It is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. It is approximately 40 meters tall and stands upon the peak of the 700 meter Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. It was chosen for its biblical presence over the city. It is a symbol of Christianity in Rio de Janeiro and all of Brazil. It is the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The idea for the statue actually goes back to the mid 1850’s. Princess Isabel however did not wish to give funding for the project. Finally the church received enough donations after a petition in 1921 to begin construction with a little help from the Vatican in Rome.
Carlos Oswaldo was the first to come up with rough sketches of the statue. Although many designs were presented, they finally decided on the Christ the redeemer with open arms. A local named Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue. Paul Lndowski, a French sculptor, was commissioned to actually create the statue. After careful review, it was decided that the statue should be constructed of reinforced concrete instead of steel to make it stronger. After nine years of construction the statue was finally unveiled on December 11, 1931. Construction in total ended up costing about 250.000$ US which in today’s terms would be the equivalent of just over $3 million. The left arm of the statue points to the north zone of Rio de Janeiro and the right arm of the statue points to the south zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Since then the statue has stood as symbol of faith, trust, and protection. It was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. In 2008 it suffered its first blow when it was struck by lightening during an electrical storm. Restoration processes have kept it in excellent condition. Today there are even weddings and baptisms performed at the statue.
Climbing to this statue is no easy task. So a railway built in 1885 is used to transport tourists up the 2.3 mile trek, about a 20 minute ride, through the green mountains and viewing the beautiful landscape of Brazil. Then you must climb the 220 steps to finally reach the statue. You can always take the escalator of course.
The statue is also a favorite in the media. It has been showcased in several movies, including the Twilight Saga, Angry Birds, Rio, and the film 2012 where it was destroyed. Some people were a bit upset after seeing billboards of the movie 2012 which depicted scenes from the movie where the statue was destroyed.
Today the statue is one of the most famous images in the world and a part of the Catholic faith. At night the statue is lit up to watch over everyone in the city of Rio de Janeiro. It remains today the tallest religious statue in the world to show to the world that Christ loves all.