Ave Maria Grotto; Cullman, AL – Top 50 American Roadside Attractions – TIME

From discarded building supplies, marbles, bricks, tile, pipes, sea shells, costume jewelry and plastic animals, Brother Joseph Zoettl constructed more than 125 miniature reproductions of many of the world’s most famous religious structures and landmarks. The Benedictine monk of Cullman, Alabama’s St. Bernard Abbey, devoted some 50 years to the project. “To pass the time, I started hobbies,” he once said. After he made 5,000 small grottos, which were sold to support the abbey’s work, Zoettl began work on his magnum opus, the Ave Maria Grotto. Today, spread out across three acres of the abbey’s forested grounds, stand tiny replicas of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Grotto of St. Theresa, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, an Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, the Great Wall of China and miniature versions of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Rome among others. He even crafted a mini St. Bernard’s Abbey, complete with the abbey power station where he once worked shoveling coal.

About dmacc502

Happy individual with positive outlook. Enjoy people and sharing ideas and mindful thoughts. Avid news watcher, cat lover, birdwatcher and cook.Fortunate not to have to work and love my quiet time. Married with two daughters in college.
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