A 420-metric ton replica of the famous Catholic shrine in France’s Lourdes has been successfully relocated in the southern town of Vung Tau by a renowned structural mover.
Nguyen Van Cu was applauded by hundreds of locals who came to watch him move the miniature mountain nine meters away from its original position on April 23.
Cu, who had elevated a 4,000-ton building by 50 centimeters before, described the sacred replica as an "extremely dangerous challenge" because it did not have a firm foundation.
“This is unlike anything I have moved before," Cu said. “We dug and discovered that there was only sand and sand under the mountain.”
Nguyen Minh Tri, head of the Phuoc Thanh Catholic Church, said that the successful relocation of the decades-old structure in front of the church was meaningful for his parish.
“The mountain, which was built over 50 years ago, is a replica of the Lourdes grotto where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a 14-year-old girl around 150 years ago,” said Tri.
He said the church was asked to either move or demolish the mountain to make way for a road expansion project, which already forced the church to rebuild its front.
“All of us are so happy to see it being relocated into our church again,” said Tri.
Cu said that his workers had to get under the mountain to make a concrete and steel foundation for the structure, in order to make the moving possible.
“It is the most dangerous task, since my workers could be crushed.”
“Hundreds of locals crowded around the site every day, watching us, putting us under even more pressure,” added Cu.