BY the end of 2010, the world's tallest statue of Jesus Christ could be erected in Prešov.
The controversy does not stem from the idea itself, or the location, but rather from the statue's size. A similar Christian symbol that overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from a pedestal is 30 metres tall. Prešov's statue will measure 33 metres, the Sme daily wrote.
Prešov mayor Pavol Hagyari came up with the idea. He said that the statue's height symbolises the important years in Christ's life - his age, when he was crucified, when he died and was resurrected.
"When I lived in Bratislava, I was constantly irritated by that twelve-metre statue of a Soviet soldier at Slavín," Hagyari said. "As early as then, sculptor Martin Palo and I started thinking about a monument that would symbolise our Christian values - faith, love, understanding."
Hagyari admitted that the sculpture's size is controversial and could provoke debate among residents and experts, but sees no reason why there shouldn't be a work of art that draws attention to the town and the entire region.
"The Eiffel Tower in Paris was controversial, too," the mayor said. "But today, it is the very symbol of this city and all of France."
Total costs of the project are assessed to amount to Sk15 million.