Elected as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, Christ the Redeemer is celebrating 90 years as Brazil’s most famous landmark. In 1926, the construction of the 38 meter high monument began, atop the Corcovado mountain, 710 meters above sea level. It took five years to be finished and was inaugurated on October 12, 1931.
The monument is “the face of Brazil,” said Father Omar Raposo, rector at the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary. “It is impossible to think about Brazil overseas without being reminded of this precious monument up on the Corcovado,” he argued. “Christ the Redeemer gives us the sensation it was carved out of the mountain itself. This is so wonderful. Imagine what Rio de Janeiro would be without Christ the Redeemer!”
He noted that the statue is in perfect connection with nature around it—the Tijuca National Park—and represents a unique experience as it holds its arms stretched out. “These arms impart shelter, and further represent the heart of the Brazilian people, which is a sheltering heart, with arms also strong for work, full of energy so we can develop this nation that’s so dear to us.”
The quality of the piece has architect and sculptor Cristina Ventura, coordinator for the Christ’s latest restoration, impressed. “Its quality is mesmerizing even today. This is amazing. You don’t find more recent buildings with the quality of this one,” Ventura said.
“There are no constructions with these standards, from this period, with the audacity the Christ has. Also noteworthy is that it’s the world’s biggest Art Deco sculpture,” she went on to state.
The architect mentioned that the engineers and architects involved in the project were not the only bold ones—construction workers without individual protection equipment hung from a scaffold up 700 meters high. “I catch myself thinking how much love we staff members put into things. Imagine for those building Christ the Redeemer. Imagine the commitment these people had here!” Ventura declared.
For the 90th anniversary of the Christ, emergency repairs were made to parts that had been damaged by time: portions of the shroud, the right finger, and the frontal section of the head. In addition, as part of preventive maintenance, technology has been installed to the statue to gauge coming winds and a reinforced lightning rod.
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