In many people’s minds, the Statue of Liberty is a legendary depiction of New York, U.S.A. This USA national monument is one of the world’s most visited attractions, and for someone who has a US tourist visa in hand and has New York on their itinerary, they will definitely find a way to see this colossal American attraction. But what’s the significance of the statue? Did you know it was a gift from France and the sculpture is based on a Roman goddess? Read more about this fascinating attraction and see what it’s all about.
Statue of Liberty’s conception
The Statue of Liberty history dates back to the 1800s when the French proposed giving the statue to praise American democracy and strengthen relations between the two countries. Among the many legends about the Statue, the most popular opinion is that it symbolizes the abolishment of slavery and demonstrates to the world that America is a free and democratic country. This grand monument was a dream project of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi – a renowned French artist and sculptor. The Statue of Liberty also symbolizes French-American friendship. In all, it took two decades for the statue to be built, then disassembled in France, exported to the USA, and then assembled again on Liberty Island. It was dedicated to America in 1986 and is known as the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.
Design and Architecture – Interesting facts
- There have been several ideas about how the Statue of Liberty should look. Liberty Island (formerly known as Bedloe’s Island) at the entrance to the New York harbour was finalized as the place for the monument to stand. Its monumental stature, standing stoically overlooking the waters on the south-east was a major attraction and also served another purpose – immigrants and visitors in ships, and boats will see it as a welcoming feature as they sail by it.
- First sketches of the Statue of Liberty are said to have been created in the 1870s. A number of expressions led to the concept of the statue being a lady, including the ancient Roman Goddess Libertas and the Statue of Freedom made by Thomas Crawford that adorns the US Capitol Building. It has also been reported that Bartholdi’s mother’s face is likened to the sculpture.
- Also included in the final design were ideas that contrasted with the popular French and Roman architectural styles. The Statue of Liberty stands tall at Liberty Island as a female figure sheathed in an overflowing gown and cloaks. The facial expression is neutral and the figure holds a shining torch in one hand symbolizing enlightenment. Eventually, the copper torch was replaced with a gold-plated torch to reflect the shining sun rays and create a flame effect. There are seven rays on the crown that symbolize the sun, the seven continents as well as the seven seas of the world. The statue also illustrates the breaking of shackles of slavery in a very subtle way by stepping over a chain half-hidden by the drapery and the raised right leg that, from below, is difficult to clearly see. Liberty’s left hand holds a tablet inscribed with the words, ‘JULY IV MDCCLXXVI.’ This tablet commemorates the date of the Independence of the United States of America. The whole statue stands on a raised pedestal.
- The making of the Statue of Liberty was stalled to solicit funds for the pedestal it now stands upon. According to legend, the flaming torch stood at Madison Square for several years so that the public could contribute to this grand project.
- The Statue of Liberty is made from copper, a metal that is light and easy to mold and is seen as one of the best choices for sculptures. The natural oxidization of copper over the period of time gives it a pale green appearance. The Statue of Liberty stands towering at the Liberty Island at the height of 305 feet from the ground to the tip. The whole structure was made from about 300 copper sheets which were hammered into shape and riveted together to form this colossal structure. The statue is secured in place by an intrinsic metal frame on the inside to support the massive structure and it was designed by none other than the man who made the Eiffel Tower – Gustave Eiffel. The giant structure moves as well! The Statue of Liberty is said to sway slightly to 3 to 5 inches in heavy winds.
Location, Timings, and Admission fees
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, which can only be accessed by ferry and boat from Battery Park, Manhattan in New York City. Ferries depart every 25 minutes. Statue of Liberty timings are 9.30 am until 4.30 am daily. Statue of Liberty visitors do not have to pay an entrance fee, they only have to pay for the ferry rides. However, if you wish to go inside the pedestal or the crown, there will be additional charges.
The ultimate realization of arriving in the USA for a US visa holder is to see this majestic monument. An interesting story of strength in friendship can be found in the Statue of Liberty as the French entrusted one of the world’s greatest works of art to the United States to symbolize their friendship. This masterpiece has not only withstood the test of time and perils but still stands as a beacon of the American dream and a symbol of freedom throughout the world. The Statue of Liberty is one of the most breathtaking attractions in the world, so don’t miss the chance of seeing her if you get one!