Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. description, history, facts.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. Brazil

The calling card of Rio, and perhaps of the whole of Brazil, is the Corcovado Peak above the city, with its huge outstretched arms trying to embrace the whole world, granting it tranquility and prudence. A recognized symbol of the country and the Christian faith. You probably recognize it. This is the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer.

In any guidebook to Brazil, it will be on the first pages. The monument is located in the southeastern part of Rio de Janeiro, 3.5 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean coast.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer on the map

  • Geographic coordinates ( -22.952279, -43.210644 )
  • Distance from Brasilia, capital of Brazil approximately 950 km as a straight line
  • Nearest airport Santos-Dumont 7 km northeast

The statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor in Portuguese) can be seen from anywhere in Rio, as it is erected 710 meters above the ocean. The view from the platform beside the statue is simply incredible. All of Rio in the palm of your hand.

The famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana are three to four kilometers. Six kilometers to the east rises the mountain called “Sugar Loaf Mountain. At 5 kilometers north of the Olympic Stadium “Maracana”. Guanabara Bay and the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean complete the picture.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Head

Dizzying scenery and gorgeous views are an integral part of the attraction. The statue itself is no less dizzying. This is one of the tallest statues of Jesus on the planet.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in numbers

  • The full height of 38 meters.
  • The height of the sculpture itself is 30.1 meters
  • The height of the base – 8 meters
  • The length of the arms spread out on the tips of the fingers – 28 meters
  • Weight of the statue is about 635 tons (some sources mention 1,145 tons, most likely it is the total weight of the construction together with the pedestal)

Today the statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most famous and attractive sights in the world. Every year up to 2 million tourists come here, so it is almost unreal to find the monument deserted.

There is a train track leading to the top of Corcovado, and a small train runs every 20 minutes from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Officially, the attraction is open to visitors from 8-00 to 19-00. But, as you understand, there are people here even at night.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer at night

The history of the statue.

The Corcovado Mountain was originally noticed by a young French priest, Pierre-Marie Boss, back in 1859. He served as chaplain in a small church in what is now the Botafogo district. The windows of the church overlooked Mount Corcovado. One day while standing at the window, he saw a breathtaking landscape that inspired him to create a religious monument. Pierre-Marie shared his thoughts with his colleagues, and everyone supported him. It was a good idea, but due to a lack of funding it was not feasible. The project was frozen.

In 1882 they decided to build a railroad to the top of the mountain, but not because of the monument. In 1884 the railway was completed and put into operation. Subsequently, it provided invaluable assistance in the construction of the monument.

In 1921, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Brazil’s independence from the Portuguese monarchs, the city’s old-timers remembered the French priest’s idea and decided to erect a statue. Money for such a large-scale project was raised with the help of Cruzeiro magazine, which announced a fundraising campaign (the event went down in history as “Monument Week”), and with the help of parishioners of local churches. It must be said that people really liked the idea, and in the shortest possible time they raised about 2 million reais (this is the plural name for the Brazilian real).

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Of the three projects, Christ the Redeemer, created by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, was chosen. Many people worked on the project. Among them was the creator of the model, the artist Carlos Oswald (he was the one who suggested making the statue with the arms spread apart).

The sculptor Maximilian Paul Landowski was involved in the project. Heitor da Silva made a special trip to Paris to meet with Maximilian and the engineers Albert Kaku and Heitor Levy. In addition, the Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida (he was responsible for the head of the statue) took part in the project.

The head of the Statue of Christ the Redeemer

It was planned that the pedestal for the statue would be a sphere stylized as our planet, but because of the difficulty of implementation, it was decided to stay with the traditional, more stable, form of the base. In the course of painstaking work, the final design of the monument was formed, which we can now see. The emphasis was on the arms of Jesus spread wide apart. From afar, the monument looks like a big cross, a symbol of Christian faith. In addition, this gesture is interpreted as a blessing, forgiveness and a simple desire to embrace.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer

In 1922, construction of the statue had already begun, and the construction stretched out for a long 9 years. We even had to declare “Monument Week” again in 1929 to raise the missing funds. Finally, the dedication and consecration ceremony for the statue took place on October 12, 1931.

