The most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro is the statue of Lord Jesus Christ known as “Christ the Redeemer”. This is the largest Art Deco in the whole world. The height of the statue is 98 feet (30 meters) apart from the 8 meter tall pedestal around it. The arms of the statue are 28 meters wide. The total statue weighs exactly 635 tones. The statue is visible from every part of the city because it stands on the Corcovado mountain of the Tijuca Forest National Park which itself is 2300 feet (700 meters) tall. The right arm of the statue of Christ points towards the south of the Rio de Janeiro city, while the left arm points towards the north of the Rio de Janeiro city. The statue is a sacred symbol of the Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. The statue was made using the soap stone and reinforced concrete and the construction started in the year 1922 and continued till 1931 when the statue was complete without any mistakes and stood on the mountain in perfect shape. Catholics are also allowed to hold weddings and baptism ceremony at the chapel made during the 75th anniversary of the construction of this statue.
The statue was created based on the idea of a Catholic priest named Pedro Maria Boss somewhere in the mid-1850s. The priest requested financial funding from the Princess Isabel who dismissed this idea of building enormously large religious monument in 1889. This year, Brazil became a republic and laws made it mandatory to separate Church from the state. Then later in 1920, another suggestion to make such a landmark on the mountain was proposed by the Rio’s Catholic Circle. They were damn serious about this proposal and organized an event for collection of donations and support in the form of signatures and the event was named Semana Do Monumento which in English means Monument Week. Many Brazilian Catholics made donations and many design proposals were made including the statue of ‘Christ with a Globe’, ‘the Christian Cross’, etc. Out of all, as a symbol of peace, they selected ‘the Christ the Redeemer’ which is a statue where Christ has open arms.
This statue was designed by the local engineer named Heitor da Silva Costa. The sculptor for this statue was Paul Landowski who was a Polish French. Many engineers and technicians studied the submissions of the sculptor before it was finalized. It took complete nine years to build this monument. The total cost of the whole construction process was $250,000(USD). The original concept was to put the floodlights but they could not out them because of the poor weather. The weather also created a problem in the year 2008. On 10th February, 2008, there was a very violent electric storm and the lightning struck the statue. The statue of Christ was damaged on the fingers, head as well as eyebrows. After this incident, the state government of Rio de Janeiro started the restoration process and replaced the other soap stone layers and also repaired the lightning rods which were previously installed on the statue. Recently, again the statue was struck by the storm lightning on 17th January, 2014. This time also the fingers were damaged but just on the right hand. The statue of Jesus needs periodic maintenance to save it from any rust and damage.
There was a restoration process taken in the year 1990. Then later in 2003 and 2010, there was more restoration work done on the statue. They added escalators to the status spot in 2003 along with elevators and walkways. The restoration work of 2010 was very much different than that of 2003. In 2003, they focused on the passage ways and platform around the statue, whereas the restoration work of 2010 was very much concerned with the statue itself. They changed the interior structure and the soapstone was renovated by removal of the fungi or other microorganisms. They repaired small and minute cracks in the structure. They repaired the rod of lightning which were added in the hands, arms and head of the statue. They also did the fixing of the lightning rods at the foot. The restoration process requires a lot of labor and money. It took more than a hundred people power and used 60,000 stones which were extracted from the same quarry which was used to make the original statue.
In the image you can see the view of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ with a background of Sugarloaf Mountain in the centre and Guanabara Bay. The statue is very famous and well known landmark of Brazil and the name is popular among many modern practices. The Statue of Christ the Redeemer has, therefore, appeared in many cultural works done in all over the world. It has appeared in many popular video games such as Driver 2, Tropico 3, Tropico 4, Civilization revolution, Civilization !V and V, Angry Birds Rio, Gangster Rio, etc. It has been shown in many videos, series and movies and popular TV shows. It has been seen in the MTV show- Viva La Bam, in Rio (animated movie), in the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 1, and many other movies and documentaries. The monument is very special to the Brazilians and is a symbol of their Christianity and a marker of peace. Every one must see the view from up there; it is a heavenly place in itself.