Cristo Redentor

Corcovado parted the sky
And through the darkness
On us he shined
Crucified in stone
Still his blood is my own
Glory behold all my eyes have seen
I am blessed

These lines from the Ben Harper song “Blessed to be a Witness” aptly sum up what many feel about the statue of Christ the Redeemer, sitting atop Corcovado 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city.

Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer or Cristo Redentor as known in Portuguese, was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

The largest art deco statue in the world, it is 130 ft (39 m) tall and the arms measure 98 ft (30 m) across. The statue, made of reinforced concrete clad in a mosaic of thousands of triangular soapstone tiles, sits on a square stone pedestal base about 26 feet (8 metres) high, which itself is situated on a deck atop the mountain’s summit. The statue, unveiled in 1931, is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world and is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most recognizable landmarks.

In the 1850s the Vincentian priest Pedro Maria Boss suggested placing a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado to honour Isabel, princess regent of Brazil and the daughter of Emperor Pedro II, although the project was never approved. In 1921 the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro proposed that a statue of Christ be built on the 2,310-foot (704-metre) summit, which, because of its commanding height, would make it visible from anywhere in Rio. Citizens petitioned Pres. Epitácio Pessoa to allow the construction of the statue on Mount Corcovado.

Permission was granted, and the foundation stone of the base was ceremonially laid on April 4, 1922—to commemorate the centennial on that day of Brazil’s independence from Portugal—although the monument’s final design had not yet been chosen. That same year a competition was held to find a designer, and the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen on the basis of his sketches of a figure of Christ holding a cross in his right hand and the world in his left. In collaboration with Brazilian artist Carlos Oswald, Silva Costa later amended the plan; Oswald has been credited with the idea for the figure’s standing pose with arms spread wide. The French sculptor Paul Landowski, who collaborated with Silva Costa on the final design, has been credited as the primary designer of the figure’s head and hands. Funds were raised privately, principally by the church. Under Silva Costa’s supervision, construction began in 1926 and continued for five years. During that time materials and workers were transported to the summit via railway.

After its completion, the statue was dedicated on October 12, 1931. Over the years it has undergone periodic repairs and renovations, including a thorough cleaning in 1980, in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Brazil that year, and a major project in 2010, when the surface was repaired and refurbished. Escalators and panoramic elevators were added beginning in 2002; previously, in order to reach the statue itself, tourists climbed more than 200 steps as the last stage of the trip. In 2006, to mark the statue’s 75th anniversary, a chapel at its base was consecrated to Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil.

On a clear day the views from the base of the statue are fantastic. At night the statue is lit up and seemingly hovers over the city as the mountain it stands on is dark. If it is cloudy the clouds light up and the effect can be quite spectacular and ethereal.

To reach the statue take the cog train to the top of Corcovado. The train offers some spectacular views. Taxis can be a great way to visit the statue and if there is more than one of you it should be easy to negotiate the fee, for a return trip and waiting time, which will work out cheaper than the cog train.

Even though the statue of Christ the Redeemer is the main pull behind visiting Rio de Janeiro, there are many attractions to explore in the city. Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), is exhilarating. Flanked by gorgeous mountains, white-sand beaches and lush rainforests fronting deep blue sea, Rio occupies one of the most spectacular settings of any metropolis in the world. With the seductive sounds of samba as their rallying cry, Rio’s residents, known as cariocas, have perfected the art of living well.

So if breathtaking scenery, serene beaches and stunning vistas is your thing, then head straight to Brazil. You would surely have the time of your life!!!

Team Veena world