Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christ Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de JanieroChrist Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

An idea and its time

The 130 feet giant statue of Jesus Christ standing arm stretched on the peek of Corcovado Mountain; the most impressive landmark not only of Rio the Capital of Brazil; but the whole nation of Brazil. This giant statue is to Brazil what Eiffel Tower is to Paris or Kremlin to Moscow. As the case of every noble idea; this Brazilian dream also took a long- long time to get accepted. The credit of first seeing such a wonderful dream goes to one Catholic Priest by name Pedro Maria Boss. Fr. Boss’s resourceful mind envisaged a giant statue standing on the mountain overseeing city of Rio and the giant port beside. He proposed about the project to the then ruling Princess Isabel expecting financial aid from the Government.

The Redeemer Princess!

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de JanieroChrist Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

Somehow the idea did not ring bells in the mind of the ruling princess (Princess Isabel daughter of Pedro-2. It remains an irony that the same princess who slept on the request for years and finally rejected it; got nicknamed ‘princess redeemer’! Strange naming (nomenclature) indeed! However the liberal princess has done a lot of other good things like abolition of slavery etc, she was the first female ruler of Brazil since it got out of the colonial status.

The power of the people

Good ideas never die; like matured seeds they keep on sprouting out of fertile minds. The ‘rebirth’ of the Christ the Redeemer idea occurred in 1921; when Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro proposed it before the believers; and organized a Semana do monumento (monument week) to create awareness and to collect donations for the purpose. The response was tremendous; all people assured their support, money flowed like river; and the idea became an instant hit. The machine worked like a well oiled one; people of Rio could not hide their enthusiasm as whole atmosphere became electric.

How was it built?

Heitor da Silva Costa a local engineer prepared the design and sculpting was done by Paul Landoski a French of Polish origin; from his selections Christ standing stretching both hand side ways as if the embrace the people of the whole city was selected. The whole statue was planned to make in re-in forced concrete. The concreting job was under Albert Caquot and the upper surface of the statue was covered with soap stone imported from Lymhamn Sweden. Soap stones are metamorphic rocks rich in magnesium and known for its endurance and easiness to use. The statue has a height of 39.6 meters and a total weigh 700 tons. The work started on 1926 it took just five years and monument was declared open on 31st October, 1931.

Rio de Janeiro the pride of Brazil

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de JanieroChrist Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janeiro (meaning river of January) is one of the most wonderful cities in the world, not only as it holds the pride of having two World Wonders in its lap like Christ the Redeemer and the Port of Rio de Janeiro; both accredited as world wonders and are World Heritage Sites in the UNESCO list. One wonder overlooking another world wonder is rarity in itself; it is the place where the ‘Carnival’ is held when people simply live in sheer abandon in the spirit of festival for a whole season, forgetting everything except merry making!

A pilgrimage spot, Carnival starting point

The Corcovado Mountain and the Redeemer statue (called Christo Redentor in Portuguese- Portuguese is the national language of Brazil) have the status as a pilgrimage spot and many people visit this sight as pilgrims. There is a small church adjacent to the statue and regular mass is held in it. During festival season prior to Easter; the Carnival Parades are held; this spot (known as the Christ’s armpit) is selected as the place from where the parade starts.

Too impressive to go unimpressed!

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de JanieroChrist Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

The imposing statue standing atop an impressive Corcovado Mountain has impressed connoisseurs all over the world. The Redeemer Statue has inspired numerous statues to be built over hilltops. In the hill top encroaching spree; those who cannot afford to build a statue started placing at least a cross over every hill tops! Though their basic theme is a copy of the Christ the Redeemer there are two or three worth attention due to their innovativeness.

Christo Rei (meaning Christ the King) is a remarkable work that stands overlooking Lisbon the Capital of Portugal. This statue erected by the notorious dictator of Portugal (Antonio de Oliveira Salazar in May 17 1959 is 28 meter in height but the column on which it is placed has an astounding height of 75 meters.

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero


Christ of the Ozarks is yet another statue inspired by the Redeemer which is 20 meters in height and the shape of Christ is remarkably different. It is located at Eureka Springs, Arkansas in the Southern part of the US. Christ of the Ozarks is a creation of Gerald L K Smith and was erected in 1966.

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

Christ of the Ozarks

How to get there?

Christ Redeemer Statue Rio de JanieroChrist Redeemer Statue Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janeiro is a metropolitan city well connected by air, road and sea. The Corcovado Mountain on the top which the statue is placed is reachable by foot although a bit strenuous; the effort is worth the pleasure. One can see the statue in close up is only one thing; but a vision of the entire cityscape of the Rio from the hill top is far more astounding. The huge natural port that houses so many ships, yachts and boats each struggling for space to park is also a sight for a lifetime! There is cogwheel train facility in every 30 minutes for those who find it hard to climb. Go Rio ‘the fun city’ climb the Corcovado and see the world!