High above the city of Torreón in northern Mexico, the radiant white figure of Christ welcomes pilgrims and tourists with open arms. Each year, thousands of people come to this place of pilgrimage in the state of Coahuila. Until now, many visitors have gone up the de las Noas hill on foot to see the famous landmark, the church and the panorama restaurant. From october 2016 they will be able to travel in a comfortable gondola lift directly from the historic center of the desert city to the 22-meter-high statue and admire the magnificent view from the top.
In 1973, a priest came up with the idea that an enormous statue could protect the people and attract tourists at the same time. José Rodríguez hoped to gain the attention of believers and also wished to guide non-believers on the right path. Each year, more than 30,000 religious visitors come during the Easter vacation alone to follow Christ in the way of the cross. From the fall of 2016, instead of attempting the steep climb in the hot desert sun, pilgrims and tourists will be taken up to “Cristo de las Noas”, the landmark of Torreón, in just a few minutes. The sculpture, opened in 1983, was crafted by artist Vladimir Alvarado from almost 600 metric tons of reinforced concrete. The monumental figure stands on a 1,300-meter-high hill named after the “Noa” cactus that can be found all over the region. As well as the ropeway, the Torreón local authority is having a park and a mountain bike route constructed on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert in order to make the destination even more attractive to tourists.
The 8-passenger gondolas take visitors up the mountain in under five minutes, covering a vertical distance of 138 meters. The journey begins in the middle of Torreón, which will be directly connected to the popular attraction by the ropeway. The panorama windows afford an exceptional view during the trip. This installations will be the third ropeway to be built by LEITNER ropeways in Mexico. The South Tyrolean company is currently completing the country’s first urban ropeway in the capital, building two connected 10-passenger gondola lifts in the district of Ecatepec that are directly linked to the public transport system. For residents and visitors alike, the ropeways considerably improve quality of life and make it much easier to get around. Where previously it would take a good 45 minutes by “Peseros” minibus to reach the destination, the modern gondolas now easily cover the distance in under 20 minutes.