High upon the Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer towers 710 metres above the city. With his arms spread wide, he has been watching over Rio de Janeiro since 1931. This 38-metre high statue is the icon of the city and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
It was Father Pedro Maria Boss who in 1850 dreamt of having a statue built on top of the Corcovado. Only in 1921 had the church managed to raise enough money for construction to begin and the now world-famous statue was finished ten years later.
The Portuguese name of the statue is Cristo Redentor, which means ‘Christ the Redeemer’. The massive figure has an arm span of 28 metres and was designed by the engineer Heitor da Silva Costa. The Franco-Polish sculptor Paul Landowski made the actual statue in Paris. The Redeemer was built from 16-ton blocks and shipped to Rio in 1931.
The statue can be reached in a number of ways. Take the taxi or train and you will arrive at the foot of the Corcovado. Sportier types can opt to climb the 222 steps to the top, but there is also a lift. The panorama is breathtaking, with views over Sugarloaf Mountain, the favelas, the inner city and the white Brazilian beaches.
After a visit to the Cristo Redentor it’s worth taking time to stop at the bottom of the mountain at the Parque Enrique Lage. This park is named after the rich industrialist Enrique Lage who at the beginning of the 20th century lived here in an enormous villa with his wife, singer Gabriela Bezanzoni. The park has been open to the public since the 1960s. A wander through the sub-tropical woods in the park is a welcome break from the crowds of tourists up by the monument. In the villa of Enrique Lage is a café where you can enjoy a cafezinho, the tiny but strong Brazilian coffee.