By Kelly Wise Valdes
Completed in 1931, the Christ Redeemer statue (also known as Cristo Redentor) is an amazing monument that draws nearly 5,000 visitors daily and overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Designed in the art deco style of the times, the statue of Jesus is sleek in form, flanked with robes and strong lines. The statue sits high on top of the Corcovado mountain overlooking the city.
The Christ Redeemer statue has been a considered a strong symbol of faith that stands approximately 12 stories tall. Designed by Brazilian Heitor da Silva Costa and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski, it is one of the world’s best-known monuments and the largest art deco monument in the world. It is also the fifth largest statue of Jesus in the world. The statue took almost nine years to construct and was inaugurated on October 12, 1931.
One of the interesting aspects of this monument is that Christ takes the form of man, designed with human proportions, but the mere size of the form evokes the largeness of Jesus. From a distance, the statue appears as a cross in the sky, symbolizing the crucifixion.
The engineering aspect of this structure is astounding. Construction on top of a steep mountain was an accomplishment similar to engineering the historic skyscrapers being built at the time in Chicago and New York City.
The structure is made of reinforced concrete instead of steel, more suitable for the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers are soapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities. Construction took place from 1922 to 1931 and cost the equivalent of $3,300,000 in today’s dollars. In 2007, the Christ Redeemer statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In 2010, a massive restoration of the statue was undertaken. The statue was washed, the mortar and soapstone that cover the statue were replaced, the internal structure of iron was restored and the monument was made waterproof.
Over 1,800,000 people visit the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro each year. Visitors can reach the statue in three different ways; by tram, by car or by foot. The most accessible way to get there is the twenty-minute tram ride that winds through the Tijuca forest and up to summit. Visit www.sacred-destinations.com/brazil/rio-christ-the-redeemer.