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Svetovid – our Tower of Babel

Svetovid is the tallest sculpture in the world that was reported to The Guinness Book of World Records. It is a reference to Slavic culture of our ancestors. However, this sculpture was never being sacred. Svetovid was divided into four parts. Every part refers to another theme and, at the same time, arouses different feelings. Diversified techniques of creating the sculpture correspond to various qualities. Sculptors, that took part in the open air workshop, decided to create this sculpture for free. They came to this workshop from whole over the country in order to build enormous monument of tolerance made from 400-years-old poplar. It all was an idea of Grzegorz Śleziak. The Svetovid sculpture was a response to political quarrels and lack of tolerance in the world. It is a illustration of contemporary society’s fears and anxieties.
On the front side of Svetovid there are deities – symbols of main religions of the world placed. These are: Christianity (Christ’s face and an eye of divine providence), Buddhism (Buddha), Orthodox Church (Pantokrator), Judaism (Star of David), Islam (Shahadah), Hinduism (Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma). These elements are placed next to each other due to the fact that majority of wars is based on religious conflicts and that believers of different religions aiming to destroy other religions. Archivolt with plait hands is a symbol which is visible on every side of the sculpture. Its goal is to bring good, peace and harmony in the world.
On the right side of the sculpture there are such authorities as Jean Paul II or Dalai Lama who treated other people with respect and regard. The did not offend and feel resentment or conceit and had ability to forgive. On the left side of the sculpture there are faces of such politicians as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Vladimir Putin, Kim-Jong and George W. Bush. Back side is covered with faces of Polish politicians such as Roman Giertych, Lech Wałęsa, Andrzej Lepper, Kaczyński twins and priest Rydzyk. All of the politicians are confronted with the goddess of truth (symbol taken from Ikonologia by C. Ripa) who is naked, bright (the sun), intelligent (the open book), inflexible (the palm tree’s twig). One can notice in this sculpture also the path of a human being filled with obstacles of day-to-day life (upper part of the Svetovid). The hands of a man directed in heaven are the symbol of fears, anxieties and entreaties.
A tree is a symbol of life, it is an axe of the world. Put deep in the ground and at the same time having its roots touch the sky. The Svetovid statue was said to be the Greatest God – the lord of the heaven, forest, sun, fire, harvest and (supposedly) war – it all is a connection with our history. Politics create our nowadays life, they decide about future of our country, families, children. Religion is a choice of every man who should be free and unlimited by the authorities.


Project made in accordance with an idea of: Grzegorz Śleziak
Designer: Karolina Kosela
Project coordinator: Aleksandra Iwańczak
A view on Svietovid from observational tower.
The center of Svetovid.
Below we present pictures from official presentation of Svetovid.
Pictures taken during arranging the sculpture.
We present pictures from sculpturing the Svetovid – the tallest sculpture made from only one piece of wood (400 years old poplar).
Sculptors who contributed to creating the Svetovid. Thanks to their cooperation the tallest sculpture in the would could be created. The Svetovid is said to be a symbol of human beings’ fears and anxieties.
Open area workshop in Rycerka City.