Christ the Redeemer – History

History of Christ the Redeemer

The face was designed by Romanian artist, Gheorghe Leonida | © Liam Geoghegan/FlickrThe statute stands at a mighty 30 meters tall on top of an eight-meter pedestal base. It has an arm span of 28 meters and weighs a hefty 635 metric tons. This is made even more impressive by the fact that it was constructed in parts before being carried up Corcovado mountain. The design of the statue was chosen as a symbol of peace among a selection of possibilities. Other options included a Christian cross, Jesus with a globe in his hands and a pedestal symbolizing the world.

The construction began in 1922 and took nine years to complete. It cost $250, 000 USD (equivalent to $3, 300, 000 in 2015) to build and was funded by the Catholic community in Brazil. Since then, it has needed several renovations due to weather exposure, noticeably in February 2008 and January 2014 when lightning strikes damaged parts of the statue including dislodging a finger. The original pale stone of the Christ is no longer available in sufficient quantities to renovate it, so replacement stones are an increasingly darker hue.

Christ the Redeemer | © Noel Portugal/Flickr

A recent development to the Christ the Redeemer statue was on its 75th anniversary in October 2006. A chapel underneath the Christ was consecrated by the Archbishop of Rio, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, allowing baptisms and weddings there. It is also an important tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro, attracting approximately 1, 800, 000 people per year. The record number of tourists in a single day was at Easter in 2011 when 14, 000 people went to see the statue.

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