Christ The Redeemer (1931) by Heitor da Silva Costa e Paul LandowskiRio de Janeiro Department of Conservation
Christ the Redeemer statue under construction (1931 circa) by Holland S. H. Instituto Moreira Salles
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
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.