Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Sanctuary to Christ the Redeemer is a cultural asset, manifestation of the faith and the history of the Brazilian people More than that, by the perfect union between nature and architecture, Christ the Redeemer was named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World Modern “, a cultural heritage of all mankind

Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of God of the Christians in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face The statue is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, not including its 8-metre (26 ft) pedestal, and its arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide

The statue weighs 635 metric tons, and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931

Vincentian priest, Pedro Maria Boss, first suggested placing a Christian monument on Mount Corcovado in the mid 1850s to honor Princess Isabel, princess regent of Brazil and the daughter of Emperor Pedro II, however the project died due to lack of support In 1889 the country became a republic, and due to the separation of church and state, the idea of the statue was dismissed

Error: View 3cb53d2wg8 may not exist

Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue French sculptor Paul Landowski created the work

In 1922, Landowski commissioned fellow Parisian Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida, who studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Conservatory in Bucharest and in Italy Leonida’s portrayal of Christ’s face made him famous

A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowski’s submissions and felt building the structure of reinforced concrete (designed by Albert Caquot) instead of steel was more suitable for the cross-shaped statue The outer layers are soapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities and ease of use Construction took nine years, from 1922 to 1931 and cost the equivalent of US$250,000 and the monument opened on October 12, 1931 During the opening ceremony, the statue was to be lit by a battery of floodlights turned on remotely by Italian shortwave radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi, stationed 5,700 miles (9,200 km) away in Rome but because of bad weather, the lights were activated on-site

In 1990, several organizations, including the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, media company Grupo Globo, oil company Shell do Brasil, environmental regulator IBAMA, National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage, and the city government of Rio de Janeiro entered an agreement to conduct restoration work

More work on the statue and its environs was conducted in 2003 and early 2010 In 2003, a set of escalators, walkways, and elevators were installed to facilitate access to the platform surrounding the statue The four-month restoration in 2010 focused on the statue itself The statue’s internal structure was renovated and its soapstone mosaic covering was restored by removing a crust of fungi and other microorganisms and repairing small cracks The lightning rods located in the statue’s head and arms were also repaired, and new lighting fixtures were installed at the foot of the statue

The restoration involved one hundred people and used more than 60,000 pieces of stone taken from the same quarry as the original statue During the unveiling of the restored statue, it was illuminated with green-and-yellow lighting in support of the Brazil national football team playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Maintenance work needs to be conducted periodically due to the strong winds and erosion to which the statue is exposed, as well as lightning strikes The original pale stone is no longer available in sufficient quantities, and replacement stones are increasingly darker in hue