Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil
GPS: -22.951711522038, -43.210360271987
Erected at the top of Corcovado Mountain at 720 metres above sea level, in the heart of the Tijuca Forest National Park, Christ the Redeemer is an obligatory stop on any stay in Rio de Janeiro. Its position overlooking the Brazilian city and its monumental dimensions make it one of the largest statues representing the Christ in the world. The location of the monument is not chosen by chance. From its position, the statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor in Portuguese) is visible to the vast majority of the Cariocas, the inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
At a height of 38 meters including its pedestal (30 meters without it), Christ the Redeemer quickly became the uncontested icon of the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro as well as the emblem of the nation. The statue alone symbolizes peace and Christianity in Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world. It was the Vincentian priest Pedro Maria Boss who unsuccessfully proposed to Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, to build such a statue in the 1850s. And it was only in 1920, after the separation of Church and State, that a petition launched by the Catholic Circle of Rio led to the construction of Christ the Redeemer. The Art Deco style monument is the work of the Brazilian architect and engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and the French sculptor Paul Landowski, both assisted by the Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida and the French engineer Albert Caquot. The building project was launched in 1921 under the aegis of the Diocese of Rio, which wanted to consolidate the influence of the Catholic Church in the country and celebrate the centenary of Brazil’s independence (which was declared in 1822 from Portugal).
The statue of Christ the Redeemer was completed in 1931 thanks to donations from the Brazilian Catholic community (representing over 100 million faithful at the time) and financial support from the Vatican. With a wingspan of 28 metres, it takes the form of a cross and represents the Christ embracing all those who come to him. Classified as a historical monument in 1973, the statue is today one of the most visited places in Brazil (750,000 visitors per year). From its pedestal, Christ the Redeemer offers a fantastic view of the famous Guanabara Bay, the cariocas beaches and the urban centre of Rio de Janeiro.