Located atop the Corcovado Mountain on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is one the most recognizable and largest pieces of art deco in the world. In 2007 it was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
The idea for erecting a statue atop the Corcovado Mountain had been floating around for quite some time but finally came to fruition in 1920 when the Catholic Circle of Rio circulated a petition and began raising funds for its construction. They then solicited ideas for the design of the statue and many were taken into consideration. Soon, the field was narrowed down to two choices. One was of Jesus atop a pedestal holding a globe in his hands and the other one (which was eventually chosen) was of Jesus, also atop a pedestal with his arms spread open in a gesture of welcoming and peace.
A local engineer by the name of Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen to design the statue and it was eventually sculpted by the French/Polish sculptor Paul Landowski. The statue was made out of soapstone and reinforced concrete due to their resistance to extreme weather and heat. The planning stages began in 1922 and the actual construction began in 1926 and was completed in 1931. It was dedicated on October 12th of that year.
The total cost of the statue in 1931 was $250,000 USD which equated to around $3.3 million dollars in 2014. Pretty damn cheap if you ask me.
The statue itself stands 98 feet (30 meters) tall and with the arms outstretched is 92 feet (28 meters) wide.
The pedestal it sits upon adds another 26 feet (8 meters) making the statue stand 124 feet (38 meters) atop the mountain which itself stands at 2,300 feet (700 meters)
It weighs in at 700 tons or around 14,248,000 pounds
Has it ever been hit by lightning?
It seems even Jesus Christ himself is not immune to the forces of nature and the statue has been hit by lightening many times over the years. The most damaging incident occurred in 2008 when a bolt caused damage to the statues fingers, eyebrows and head all of which had to be restored. All of the stone used in the restoration was taken from the same quarry used in the original construction.
Has it ever been vandalized?
The world sure isn’t short on its fair share of assholes and in 2010 a couple of vandals spray painted graffiti on the arms, head and chest of the statue. They were soon apprehended and were looking at serving three years in prison for defacing the statue.
Can I get married at Christ the Redeemer?
In 2006 there was a small chapel built at the base of the statue. Since then those looking to start their marital bliss can fork over the equivalent of $1,150.00 to get their journey started off on the right foot. There are some restrictions though, since no cars can make it up the mountain the wedding party and small amount of guests must travel by train or foot and then take an escalator to the chapel and weddings are only held on weekends.
That doesn’t seem to be a deterrent though, currently there’s a waiting list of about two or three months for couples who want to start their journey there.
I’m not much of a religious person but if I ever find myself fortunate enough to be in Rio, I think a visit to Christ the Redeemer would be well worth my time. From the images I’ve seen, it’s pretty damn inspiring.