Statue of Christ Redeemer: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Statue of Christ Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer (Portuguese: O Cristo Redentor) is the name given to the large statue of Christ overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the top of Corcovado Mountain where it is located. Single religious monument in its infancy, it has become over the years of internationally recognized symbols of the city, like Sugar Loaf, Copacabana beach or the carnival in Rio.

Historic monument since 1973, the Christ of Corcovado is one of the most popular tourist Rio with 600 000 visitors per year.

Headquartered in the heart of National Park of Tijuca forest, at an altitude of 710 meters, the statue measuring 38 meters high (including 30 for the character and 8 for the pedestal, which occupies an area of 100 square meters). Its weight is 1 145 tons, the approximate weight of the head is 30 tons and that of each hand of 8 tons. The head position 3.75 m, 3.20 m each hand, the width of the tunic is 8.50 m. The scale between the two hands is 28 meters.

These dimensions make it one of the largest statues in the world. Only Christ de la Concorde in Cochabamba in Bolivia, is greater, with 40.44 m in height (including the character to 34.20 and 6.24 for the pedestal).

Christ the Redeemer at its base has a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora Aparecida, which are celebrated weddings and christenings.

For amusing anecdote, the inhabitants of Sao Paulo saying that he has the arms outstretched to cheer cariocas working.

The site
The view from the site exerts a fascination on the first Portuguese settlers, who christened Mount Pinaculo da TentaƧao (Pinnacle of Temptation) in the sixteenth century, before being renamed Corcovado ( "Hunchback" in Portuguese) a century later. The road that leads to its summit was built in 1824. The railway line of the Corcovado from the Cosme Velho station, turn is inaugurated on 9 October 1884 by Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. Length of 3 824 meters, it is the first country to be built exclusively for tourism. The train, older than the statue itself, will carry over the five years of the parts needed for its construction. In 1910, the line is the first in Brazil to be electrified, and the old steam trains were replaced by electric machines.

A first draft
The idea of building a religious monument on top of Corcovado was first suggested in 1859 by Lazarists father Pedro Maria Boss. Upon arrival in Rio, he is seduced by the place and asked the princess Isabelle of Brazil to provide the necessary means to implement his plan, but in agreement with the morals of the Catholic monarchy d 'then, the project remains unanswered. The Republic is proclaimed, the principle of separation of church and state adopted.

The choice
It was not until 1921 that the idea is repeated in the context of the commemoration of the centenary of the Independence of Brazil the following year. The Church wishes to take this opportunity to reassert its influence in the country. The first idea is to make a statue of Christ in bronze, and exposed to the summit of Sugar Loaf. The Assembly to discuss the doubts and made other proposals, including suggesting two other possible locations: Mount de Santo Antonio and Corcovado. The latter was finally chosen because of its higher elevation.

The team
The project selected in 1923 after a competition is the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa. He went to Europe to perform final design and to study problems related to construction. He meets the french sculptor Paul Landowski, to whom he entrusted the project. Meanwhile, a fund-raising campaign is conducted, mainly Catholics from donors, but donations are slow to arrive. Furthermore, the model is subject to various changes, explaining a certain delay in the work.

The realization
The first stone was actually laid on 4 April 1922, but the work really begins in 1926. In 1928, a commission reviewing the project. The metal is replaced by a reinforced concrete structure produced by the french engineer Albert Caquot and the statue is redesigned to take the form of a cross. Several materials are considered for the coating, before the choice is soapstone covers, soft rock, but very durable and does not crack under the effect of temperature variations.

The opening
The inauguration ceremony was finally held on 12 October 1931, in the presence of the cardinal Dom Sebastiao Leme and the head of the provisional government, Getulio Vargas. At the initiative of journalist Francisco de Assis Chateaubriand, the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi was invited to the first illumination of the monument from Naples, where it emits an electrical signal to a receiving station in Dorchester, England, which redirects to an antenna located in the district Jacarepagua Rio. Bad weather prevented the maneuver, and the illumination is triggered locally, without the brilliant start of the ceremony. The lighting system will be replaced twice thereafter, in 1932 and 2000.

The speech of consecration of the monument, made by the cardinal Dom SebastiĆ£o Leme, leaves no doubt as to the objectives of such a monument: evangelization and resumption of the power of the Church in a republican State. "This sacred image is the symbol of your life, for your protection, your choice, your blessing that shines on Brazil and Brazilians." That day, the Brazilian Bishops and more than five hundred priests seek the beatification of small french Guy de Fontgalland, who died in 1925 at the age of eleven years.

The monument is the subject of some dissatisfaction from other religious organizations, including Protestant, 1923. But over time it has become unanimous, representing less than a religious symbol of the city icon.

Following work
Passed under the responsibility of the Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage National in 1937, the monument is undergoing work in 1980 on the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II, and again in 1990. Other important works are carried out in 2003 with the implementation of an escalator and a panoramic lift, easy access to the monument.

New Seven Wonders
Christ the Redeemer are protected by rights held by Miter Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Mitra Arquiepiscopal do Rio de Janeiro). It is located on public property, managed by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis).

On 7 July 2007, this monument has been chosen as one of the seven new wonders of the world by over 100 million Internet users, following a vote held by the New Seven Wonders Foundation, linked to the New Open World Corporation, and whose results were announced in Lisbon. UNESCO said in a statement that it has no connection with this event.

Read also Christmas Market


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