Facts About Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

Christ the Redeemer (statue) is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is located at the top of Corcovado Mountain. The entire monument of statue of Christ the Redeemer is 38m high with the statue accounting for 30m and overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the tallest statues in the world; the span from finger tip to fingertip is 28m and there is a small chapel housed in the base.

The idea behind the statue was first proposed in the mid 1850's when a Catholic Priest by the name of Pedro Maria Boss requested the finance to build a religious monument in the city, Although he lived in Rio de Janeiro most of his life, he died several years before the statue began being built. However, the idea was dismissed and the monument was never built. In 1921 a monument was proposed again by the Catholic Circle of Rio. They appealed to the public for support and donations to have something built to represent the religious strength in the country.

The overall design of the statue was created by a local designer; however, a French sculptor was commissioned to sculpt the Christ the Redeemer. The overall cost of the statue was the equivalent of $250,000 today. In 1980 Pope John Paul II was scheduled to visit the Rio de Janeiro statue and major restoration work was undertaken. In 2003 escalators and elevators were built, to allow people to gain easier access to the viewing platform.

A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowski's submissions and felt building the structure of reinforced concrete (designed by Albert Caquot) instead of steel was more suitable for the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers are soapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities and ease of use. Construction took nine years, from 1922 to 1931 and cost the equivalent of US$250,000 (equivalent to $3,300,000 in 2015) and the monument opened on October 12, 1931.

Christ the Redeemer is one of the largest art deco statue in the world. It is 98 feet tall (not including the 26 foot pedestal), and the arms stretch to 92 feet wide. The statue weighs approximately 635 tonnes.

Christ the Redeemer is located in the Tijuca Forest National Forest, at the top of the Corcovado Mountain. The statue is considered an icon of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro was the tallest in the world when it was built in 1931. Since then many other Jesus statues have been built. Nowadays (2013), there are two other statues of Christ bigger than Christ the Redeemer statue, which are Christ of Peace (Cochabamba, BolĂ­via) only 2 meters higher and Christ the King (Swiebodzin, Poland) 13 meters higher.

There were several designs to choose from. One was a depiction of the Christian cross. Another was a statue of Jesus holding a globe, while standing over a pedestal that was to symbolize the world.

The chosen statue is meant to show that Christ loves all and will embrace all that come to him. The stones that were used to build Christ the Redeemer came from Sweden.

The statue had to be constructed in pieces and carried to the mountain top to be erected. The materials used to build Christ the Redeemer were reinforced concrete and soapstone. The right arm points to south Rio de Janeiro and the left arm points to north Rio de Janeiro.

In 2008 forceful lightning struck the monument causing damage to the fingers, eyebrows and head. Work was undertaken to restore these points on the statue, and some of the soapstone was removed and replaced.

The statue is renovated every few years, as it is exposed to sun, wind, rain, dust, and lighting. The last renovation, which took three months, was in 2010. Visitors could go up to the top of Corcovado Mountain, but the statue was enclosed in scaffoldings during most of the renovation period.

Tens of thousands of tourists every year get to the summit of Corcovado Mountain to see the statue, but see nothing but clouds. A cloud cover may prevent you from seeing Christ the Redeemer Statue right in front of you! Besides, depending on the density of the cloud you may not see Rio de Janeiro either. The best time to visit the Christ the Redeemer statue is late afternoon or evening when you can enjoy the splendour of the setting sun while taking in one of the most important landmarks in the world.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer can be accessed by the 2.4 meter Corcovado Railway that has the capacity to hold 360 passengers every hour. The trip by rail is approximately 20 minutes and leaves the base each half hour. From the road or the train terminal Christ the Redeemer statue is reached by 222 steps. For those not wishing to make the arduous trek up the mountain, reaching the statue is possible by escalators and elevators. 

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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