Religiosity in the Mountain

The vía Christi is a singular theme park in the open air displaying the life of Jesus and inviting reflection.

The Vía Christi has given Junín de los Andes a singular identity. Already best known as a fly-fishing destination, this district in Neuquén which spreads along the banks of the Chimehuín River welcomes a great inflow of religious tourism due to this Christian theme park.

The Vía Christi is located 500m from National Route 234, on the west side of a low hill sheltered by pinewoods. A 2-kilometer circuit tours around 17 stations featuring a circular shape. Each of them contains a sculpture made by architect Alejandro Santana and portraying scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.

In the “solados”, as the 12-meter-diameter tiled squares representing the sun are called, figures represent not only the Christian but also the Mapuche Cosmo vision, both of which are part of the history of Patagonia.

  • A contemporary look

    A contemporary look

  • On the west side of a low hill

    On the west side of a low hill

  • Mobilizing, critical

    Mobilizing, critical

  • On top of the mountain, a magnificent white cross

    On top of the mountain, a magnificent white cross

  • The Artist’s Look

    The Artist’s Look


The Artist’s Look

Mobilizing, critical, the vía Christi invites a clear reflection on Christ’s speech about our present society. At the very first station, which shows the birth of Jesus, the faces display Hispanic, Mapuche and mixed features and provide a context for the message.

Santana himself explains that “in this first station there lies the key to the interpretation of the entire Vía Christi, as it is at this point when he became a man, and he did so in a certain culture. And if that has happened, it means that every culture may also reinterpret, describe and remodel the mystery of his presence in order to get us closer to the mystery from our own reality”.

From this perspective, and as the biblical moments are recounted, the historical connections succeed one another. Thus, the second solado deals with the Beatitudes in a setting where Christ is surrounded by characters such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Martín Luther King, Mother Teresa, Laura Vicuña, Gandhi and Father Carlos Mugica, among others.

The parable of the Prodigal Son, the miracle of the loaves and fish along with other miracles, the passion, death and resurrection, no significant instance loses this kind of relation with the past and present of mankind discovered through a regional point of view.

Furthermore, high reliefs featuring sequences of the life of Laura Vicuña and Ceferino Namuncurá, both beatified characters born in Patagonia, may be appreciated along the way.
On top of the mountain, a magnificent white cross raised as a result of the effort made by the local dwellers in 1950 anticipates the end of the tour. At its foot, the symbols read the famous Bible quotations: “I am the Light, the Truth, the Life, and the Way”.

After the last two stations, when the vía Christi comes to an end, one might think that the artist achieved his aim: to transmit a message full of hope, interrogations and profound Christian faith.

Autor Karina Jozami Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Contact of the excursion or tour


Sub Secretaría de Turismo y Cultura

Padre Milanesio y Coronel Suárez (8371) Junín de los Andes, Neuquén

Tel: +54 2972-491160

DifficultyDifficulty: Low

DurationDuration: 2 hours approximately

Bear in mindBear in mind: Even if the entire tour may be completed without any guiding, it is advisable to walk with someone from the park in order to enrich the interpretation at each station.

Location

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