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Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption

A massive religious shrine built by a priest contains thousands of rare stones and minerals and is considered the largest humanmade grotto in the world


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The Grotto of the Redemption is a religious shrine in West Bend, Iowa and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City. A complex consisting of nine grottos shows scenes from the life of Jesus. With a large collection of minerals, rare stones and shells, it is believed to be the largest man-made grotto in the world. The total value of all the minerals is about $4,308,000.

The massive Grotto of the Redemption was built by Father Paul Dobberstein, who as a young man had made a promise to God to build a great shrine to the Virgin Mary. He started his project in 1912 using rare rocks that were donated from all over the US. Each grotto is dedicated to a certain theme.

A four storied, nine-grotto complex made of minerals, shells and stones, includes a museum with precious and semiprecious stones, as well as photos and artifacts telling a story of the construction of the shrine.

The shrine is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A gift shop is open from February to December, with longer opening hours from May to October.

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