Christ the Redeemer Statue

The Christ the Redeemer Statue, or Cristo Redentor, in Brazil is a breathtaking and amazing sight. It's sheer size of this concrete and soapstone statue is enough to make you look upon it in wonder, but it is much more than just a statue to the Brazilian people. It's their way of welcoming visitors, friends, and family to their country with open arms. It's a symbol of peace.

Facts and Figures About the Statue

It's a challenge to get your mind around how big this statue really is, but perhaps some dimensions will help a little. The pedestal on which the statue stands is 31 feet high and the statue itself towers another 99 feet into the air, for a total of 130 feet high. The distance between Christ's outstretched hands is wider than the length of a helicopter at roughly 92 feet from fingertip to fingertip. It weighs an amazing 635 tonnes or 1,399,935.36 pounds.

Christ the Redeemer statue is perched on top of Corcovado Mountain, which overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of photographs have been taken of this incredible statue from every vantage point - all of them breathtaking.

The statue was constructed from concrete that is reinforced along with soapstone. Soapstone was chosen because it's easy to work with and easier to form than other durable materials.

Much to the Brazilian people's joy, the Christ statue was named one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the year 2007.

History of Christ the Redeemer Statue

The idea of building a religious monument was first thought of and mentioned by Father Pedro Maria Boss, a Catholic priest. During the middle of the 8150s, he made the suggestion to Princess Isabel who was in power at that time, but she didn't think much of it and it was not considered at all again in 1921.

In 1921, the Catholic Circle of Rio gathered signatures and financial donations toward the building of a religious monument on top of Corcovado Mountain. The first suggested design was one of Christ holding a globe in His hands.

The second suggested design was Christ on top of a pedestal with His arms outstretched to the sides. This was the design that was chosen and the one that the statue was modeled after. Some say that this design is a symbol of all the people in the world who follow Christianity.

Who Built It?

Heitor da Silva Costa was the designer of the statue. Paul Landowski was the sculptor of the statue. It was decided that the statue would be created from reinforced concrete and soapstone. Construction began in 1922 and lasted until 1931. The monument was dedicated on October 12, 1931 to the Brazilian people and the country of Brazil.

Events That Affected the Statue Since 1931

  • 1980s - restoration began on the statue and continued over the next two decades

  • Year 2000 - new lighting installed on the statue

  • 2002 - escalators and elevators were installed

  • 2006 - Chapel was built to accommodate 150 visitors at the base of Corcovado Mountain. Chapel was consecrated by Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, the Archbishop of Rio - once the chapel was consecrated, Catholics were permitted to have celebratory events like weddings and baptisms at the chapel.

  • 2008 - the statue was damaged by lightning - repairs were made and in addition, lighting rods were installed at the same time

  • 2009 - the National Heritage Institute declared the Christ statue a protected monument

  • 2010 - Paulo Souza dos Santos desecrated the statue's right arm and part of the head with graffiti

How Do People View the Christ the Redeemer Statue?

People who visit the city of Rio de Janeiro see the statue as a huge welcome from the city of Rio and the country of Brazil. Most people know that the majority of the people who live in Brazil are Catholic, so seeing Christ with his arms outstretched seems perfectly natural, as if He were on the Cross.

Thousands of photographs have been taken of this breathtaking statue. Looking at the photos from the photographers' points of view, one could surmise that there are feelings of awe, inspiration, wonder, and keen interest when people look upon the statue of Christ.

Fun Facts About the Statue

Back in 1931, the cost to build the statue was $250,000. If the same statue was built today, in 2011, the cost would be just under 3.1 million dollars!

Between tourists and local people, there are over 300,000 visitors to the statue every year. Located in the Tijuca National Park, it's a natural stop along the way, especially if you're hiking one of the many trails within the park surrounding the statue.

The Christ statue has been labeled one of the world's largest art deco pieces and the largest art deco statue. It's one of the most visited places in South America.

While standing at the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue, you will enjoy an amazing view of not only Rio de Janeiro, but also of the Botanical Gardens, Copacabana, Botofogo, Ipanema, Flamengo, and Leblon. The views of both the statue and the surrounding landscapes are well worth the 20 or so minute ride on the train to get up to the base of the statue.

It is said by some that the best time to view the statue is early morning or just before darkness falls. Still others say you can enjoy a fantastic view from the city below, depending on which view intrigues you the most. Either way, if you have a chance, you should definitely visit the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil!

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