$250,000 was spent on the monument, as they say, “that money.” If you translate it into today’s money, it is about 3.5 million dollars.

Despite its size and weight, the Christ the Redeemer statue seems light and airy, literally floating above the city.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer on a cloudy day

Construction process

Just came in handy the same road that was held at the end of the 19th century. Most of the construction materials and structural elements were delivered to the top exactly with the help of this road. The main part of the monument was created on site, but the hands and head were created in France, delivered to Brazil in parts and assembled directly on the mountain. The base of the monument consists of reinforced concrete. The metal frame of the statue was also designed in France and delivered to the mountain in pieces. At that time, Brazil did not have the technology to create such a structure, so it was necessary to go to such lengths.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer under construction

During construction, Heitor de Silva constantly thought that the monument was missing something, that it needed to be given the true essence of a work of art. He remembered visiting the newly opened Arcade Gallery in Paris on the Champs-Élysées in 1927, and as he strolled by, he saw a beautiful fountain covered in silvery mosaics. The glint of light shimmered gracefully in the fountain and created exactly what Haytor wanted to reproduce in the Statue of Christ the Redeemer. Realizing what was needed, he began his search for a suitable material. And he found it. It turned out to be talcochlorite, also called “soapstone. This beautiful, malleable, erosion-resistant material was in abundance in the surrounding area. Pieces of soapstone were cut into thousands of triangles and glued by hand to the surface of the statue.

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Of note is the fact that some ladies from the local community wrote the names of their relatives on the back of the triangles before they were glued to the statue.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer today

Now the sculpture is not only a symbol of faith, the face of an entire country in general and the city of Rio de Janeiro in particular. This is also a recognized landmark on a global scale. Therefore, to the delight of travelers and residents, it is illuminated. The view of Christ at night is no worse (if not better) than during the day. In 2000, a large-scale reconstruction of the backlighting systems was carried out, and the monument sparkled with new colors.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer

During its existence, the statue has been repeatedly subjected to cosmetic and repair-restoration works. The most significant were carried out in the 1980s and 1990s.

In June 1980, Pope John Paul II visited the monument. He blessed the city at the foot of the statue and declared “se deus e brasileiro o papa e carioca,” which can be translated as “If God is Brazilian, then Pope.”

In July 2007 an Internet poll recognized the statue of Christ the Redeemer as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

In October 2007 representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church held their first service near the statue.

On April 16, 2010 the monument for the first time in history was desecrated by vandals. The hands and face of the statue were covered with paint. However, traces of barbarism were quickly removed. There is information that besides the traditionally abstract and clear only to the authors of graffiti, on the statue was written the phrase, which can be translated into Russian as “The cat from the house – mice dance”.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer attacked by vandals

The 80th anniversary of the statue was celebrated in 2011. The celebration was grandiose. Special honors were paid to Hayter de Silva Costa and Sebastian Lemay, without whom the project would hardly have been possible.

In February 2016, Patriarch Kirill of All Russia performed a prayer service in support of Christianity.

When you come to Rio de Janeiro, be sure to take at least one day to see the statue and fill the memory card of your phone or camera with fresh and so stunning photos. The statue is hollow inside and it is theoretically possible to take such pictures. The main thing is not to do it in a thunderstorm, otherwise a lightning strike is very, very likely, and it is unpleasant … probably.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer is hollow

Visiting the monument is paid.

Interesting facts

Statue of Christ the Redeemer struck by lightning

  1. The statue of Christ is the highest place in the neighborhood, so it is often struck by lightning (about 4 times a year). And these strikes are accompanied by damage to the sculpture. In case of repair, the local clergy have a supply of soapstone. Lightning strikes are considered by ministers to be a sign that this place is sacred.

