Perched on top of a hill over looking the town of Waterbury, Connecticut, are three crucifixes which resemble those spoken of in the Bible at Jesus’ crucifixion. In my travels across America I have become accustomed to seeing such structures, particularly in the Southern part of the country but these religious symbols are part of something a little bigger and more interesting.
In the 1950’s John Baptist Creco, a local attorney came up with the idea of creating a religious theme park, replicating Bethlehem and Jerusalem during the Biblical era. Holy Land included a recreation of the Garden of Eden and a diorama showing Daniel in the Lions Den. At it’s peak the attraction drew around 40,000 visitors a year however it closed in 1984 and fell into disrepair.
Nowadays, it stands as a faded, run down, shadow of its former self. However, it has managed to attain a haunting beauty that only something that was once so populated and has now stood abandoned for so long can achieve. This unique beauty was highlighted all the more as I visited the site after a heavy snowfall. The once, grassy, rolling hills covered with model buildings representing locations from the New Testament appeared as a baron tundra dotted with broken arches and the occasional structure tall enough to pierce the snow. The thick white blanket made each collection of models beneath it even more intriguing as it was not always clear what was below.
Holy Land is not open to the public. In order to gain access to the site you must walk around the main gate and through the broken fence. We were careful to do so respectfully and with little noise which may have disturbed the residents living close by.
We managed to make our way to the summit of the hill to see the crucifixes which invoked images of Jesus’ own, written of, crucifixion and the more recently installed giant cross which was erected in 2013 and lit up at night.
If you are planning of visiting Holy Land be wary of visiting in the snow. Particularly if you are driving. The road leading to the entrance is steep and was un-plowed and walking in the park is dangerous as you cannot always see where you are stepping. I also would be a good idea to go only in a small group as although you are technically trespassing, from the research I did before I believe that visitors are tolerated as long as they conduct themselves with respect.