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The Statue of Christ the Redeemer - the World's New Wonder in Rio de Janeiro
2014-07-11 09:53 | Views: 5729
Photos by Lasha Tabagari
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The world’s largest statue of Christ is number 1 city sight of Brazil. The statue, which is 38 meters tall and weighs 1145 tons, is located at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. The statue’s arms stretch 28 meters wide. In 2007 the Statue of Christ the Redeemer got on the list of “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The statue is seen from every point of Rio, of course, if clouds do not cover it. You can see every point of the city from the Corcovado Mountain, including “Maracana” stadium, “Copacabana”, “Leblon”, “Ipanema”, “Botafogo”, “Flamengo” beaches, the Rio Hippodrome, etc. Rio is called “The City of God” due to this statue.

Tourists go up to the statue by rack railway which was built by engineers Pereipa Pasos and Terceira Suarez in 1842-1844. The construction of the statue was not planned then. But later, this railway played a key role in constructing one of the wonders of the world. The building materials were brought to the mountain by this railway. Now two small coaches are working there. They stop on the way to the statue, tourists are offered some water and bands play some music.

The idea of building the statue of Christ the Redeemer was suggested in 1921, a year before 100th anniversary of the Independence Day of Brazil. At that time Rio de Janeiro was a capital city of the country. The magazine “Cruzeiro” began a campaign to collect money for the statue. The church actively involved in it. Archbishop Sebastiao Leme played a key role in creating the monument. Finally, 2,5 million Real was collected.

Artist Carlos Oswald worked on the sketch of the statue. Oswald has been credited with the idea for the figure’s standing pose with arms spread wide. At first the pedestal was to have a shape of the earth. Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa made the final version of the monument. The busts of Carlos Oswald and Sebastiao Leme stand on the Corcovado Mountain.

The construction of the statue started in 1922 and lasted until 1931. All details of the statue, including frame, were made in France. The statue is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

In 1924 French sculptor Paul Landowski finished the face (3,75 meters tall) and the arms of the statue. All details were brought to Corcovado by the railway.

The monument was opened on October 12, 1931. The statue was consecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1965. It was repaired twice, first in 1932 and then in 2000.

On April 16, 2010, an act of vandalism occurred when black paint was spread along the arms.

The statue is struck by lightning four times a year. Therefore, the Catholic Church of Rio de Janeiro keeps the material the statue is made of in order to repair the damage caused by thunder.

Lasha Tabagari, special correspondent of from Rio de Janeiro

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