When it comes to lightning, we recommend reading about the place where lightning strikes a thousand times more often. This is the world famous Catatumbo Lightning in the waters of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.

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It is worth noting that this is not the longest way to get rid of sins. We recommend reading about Heaven’s Gate in China. There the way to God is through 999 steps.

Here is a short list of the doubles.

Christ the King in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The statue is 28 meters high and the pedestal on which it is placed is 80 meters

King Christ in Lisbon. Portugal

Statue of Jesus with outstretched arms in the town of Vungtau in Vietnam. The height of the sculpture is 32 meters

Statue of Jesus in Vietnam

The sculpture of the Savior, 30 meters high, erected in the city of Monado on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia

Statue of Christ on the island of Sulawesi

The monument in Dili in East Timor is 27 meters tall. The creators of this monument succeeded in making the globe as a pedestal

Statue of Christ the Redeemer

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is the famous sculpture of Jesus with outstretched arms, which is located on top of Mount Corcovado in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro. It is considered a symbol of the city and the whole country, and is also included in the list of modern Seven Wonders of the World. The mountain rises 800 meters above Rio, so from the foot of the statue there is a stunning view of the capital and its individual landmarks, including Sugar Loaf Peak, the large Guanabara Bay and the long bridge over it, the famous Maracana Stadium, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.

The total height of the sculpture is 38 meters, taking into account the eight-meter pedestal, and the span of outstretched arms – 28 m. The statue of Christ the Redeemer weighs more than 1,000 tons, but despite this, from afar it looks elegant. Every year almost 2 million tourists visit the monument.

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Video: Statue of Christ the Redeemer (Views, reconstruction, inside)

Creation History

The name Corcovado means “Humpback Mountain,” “Hunchback.” The hill got it for the shape of its summit, which is the highest point of the area. The idea of building a grandiose sculpture of Christ here dates back to 1859, but at the time its implementation was impossible, despite the entreaties of church figures – the country simply lacked funds. The decision was postponed until better times. In 1884 the construction of a small railroad that led to the top of Corcovado was completed.

Construction of the statue of Christ the Redeemer

In 1921, when the idea of the monument was again recalled, it was on these tracks that materials were brought in. A year before the celebration of the centennial of Brazil’s independence from Portugal, Rio’s Catholic organizations still initiated the construction of the statue. Such a sculpture was supposed to be a symbol of national liberation and Christianity in general.

However, no money was allocated from the state treasury, so during the so-called “Monument Week” charitable donations were collected from the citizens. The latter liked the idea of erecting the monument, and more than 2.5 million reals were collected in a short period. Large donations were also made by the church community.

The stairs leading up to the statue

The artist Carlos Oswald was the author of the first sketch. It was he who came up with the idea of constructing a sculpture with outstretched arms, which from a distance would resemble a large cross. This gesture means “All is in God’s hands” and is also a symbol of blessing. Originally, according to the design, the figure of Christ stood on a spherical pedestal, stylized by the Earth. However, it was very difficult to make such a large, stable structure, so engineer Hector de Silva Costa changed the base to a rectangular one, which was erected.

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It was planned to complete construction in a year, but because of the scale of the work dragged on for 9 years, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer was not unveiled until 1931. For technical reasons it was impossible to produce such a large sculpture in Brazil at that time, so the steel frame and other details were made in France. The main materials were reinforced concrete and soapstone (talcochlorite). Interestingly, the final modeling of the hands and head of Jesus was done by a French rather than a Brazilian specialist, Paul Landowski.

The finished parts were transported to Rio and taken by train to the top of the mountain where they were assembled. In 1931 the statue was solemnly presented to the citizens. The first consecration was held on the opening day, and the re-consecration in 1965 by Pope Paul VI. At the same time was installed illumination.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

Interesting facts

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is the tallest object in the whole area, so every year it repeatedly becomes a victim of lightning strikes. The local diocese even keeps a supply of facing talcochlorite in case urgent repairs are needed. However, since 2010, when the monument was equipped with new lightning rods, not a single serious lightning strike has been reported.

The hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio

Interestingly, during the installation of this grounding, the sculpture was attacked by vandals for the only time in its history. They climbed the scaffolding at night and painted the face and hands of Christ with black paint. The vandalism was swiftly removed by the construction crew.

The fact that lightning has not seriously damaged the statue in so many years is attributed by believers to the peculiar holiness of the place. However, scientists are more skeptical, because the soapstone is a good dielectric, capable of almost instantly quenching even a very strong discharge. Numerous photos show impressive moments of lightning striking the sculpture, which, however, did not cause its damage.

The train, which brings most tourists, does not go to the sculpture – you have to walk from the car to the observation deck. There leads a winding steep staircase of 220 steps. This structure was nicknamed “Karakol”, which means “Snail”. Since 2003, travelers have been able to use the escalator to visit the viewing terrace.

Silhouette of the statue at sunset Statue of Christ the Redeemer at night

In 2007, the monument was included in the list of Seven Wonders of the Modern World by national vote.

Beneath the statue of Christ the Redeemer is a small church where services, baptisms, and weddings are regularly held. The Catholic chapel can accommodate up to 100 people. A souvenir store is located nearby.

Wherever you go in Rio, the statue will be visible from anywhere in the city, so it’s easy to use the monument as a landmark. The modern illumination at night creates a stunning effect: it seems that the light comes from within the figure and Christ is hovering over the sleeping city, blessing it.

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For many travelers and locals, the sculpture is not only a tourist attraction, but also a Christian shrine. There is a belief that by climbing the stairs a person is purified, and by the time he visits the top he is forgiven of his sins. Nevertheless, an escalator was still installed here for the elderly and those with special physical needs or poor health.

At the foot of the statue Airplanes in front of the statue The face of the Christ the Redeemer

Doppelgangers of the Redeemer

After this statue was erected, similar monuments began to appear around the world:

  • Christ the King, Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Jesus with outstretched arms, Vungtau (Vietnam);
  • Sculpture of the Savior, Monado (Indonesia, Sulawesi Island);
  • Monument in Dili (East Timor);
  • Similar statues exist in Honduras, Malta, Italy, and Dominica.

These figures differ from each other in detail, but the overall composition and pose remain the same. Some of the sculptures are even mounted underwater, which gives them a mysterious and mystical feel.

Christ the King, Lisbon Jesus with outstretched arms, Vungtau Christ sculpture in Dili

How to get there

To visit the Christ the Redeemer statue, you have to drive to the foot of Mount Corcovado. From there, a small electric train leaves and takes you directly to the route. On the way it will make several stops where everyone can buy, for example, water, which is sold by enterprising locals.

You can also get here by road, using the services of a rental car or cab. Either way, you will pass through the picturesque Tijuca Park. This is the world’s largest wooded area within the city limits. Local exotic varieties of plants grow here and the fauna is richly represented.

Electric train going to Corcovado Mountain Tourists at the observation point

Cost and order of visit

The price of a train ticket is about 51 reais. Do not forget to take money for souvenirs, although they are quite expensive at the Corcovado lookouts. The cost of the shuttle down is already included in the price of the ticket. It will need to be presented twice, so it is highly recommended to keep the travel document intact until the end of the trip. From the train or car you will have to walk down the Ulitka or use the escalator.

The electric train runs every 20 minutes from 8:30 to 18:30. To see the site, it is desirable to choose a morning on a clear day. This way you can avoid the midday heat and meet a lot of other tourists while enjoying the panoramic view of Rio.

If you wish you can order a helicopter tour to the monument and admire it from a bird’s eye view. The cost of the helicopter tour is about 150 dollars.

The official address is Parque Nacional da Tijuca – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The working time is from 8.00 to 19.00.

When going on a trip to Brazil, you should definitely visit this famous monument. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is stunning in scale and beauty, and the top of Corcovado offers a magnificent view of the city.

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