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Christ the Redeemer

christ redeemer views
Above left, a view of the statue standing high atop the Tujica Forest in Rio. At right, a close-up of
Christ's head (height:12 feet). Below: a 360-degree panorama from the base of the statue's pedestal.

Overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the idea for the 125-foot statue had its origins in 1921 to mark the centenary of Brazil's independence in 1922. Yet, it took almost a decade for the work to get underway.

So .... what took so long?

Political issues, such as separation of church-and-state, put the very idea of erection of the massive statue up for debate. But it was sheer willpower that eventually brought the project rising high above Rio. In fact, it was mainly thanks to a fervent Catholic population which wasn't taking no for an answer! Along with a steadfast desire to see the project completed, they also united to raise most of the funds for construction all by themselves.

Christ Redeemer Statue, Rio
Christ the Redeemer Fast Facts

• Erected in 1931, Cristo Redentor is made from soapstone and reinforced concrete. It stands 125 feet tall and weighs 1,000 tons.

• It is located atop the 2,330-foot Corcovado mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

• To visit, purchase tickets at the Cosme Velho station for a 20-minute scenic cog-train ride to the top (note: for the best view, sit on the right.)

• On arrival, take in breathtaking vistas of the bay, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

• Open daily 8:30AM - 7PM

In the initial design phase, preliminary sketches for Christ Redeemer included Christ carrying a cross, or holding a giant globe, But it was a depiction of Christ -- with outstretched arms welcoming all the people of the world (by Heitor de Silva Costa and Polish sculptor Paul Landowski) -- that gained final popular approval.

Today, visitors can't imagine it any other way.

Christ the Redeemer rises

Construction entailed hauling the statue in pieces, in a long and grueling trek up the summit of Corcovado mountain, as sections of the statue were carefully put in place.

Five years later -- and almost decade after it was first conceived -- Christ Redeemer could be seen rising majestically over the entire city. The statue was inaugurated amid much pomp and ceremony on October 12th, 1931.

Christ the Redeemer soon became one of the best known landmarks worldwide and almost immediately ranked right alongside the Statue of Liberty as a major sculptural colossus.

Visiting Christ the Redeemer

• Like most first-time visitors to Rio you will probably be awestruck by the enormity of the statue. No worries. It is easily accessed by car, taxi, or a 90-minute walk up the mountain (not recommended!)

• For the best means of transport, however, the special cog train that clickety-clacks up the mountain offers more spectacular views the steeper it climbs. NOTE: Train ticket purchase also includes admission to the statue.

• Don't miss the 222 steps up the pedestal, or ride aboard the recently-installed (and often crowded) elevator that eases the journey to the very top -- for the closest view possible of Christ the Redeemer.

More about the Christ Redeemer statue around the Web:

11 Facts about Christ the Redeemer

Wonders of the World

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