Christ the Redeemer
By: Lindsay Boatwright
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is probably one of the most recognized images of Brazil . It is located in Rio de Janeiro on the top of the Corcovado Mountain . Overlooking the city, it probably has one of the best views that can be found of Rio . The statue is currently 72 years old and has gone under several extensive renovations, which included adding an elevator in 2002.
The statue was first conceived in 1921 when a campaign to gather funds from the Catholic Church was held. The idea for the statue came when the country was to celebrate 100 years of independence. Donations were not received to build the statue until about ten years later. The first person commissioned to design the statue was Carlos Oswaldo. His vision for the statue was for Christ to be carrying a cross, holding a globe in his hands, and standing over a pedestal that was supposed to represent the world. Later, the public of Rio thought that Christ with open arms would be the best representation of the city. Building for the statue began in 1926 and was completed in 1931, five years later. The statue was not sculpted in Brazil ; it was instead sculpted in France by a sculptor whose name was Paul Landowski. The pieces of the stature were then shipped over to Brazil where they were taken up to the top of the Corcovado Mountain by train and assembled. The pieces were made out of soapstone. This material was chosen because of its resistance to weather and cracking. The statue, when completed, became the largest art deco monument in the world.
When choosing the site of the statue, several spots where brought up, including Sugarloaf Mountain and the Corcovado Mountain . The Corcovado Mountain ended up being the resting place for the statue because of its view of the city of Rio and because of its height. The Corcovado Mountain provided a more pleasing view of the entire city and it was a good bit taller than Sugarloaf, making the statue the tallest structure in Rio .
The view from the top of the statue is the best view of Rio de Janeiro hands down. There is a 360 degree view of the entire city. Not only do you see the three famous beaches, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon, you also see landmarks such as the Jockey Club, the Maracana Stadium, and the Botanical Gardens. The view from the top is not the best thing about the statue although. The ride up and down the Corcovado Mountain is by far the best part of going to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Riding up the mountain through the Atlantic rainforest was amazing. This rainforest is not like the ones you will find in the Amazon or in other countries such as Costa Rica . When riding down from the statue, make sure that you stop and see the waterfalls on the side of the mountain. Also stop and take in the view from a different part of the mountain other than the top.
If you want to do something different from the rest of the tourists, try riding a bike or taking a jog up the mountain. This is a popular pastime for many of the people who live in Rio . While riding up the mountain, you will see many people biking or running on the road. Another popular thing to do after seeing the statue of Christ the Redeemer is to go parasailing. This is another great way to get a completely different view of Rio . This way you're looking at the city from a bird's eye view. As long as you're not afraid of heights or have a fear of falling, this is probably one of the best ways to see the city.
If you don't have much time, the one thing that you should see is the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of the Corcovado Mountain . This is definitely one sight in Rio that should not be missed. Missing this would be missing one of the things that makes Rio, Rio . Not only is it a great view, but it can also be a spiritual experience for most anybody regardless of their affiliation. There is also so much history behind the statue that it would be a shame for anyone to miss.
Projeto Cristo Redentor. (2003). History. Retrieved February 14, 2004 from http://www.corcovado.org.br/
Picture courtesy of : Projeto Cristo Redentor at http://www.corcovado.org.br/
Corrosion Doctors. (2004). Christ the Redeemer of the Open Arms. Retrieved February 14, 2003 from http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Landmarks/christ-history.htm