The World's First Religious Theme Park

A 60 foot plastic Jesus, an all-you-can-eat Last Supper and the chance to carry Christ's cross - welcome to Argentina's taste free Tierra Santa.
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A 60 foot plastic Jesus, an all-you-can-eat Last Supper and the chance to carry Christ's cross - welcome to Argentina's taste free Tierra Santa.

You may not have heard, but Jesus Christ will rise again this Easter. In fact He will be resurrected every half hour on the quarter. Over the holy weekend an estimated 100,000 followers will, er, flock to witness a 60ft plastic Jesus rise out of a plastic mountain to Handel's Messiah and the occasional tear. It will be, by my reckoning, the 43,680 th such resurrection since the world's first religious theme park opened eight years ago in Buenos Aires.
Between the domestic airport and a disused water park, Tierra Santa proudly recreates Bethlehem (there is a light show of the birth of Christ) and Jerusalem (the Wailing Wall is one of the star attractions). Hundreds of synthetic donkeys and camels sit next to life-sized renditions of biblical characters and a couple of risqué bare-breasted angels. Staff dressed in togas sell disposable cameras and snow globes, serve up doner kebabs and announce when the next Last Supper animatronic show is about to start. Other faiths are represented too, with a mosque and a synagogue to explore (Kippah provided).
Easter weekend is, of course, the biggie. This year the conscientious and the curious are invited to eat one final meal with the disciples on Thursday, help carry Jesus' cross with a blood-splattered actor on Friday, then returning on Sunday to witness the miracle of Semana Santa. It has become the ultimate kitsch attraction for tourists but not many tongues are in cheeks.
"This is a place that brings my religion alive. It is so well done; an enchanting place," one half of an elderly couple, told me before going off to video the belly dancers.
Another 20-something Argentine lady explained it was like being transported to another world, without the slightest hint of irony.
With 83% of Argentines professing to be Roman Catholic, the success of Tierra Santa is perhaps unsurprising. However with only 28% attending church weekly, maybe they should raise the sign that graced the Flanders' Praiseland in the Simpsons: This Does Not Count As Church.
And yes, I confess, I bought a snow globe.