The statue of Christ the Redeemer stands at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain. Corcovado Mountain is located in the Carioca Mountain Range which lies in the southeast area of Brazil. When standing at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain and at the top of Christ the Redeemer statue, views include the city of Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain and the South Atlantic Ocean.
The idea of the statue of Christ the Redeemer began in the 1850’s from Pedro Maria Boss. Father Boss, along with the local Catholics, desired a monument placed upon the mountain to watch over the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Christ the Redeemer statue was chosen and the place was at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain. In order to begin creating this project, Father Boss needed funding. He approached Princess Isabel who, at the time, was the provisional head of state. Princess Isabel contemplated the project for a period of time before dismissing the creation of the statue, Christ the Redeemer. At this point, the project of building the statue was put on hold. After 1870, when Emperor Pedro II (Princess Isabel’s father) returned from the Paraguayan War, no further mention was made Christ the Redeemer statue until early in the twentieth century.
In 1921, the idea of the statue was brought up again by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro. The funding for the statue was to come from donations of the many Catholics living in Brazil. The Archdiocese designated one week for the Semana do Monumento or Monument Week in which to acquire donations and pledges for the building of the statue. Enough funding was acquired to begin the building and continued to flow in until completion.
A Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, is credited with designing the statue. He also is named as the engineer of the project. A French-Polish sculptor, Paul Landowski, was chosen to craft the statue. Together, Costa and Landowski began building the statue in 1926. It was completed in 1931. A ceremony dedicating the statue was held on October 12, 1931, the day of Our Lady of Aparecida.
Materials used on the statue include reinforced concrete for the inner framework and soapstone for the outer layers. The entire Christ the Redeemer statue is measured at approximately 124 feet tall (38 meters) and approximately 92 feet (28 meters) wide from fingertip to fingertip. The statue alone is approximately 93 feet tall (28.5 meters) and the pedestal stands at approximately 31 feet (9.5 meters).
The trip to the base of the statue can be completed either by vehicle or rail. After arriving at the base of the statue, access to the top is by walking over 200 steps or by the recent addition of escalators.
A new addition to the statue is the chapel which is located in the base of the statue. It was built to commemorate the statue’s 75th anniversary. Catholic ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings are held there. The chapel seats 150 people.
On July 7, 2007, the Swiss based organization, The New Open World Corporation, recognized the Christ the Redeemer statue as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. On February 12, 2008, Christ the Redeemer statue was struck by lightning. There was a minor amount of damage to the statue itself. The lightning rods also needed repair.
quick facts & figures
Construction Start: 1922
Construction Ended: 1931
Annual Tourism: 300,000