RIO'S MOST FAMOUS LANDMARK
Towering 2,310 feet above the city of Rio de Janerio, the Christ the Redeemer statue standing with arms wide open on Corcovado Mountain is Brazil's most recognizable landmark.
Cristo Redentor, as it’s known in its native Portuguese is the fourth largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world and the largest Art Deco-style sculpture on the planet. In 2007 the statue was deemed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World along with Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China and the Roman Colosseum.
Perched on the summit of Mount Corcovado in Rio, the statue stands at a whopping 98 feet (or 30 metres) tall making it two-thirds the height of New York's Statue of Liberty, and its outstretched arms reach to 92 feet (or 28 metres) horizontally.
Not only is the statue the most recognizable landmark of Rio, it's become a cultural icon of Brazil as well. But most importantly, however, the statue has become a global symbol of Christianity that attracts millions of believers and non-believers to the top of Mount Corcovado every year.
The statues origins began when 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.
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. 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.
Christ the Redeemer was not actually built in Brazil. It was first made in France by French sculptor Paul Landowski who created the statue in clay pieces. These were then shipped to Brazil to be remade with reinforced concrete by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot. The statue took 9-years to complete and was finished on October 12, 1931 costing $250,000 in today's money that would equate to$3.2 milllion.