Postcard Sunday: Brazil

Christ the Redeemer, UNESCO World Heritage List #: 1100

Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, not including its 8 metres (26 ft) pedestal, and its arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-meter (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1926 and 1931.

The idea of erecting a large statue atop Corcovado was first suggested in the mid-1850s, when Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss requested financing from Princess Isabel to build a large religious monument. Princess Isabel did not think much of the idea and it was dismissed in 1889, when Brazil became a republic with laws mandating the separation of church and state. The second proposal for a landmark statue on the mountain was made in 1920 by the Catholic Circle of Rio. The group organized an event called Semana do Monumento (“Monument Week”) to attract donations and collect signatures to support the building of the statue. The donations came mostly from Brazilian Catholics. The designs considered for the “Statue of the Christ” included a representation of the Christian cross, a statue of Jesus with a globe in his hands, and a pedestal symbolizing the world. The statue of Christ the Redeemer with open arms, a symbol of peace, was chosen.

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