10 Interesting Facts About Christ the Redeemer

10 Interesting Facts About Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) does, of course, refer to the iconic statue majestically standing atop Corcovado Mountain and overlooking the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro. Comprising a symbol of the city, it also features amongst the New 7 Wonders of the World (2007), and has long been a major source of inspiration for countless artists. However, there are many things which we do not know about this famous monument in Rio, which you can discover with our 10 interesting facts about Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy!

Did you know....

1. Original plans for the statue included a cross, Jesus holding a globe and Jesus standing on a globe. However, the winning choice was local engineer Heitor da Silva's design featuring Jesus with wide open arms, symbolising peace. It was carved by French-Polish sculptor Paul Landowski. 

2. Construction of the statue started in 1922 and was completed in 1931, taking a total of 9 years to build. It comprises the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the fifth largest statue of Jesus in the world. 

3. The Catholic community of Brazil donated the funds to build Christ the Redeemer, corresponding to $250,000 ($3,200,000 today). 

4. Christ the Redeemer stands a total 38 metres tall (including the pedestal) and weighs 635 tons (625 long and 700 short tons). Reinforced concrete and soapstone was used to build the statue which was constructed from the head down.

christ the redeemer

5. The statue stands on the summit of Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, part of the Atlantic Forest. The left arm points to Rio's North Zone and the right to the South Zone. Stunning views of Ipanema, the Macarana Soccer Stadium and Serra do Órgãos mountain range can be enjoyed from the top.

6. The Corcovado rack railway was inaugurated in 1884 by Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II and used to transport the statue, piece by piece, to the mountain top. It comprises the oldest tourist excursion in the country and is run on electric power thus, reducing contamination to the surrounding environment. 

rail rack

7. In 2008, Christ the Redeemer was struck by lightning during a violent electrical storm. Thanks to the soapstone on the statue, which acted as an insulator, minimal damaged occurred. However,  the fingers, eyebrows and lips did suffer damage.

8. In celebration of Christ the Redeemer's 75th birthday in 2006, the chapel located inside the pedestal was consecrated by Archbishop of Rio, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid. Named after the patron saint of Brazil, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the chapel can now host Catholic baptisms and weddings. 

9. As a means of promoting the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, in 2012 the Brazilian Government wanted to build a giant replica of the Rio icon near the summit of Primrose Hill in London.

10. Finally, the statue has been undergoing gradual renovations. In 2000, Christ the Redeemer gained a new lighting system whilst escalators and elevators, facilitating access to the pedestal, were installed in 2002. 

During your next trip to Rio de Janeiro with WhereInRio, a visit to this monumental statue is a must. Further information on timetables and access to Christ the Redeemer is available on the Corcovado Website. Enjoy!