Christ the Redeemer

Brazil's central religion since the 16th century has been Christianity with Roman Catholicism being the most prominent. It has the highest number of baptized Roman Catholics in the world with about 74% of Brazilians declaring Catholicism as their religion. Christ the Redeemer, a large art deco-style effigy, is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and stands 38 meters high. The statue is located at the summit of Corcovado mountain in Tijuca Forest National Park standing at 710 meters and looking over the city.

In Portugese, this iconic monument is known as Cristo Redentor. The original design of the Christ the Redeemer statue was born by a man named Oswald. He designed it to have a globe in one hand and stand over a pedestal symbolizing the world but the design was not agreed upon. Another proposal for a monument was prepared and made in 1921 by the archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro. He organized an event named Seman de Monumento ("Monument Week") in hopes of attracting donations, which were attained mainly by Brazilian Catholics who readily awaited a design decision for an effigy.

Christ the Redeemer was designed by a French sculptor by the name of Paul Landowski and a local engineer named Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen to supervise the entire construction. The statue was built not out of steel but from reinforced concrete as that was considered a more suitable material for the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers of the idol were constructed from a mosaic of soapstone because of the materials" known resistance to extreme weather and also due to its malleability. The Corcovado Railway was the only way to haul the large pieces of the statue to the crown of the mountain and thus was used as an important aide in the project.

Christ the Redeemer was built between 1926 and 1931 and after some time there was also a chapel built at the base of the mountain to house 150 visitors. The monument was inaugurated on October 12, 1931 in an extravagant and grand commemoration. The lighting was to be one of the highlights of the ceremony, which was to be switched on by Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi from his yacht in Naples. The signal strength was largely affected by poor weather conditions and the lighting had to be switched on manually by workers at Corcovado. In Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Christ the Redeemer can be accessed by the 2.4 meter Corcovado Rack railway that has the capacity to hold 360 passengers every hour. The trip by rail is approximately 20 minutes and leaves the base each half hour. The view from the train is alluring, leaving those traveling the mountain in keen anticipation of what is yet to come. The busiest time to visit is Easter and the Christmas season. From the road or the train terminal Christ the Redeemer statue is reached by 222 steps. For those not wishing to make the arduous trek up the mountain, reaching the statue is possible by escalators and elevators. In Rio de Janeiro Brazil Christ the Redeemer remains one of the most beloved year-round tourist attractions. Some say the best time to visit the Christ the Redeemer statue is late afternoon or evening when you can enjoy the splendor of the setting sun while taking in one of the most important landmarks in the world.

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