to the Cathedral. There is part of me that wishes more people were aware where they are but the other part enjoys not many knowing about it making it a quiet and reflective place. My one regret last time was that someone had tied things round their necks. statues and cathedral no1.jpg
 

MTtoCamino

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Everything can change. Yet I found it important that the Pope had visited the site. So I am a bit sad his statue was removed.

it will be interesting what Object or monuments I will find on the next Camino other than the Francis. As most are placed with heart felt reason.
 

Pierre Julian

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I saw the monument again a few months ago, it was very dilapidated and fenced off. I find it ugly and would like to see it removed from it's present location. However, it does also have lots of associations with the Camino for many people, it would be sort of nice to have it preserved somewhere a little more hidden - for posterity. Maybe as a reminder of an historical visit and an example of bad art?
 

Kathar1na

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Yet I found it important that the Pope had visited the site. So I am a bit sad his statue was removed.
The four large bronze plaques will remain in their location on Monte de Gozo, as mentioned in the article. What's gone is the block made of concrete, the rusted decoration that looks like a figure of 66, the rusted square table on top of it, and the proportionally very small decoration on top of that.

Two of the bronze plaques refer to Pope John Paul II in Santiago (one with the Cathedral and the other one hugging the apostle statue), one refers to Francis of Assisi, and the fourth one shows a giant hand which, I guess, is a reference to the ways to Santiago. They deserve to be cleaned and have the rust removed that flowed down from the 66 figure or whatever that was.

Monte do Gozo.jpg
 
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trecile

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It was not a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II -- it was a piece of weird abstract 1990s "stuff" that looked dated and out of place even when it was new.

this monument to a speech that Pope John Paul II gave during the World Youth Day in 1989
Could this thread be renamed to reflect the fact that it wasn't a sculpture of the Pope that was removed, but a sculpture that commemorated the visit of Pope John Paul II to Santiago?

And indeed, although the sculpture has been removed, the plagues that commemorate his visit are still there.
The four large bronze plaques will remain in their location on Monte de Gozo, as mentioned in the article.

Two of the bronze plaques refer to Pope John Paul II in Santiago (once with the Cathedral and the other time hugging the apostle statue), one to Francis of Assisi, and the fourth one shows a giant hand, I guess, probably a reference to the ways to Santiago.
 

barbgarvey

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2017
I, too, found the monument stark looking and out of place. It really needed someone to have planned landscaping around it. Having said that, I still liked it because of what it represented. St. John Paul II did not arbitrarily come to Santiago, nor convene a World Youth Day there for no reason. He did it to celebrate the pilgrim route. He chose the mount of Joy, Monte de Gozo, to celebrate mass because of its symbolic significance. (In life's journey, as on the Camino, we see the hope on the horizon). This publicity that St. John Paul II gave to the Camino has added to its modern popularity and was itself important. While the monument may not have been aesthetically pleasing I am very happy to hear the commemorative plaques will remain as they recall JP's visit and parallel it to the visit of St. Francis of Assisi. The other two plaques are really about the pilgrims, from the pope (himself a pilgrim of sorts) hugging St. James to our walking all the ways to Santiago.
 

Sansthing

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I must admit I found the monument very strange-looking and could not understand its symbolism. I would have loved to have seen the pilgrim statues but never knew they were there. Maybe next time, hopefully.
 

Camino Chrissy

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On my first Camino I didn't mind seeing that big monument at all as I was entralled with every sight, sound and smell along the Way...I was truly excited and appreciated nearly everything and anything!
 

Marc S.

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Could this thread be renamed to reflect the fact that it wasn't a sculpture of the Pope that was removed, but a sculpture that commemorated the visit of Pope John Paul II to Santiago?

You are right about this. My original post was not formulated correctly and a bit misleading. To avoid misunderstanding for future readers, I edited my original post. I don't know how to change the thread title though.
 
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BPG2017

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Yay! That was one ugly monument.

And more important: even though I am a pratising Catholic and an enthusiastic fan of Pope Saint John Paul, I feel that it was overdone to have such a hit-your-eye monument to his visit in that particular place. It made Monte do Gozo all about John Paul, which it is not. I had to ask around and search for the old, beautiful and much more relevant statue of the two pilgrims pointing to the spires of the Cathedral. Even the Camino arrows took you to the Pope monument and skirted the old pilgrims statue. I thought that was terrible.

A monument of some kind to the Pope's hugely important and meaningful visit is all very well - and there WILL still be one, as they are preserving the four big plaques. Quite enough.

Now I hope they redirect the arrows too, and make us all walk up the little hill where the pilgrims's statue stands. And from where you can still see the spires of the Cathedral, beautifully!
 

Marc S.

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I had to ask around and search for the old, beautiful and much more relevant statue of the two pilgrims pointing to the spires of the Cathedral. Even the Camino arrows took you to the Pope monument and skirted the old pilgrims statue. I thought that was terrible.

Not wanting to be smart, but the pilgrim statues are not old, but were placed there in 1993.

This of course does not take anything away from your experience.

I find it interesting though how recent monuments on the camino can be meaningful for some, while at the same time recent momuments may be considered undesirable as there is a desire "to preserve things as they were" (which always makes me wonder which point in history one wants to preserve)

Just let me quote Cees Nooteboom describing his visit to Monte de Gozo in Roads to Santiago, before the camino revival: There is no one to be seen on that high mound, nothing at all, a some what bare field, a closed chapel, a few boulders.

