Surprising Hidden Crosses Around the World
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/1000 sec
In celebration of all the ice and snow outside my house, I’m thinking warm thoughts this week. A sunny beach in Japan is just the ticket! Yet, I was surprised to find this simple cross so prominently displayed in a nation that’s primarily Shinto, Buddhist, and secular. It’s not the only time I’ve heard of crosses in strange places, however. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- A cross hidden in a Buddhist statue, also from Japan. Usually this country is not known for persecuting Christians, but there have been times in its history when this occurred. Hidden symbols such as this one are more common in other nations, where religious freedom has not been realized.
- In the USA, the crosses are not so hidden. If you have traveled down I-70 through Illinois, you may have passed a nearly 200-foot giant white cross in Effingham. Another builder has made similar (though smaller) crosses throughout Tennessee next to adult bookstores, likely to deter potential customers. Finally, a former Marine and Methodist minister, Bernard Coffendaffer, built a series of three crosses along highways in 29 states. After his death, they were adopted by local people and churches for regular maintenance.
- Two of my favorite stories are conspiracy theories. One involves the Burj al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) hotel, the largest building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The British architects were accused of intentionally making it the shape of a cross, though it was supposed to look like a sailboat. Several rumors have circled around this controversy. Since you can only see the cross by looking at the building from the water, I heard photos from that angle were not allowed (though there are plenty available online). Also, some claimed that license plates featuring a drawing of the hotel were banned. This rumor was never verified. So is this really the world’s largest Christian cross, as some claim? Or is it just another theory designed to stir people up? I would love to hear your thoughts!
- The last “hidden cross” I found is a tourist attraction in Berlin, Germany. The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) was built in 1965-1969 as the tallest structure in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The socialist authorities that build the tower wanted it to be a symbol of the GDR’s strength during the Cold War. However, the atheistic leaders were surprised to discover that every day as the sun hit the tower’s pinnacle, a sparkling cross would appear. Even when the dome was treated with special paints and chemicals, they could not get it to go away. West Berliners nicknamed it Rache des Papstes (the Pope’s Revenge).
Ok, now it’s your turn! Have you ever discovered a hidden symbol that gave you hope? What about laughter? Did you see Jesus in a potato chip? Share your story in the comments.