Overview and location:
The statue of liberty is considered as one of the most famous monuments not only in the United States of America but also in the whole world. It is situated on the Liberty Island in the middle of the Harbor of New York in Manhattan in New York City.
The name of the statue refers to the “Liberty Enlightening the World” which the translation of the French origin for the meaning of the statue’s name which is “La Liberteeclairant le monde”. It is a considered as a symbol of freedom and democracy. The statue is a welcoming signal for immigrants arriving from all over the world.
The statue refers to a robed female figure (Libertas – The Roman Goddess of Freedom) which holds a torch and a tabula ansata(a tablet that evokes the law) where the date of the American Declaration of Independence (July 4th, 1776) is inscribed. At the feet of the statue lies a broken chain.
The origin of this statue is French as it was designed by the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and was dedicated as a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States of America on October 28th, 1886 as recognition of friendship between France and the United States that was established at the American Revolution. The 100th birthday of the statue national monument was celebrated officially on October 28th, 1986.In 1984 the United Nations declared that the Statue of Liberty is a World Heritage Site.
Construction and Funding:
The construction of the statue was basically a joint work between France and the United States of America where the French people were in charge of the statue and its assembly in the United States and the American people were in charge of building the pedestal. The sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi sought the help of an engineer for building the structure of the statue and some designing issues for that colossal copper structure. So the designer of the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was assigned to design the huge iron pylon and the skeletal framework that allowed the statue to stand upright and helped the copper skin of the statue to move independently.
However the process of the construction witnessed problems due to the lack of funds. The French people resorted to public fees, lottery and different entrainment forms to raise funds. The American people resorted to planning events in theaters, art exhibitions and auctions to raise the needed funds.
The financing of the statue’s pedestal was finished in August 1885 and the construction of the pedestal was completed in April 1886.
Transportation of the Statue:
The construction of the Statue of Libertywas completed in July 1884 in France and was transported from France to New York on board of the French warship called “Isere” where it arrived at New York harbor in June 1885. To facilitate the transportation, the statue was divided into 350 pieces that were packed in 214 crates and it was re-assembled on the pedestal over a period of four month and by October 28th, 1886, the statue was dedicated from France to the United States of America in front of thousands of spectators.
The statue dimensions and structure:
- The total height of the statue from base to the tip of the torch is 305 feet and 6 inches
- The height from the heel of the statue to the top of the head is 111 feet and 6 inches
- The face of the statue is more than 8 feet tall
- The tablet in the statue’s left hand is 23′ 7″ tall and 13′ 7″ wide with the date of the American Declaration of Independence (July 4th, 1776) inscribed
- The number of steps from the statue’s pedestal to the statue’s head is 154 steps
- The waistline of the statue is 35 foot
- The crown of the statue has seven rays each referring to one of the seven world’s continents, each ray is 9 feet length and weighs about 150 pounds
- The statue weighs 225 tons
- The broken chain that exists at the feet of the statue is a symbol of tyranny and oppression
Tourism at the Statue of Liberty:
The entrance to the Statue of Liberty National Monument is for free, but the ferry service to reach the statue must be paid and all visitors have to use this service because private boats are not allowed to dock at the island. There are high security measures applied to all ferry passengers before boarding and security screening procedures similar to those carried out at the airports.There is a complimentary ticket included with the ferry ticket for the visitors to enter the pedestal and the statue’s base. However, visitors who wish to climb the statue’s staircase to the crown should buy another ticket for that purpose that can be bought up to a year prior to visiting the statue. There is a limited number of visitors per day who are allowed to climb the staircase which 240 visitors per day and those visitors should climb in groups, with a maximum number of 10 visitors per group and 3 groups per hour. Cameras are allowed to be used by climbers.
There is an information center which offers brochures and a video about the story of the Statue of Liberty and also offers schedules for the guided tours and ferries.
There are English language guided tours all over the day which take about 30-45 minutes. The tours provide the story of the history of the island and the statue. The tours for adults are offered in 9 languages and those for children (from 6 to 10 years old) are offered in 5 languages. There are visitation certificates that can be obtained by visitors either at the foundation booth on the island or digitally by email.
Ferry tickets can be found on the website www.statuecruises.com and more information and details on the visit and operating hours can be found at the website of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the National Park Service website.