5 Spectacular Views of Christ the Redeemer

Explore new perspectives on a cultural icon of a city and a nation

By Google Arts & Culture

Christ The Redeemer (1931) by Heitor da Silva Costa e Paul LandowskiRio de Janeiro Department of Conservation

At the peak of the 700-metre tall Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro stands Christ the Redeemer, an art-deco monument to Christianity, recognised around the world as an icon of the city, and the nation of Brazil itself.

Christ the Redeemer statue under construction (1931 circa) by Holland S. H. Instituto Moreira Salles

The statue was constructed between 1922 and 1931 by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot. The face of Christ was designed and sculptured by the Romanian artist Gheorghe Leonida. In total, the statue is 30 metres tall and weighs 635 tonnes.

Nearly two million tourists make the journey from Rio de Janeiro up the Corcovado mountain, to marvel at the statue. A few more even make the the final ascent, up to the very top of the statue itself. It's not an official pilgrimage, but to many faithful it may feel like one.

Many designs were considered for the statue, but this was chosen as 'symbol of peace'. Christ stands, ready to embrace with open arms anyone who approaches. Though its no coincidence that this pose also resembles a Christian crucifix.

On a clear day, standing at the base of the statue, you can see the whole Guanabara Bay, from Rio de Janeiro to Duque de Caxias, and across to the eastern shore cities of Niterói and São Gonçalo. It's hard not to feel like you're on top of the world. Click and drag to view.

But you can go a little higher, inside the statue is a staircase that leads all the way to the top. Not far now…

From a distance, you might think the statue was made from solid stone, but it's actually lightweight reinforced concrete. Here, we're looking along one of the hollow arms, and you can see where the wooden moulds were fitted, and separate concrete blocks joined together.

We're standing on the shoulders of Christ. Just a little higher to go…

Here we are… is there any other view like it?

The crown of thorns that rings Christ's head may be symbolic, but also serves a practical purpose - as a lightning rod. Lightning has struck the statue on numerous occasions, sometimes damaging parts of the structure.

Detail of the statue's eye (2010) by Gustavo de Oliveira | Collection of Archdiocese of São Sebastiao of Rio de JaneiroSanctuary of Christ the Redeemer

From all the way up here, you can see how the statue is faced with fragments of soapstone, chosen for its durability.

Christ the Redeemer by Tero HakalaSanctuary of Christ the Redeemer

This iconic structure has inspired many copies and homages across the globe, from the to Cristo del Pacífico in neighbouring Peru, to the Christ of Vũng Tàu in Vietnam. But there's nothing quite like the original.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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