And then getting to the heart of it (I think): Some place do that to you, they have a certain magic whereby you find yourself partaking in the thoughts of others, unknown people, people who existed in a world that can never be yours.

I wonder if he would have the same realisation if he were to visit Monte de Gozo today.
 
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BPG2017

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Not wanting to be smart, but the pilgrim statues are not old, but were placed there in 1993.

This of course does not take anything away from your experience.

I find it interesting though how monuments on the camino can be meaningful for some, while at the same time there is a desire "to preserve things as they were" (which always makes me wonder which point in history one wants to preserve)

Just let me quote Cees Nooteboom describing his visit to Monte de Gozo in Roads to Santiago, before the camino revival: There is no one to be seen on that high mound, nothing at all, a some what bare field, a closed chapel, a few boulders.

And then getting to the heart of it (I think): Some place do that to you, they have a certain magic whereby you find yourself partaking in the thoughts of others, unknown people, people who existed in a world that can never be yours.

I wonder if he would have the same realisation if he were to visit Monte de Gozo today.
Thanks for the info! That changes my perspective a little.

I must say, though, that my feelings in this case are not to "preserve things as they were", but to keep the right spirit of the place. (And to take away something frankly ugly.) Monte Do Gozo is, and should remain, the place from where pilgrims first see the Cathedral. I assume the pilgrims' statue was placed in the traditional stopping place. Or did they destroy the original viewing point to create the infrastructure for the Pope's visit?
 

Bert45

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A few people here have pointed out that all opinions are subjective, but I don't think one post has had a good word to say about it. When everybody says that the monument was ugly, dreadful, dated, out of place, stark and strange-looking, does it cease to be subjective?
 
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SabineP

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A few people here have pointed out that all opinions are subjective, but I don't think one post has had a good word to say about it. When everybody says that the monument was ugly, dreadful, dated, out of place, stark and strange-looking, does it cease to be subjective?

No. It will stay subjective. IMO ;)
For me it might be strange looking but not dreadful at all.
 

Marc S.

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When everybody says that the monument was ugly, dreadful, dated, out of place, stark and strange-looking, does it cease to be subjective?

The majority of reviews on tripadvisor are positive about the monument. Does this mean the monument is beautiful ? Nope. It will stay subjective.

(my reason for starting this thread was just to inform people and not trying to convince anyone of anything)
 

Marc S.

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Monte Do Gozo is, and should remain, the place from where pilgrims first see the Cathedral. I assume the pilgrims' statue was placed in the traditional stopping place. Or did they destroy the original viewing point to create the infrastructure for the Pope's visit?

As far as I am aware (but others may correct me) in the past the cathedral was visible from the Monte de Gozo (where the monument is) but this is no longer so because of eucalyptus forests and suburban skylines obstructing the view. So I don't think they destroyed the original viewpoint in order to make way for the momument.

I must say, though, that my feelings in this case are not to "preserve things as they were", but to keep the right spirit of the place. (And to take away something frankly ugly.)

My comment about 'preserving things as they were' was not particularly directed to you. In fact I am known for wanting to "preserve things as they were"- I am a sentimental guy.... And I am also all for keeping the right spirit of places, which I find to be a complicated thing though.
(Personally I find the the pilgrim statues at Alto del Perdon and Monte de Gozo rather tacky, and for me they do not anything to keep the spirit of these places. But there is no right and wrong here).
 
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Juan64

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As far as I am aware (but others may correct me) in the past the cathedral was visible from the Monte de Gozo (where the monument is) but this is no longer so because of eucalyptus forests and suburban skylines obstructing the view. So I don't think they destroyed the original viewpoint in order to make way for the momument.



My comment about 'preserving things as they were' was not particularly directed to you. In fact I am known for wanting to "preserve things as they were"- I am a sentimental guy.... And I am also all for keeping the right spirit of places, which I find to be a complicated thing though.
(Personally I find the the pilgrim statues at Alto del Perdon and Monte de Gozo rather tacky, and for me they do not anything to keep the spirit of these places. But there is no right and wrong here).
Agree. In the Alto del Perdón a nicer momunent and in stone, would have been more apropiated
 

Juan64

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As far as I am aware (but others may correct me) in the past the cathedral was visible from the Monte de Gozo (where the monument is) but this is no longer so because of eucalyptus forests and suburban skylines obstructing the view. So I don't think they destroyed the original viewpoint in order to make way for the momument.



My comment about 'preserving things as they were' was not particularly directed to you. In fact I am known for wanting to "preserve things as they were"- I am a sentimental guy.... And I am also all for keeping the right spirit of places, which I find to be a complicated thing though.
(Personally I find the the pilgrim statues at Alto del Perdon and Monte de Gozo rather tacky, and for me they do not anything to keep the spirit of these places. But there is no right and wrong here).
It is calles Monte del Gozo (Hill of Joy, Monxoi, Freudenberg, etc) for a reason. The joy experienced in at long last watching the Cathedral's Spires (Las torres de la Catedral). Sadly, the original view was spoiled years ago with the building of high rise flats interrupting the view.
 

Devon Mike

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The monument was certainly deteriorating. I took these two photos in 2014 and 2018 which show the monument getting very rusty and also the concrete pyramid getting worse with a hole in it.
 

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