Situated on the Corcovado mountain in Tijuca Forest National Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Brasil) Christ the Redeemer, for which the Portuguese is Cristo Redentor, is a very large statue of Jesus of Nazareth. Labelled as one of the new seven wonders of the world, the statue is an extremely iconic present day Christian symbol, and is also one of Brazil’s most popular attractions.
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Getting the statue constructed was initially difficult, as Brasil is a secular nation with separation of church and state. Catholics in Rio organised a special week long event in 1920 to raise awareness about the campaign to build the statue, and to solicit donations from supporters.
Several different designs were considered, before the famous figure of Christ with his arms outstretched was chosen. This design was created by the engineer Heitor de Silva Costa.
Between 1922 and 1931, the statue was built by a team of engineers lead by French sculptors Paul Landowski and Gheorghe Leonida. Originally it was intended to be built out of the steel, but the team quickly concluded that concrete, reinforced by iron, with an outer shell of soapstone would be much more suitable. It cost the equivalent of $3.4 million in total.
The statue was unveiled in a big opening ceremony on the night of October 12 1931. It was supposed to be lit by a an array of lights positioned in Rome over 5000 miles away, but averse weather conditions meant that this could not be done, and local lighting had to be used instead.
On the 75th anniversary of the statue’s completion, it became possible to hold wedding ceremonies and baptisms at the site, after it a chapel at the base was consecrated by Rio’s Archbishop, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid.
Stairs and escalators were added in 2003 to make the platform at the bottom of the statue more accessible to visitors.
The statue has been periodically damaged by lightning storms and also by strong wind and rain. A large repair and restoration operation occurred through 2010, in which it was also waterproofed. Much of the soapstone on the outside needed to be replaced. It was vandalised with graffiti during the repairs, in what became a national scandal.
Two travelers from Russia and Ukraine climbed the statue in 2015, taking photos and videos of themselves standing on the top.
Architecture of Christ the Redeemer
The statue is 30 metres tall (38 metres if you count the pedestal), with a width of 28 metres from fingertip to fingertip. It has a weight of 635 metric tonnes, and is situated 2300 feet (700 metres) above sea level.