Perched on the peak of Corcovado mountain, Christ the Redeemer overlooks Rio de Janeiro and fascinates locals and visitors alike. So, what is its importance, and why was it built?
Christ the Redeemer statue was built to promote Christianity among the people and to commemorate 100 years of independence from Portuguese rule. It has since become a national symbol and a significant tourist attraction in Brazil.
This article explores the major aspects of the statue; why people built it, how long construction took, its significance to Brazilians, and why it’s a major tourist attraction.
Also see How Was Christ the Redeemer Built? to learn more.
Is the Statue Important to Brazilians?
Christ the Redeemer statue is of major significance to Brazilians. The Washington Post’s religion writer, Michelle Boorstein, noted that the statue is a religious, cultural, and national symbol to Brazilians.
The massive monument is not only close to the hearts of Brazilian Catholics but also to Christians globally. It represents the peace and the love of Christ towards the human race. The statue shows Christ with open arms, signifying the reception of the masses.
The construction of Christ the Redeemer was driven by the Catholic church, the leading Christian denomination in Brazil. As mentioned earlier, the statue was constructed to reclaim Rio de Janeiro from secularism and was a declaration of the city’s “Godliness,” and that significance still stands.
The monument has since grown to be an emblem of Brazil. It exemplifies Brazil the most, having been built 100 years after independence. It represents a century of independence and symbolizes the nation’s solidity, and its outstretched arms signify the warm and welcoming nature of the country to visitors.
This gigantic Redeemer statue also represents Brazilian culture, and you can see it replicated in various kinds of art:
- Commemoration at the Brazilian carnival
There is even a street celebration called Suvaco do Cristo. During the festival, many people parade through the streets while dancers and drummers samba in celebration of the statue of Christ. 
Also see Where Is the Christ the Redeemer? to learn more.
Is the Statue a Tourist Attraction?
Christ the Redeemer is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the world. It is Brazil’s primary attraction and the most identifiable monument to Christ in Latin America. Statistics have revealed that the site receives approximately 2 million visitors annually. 
Below are the top reasons Christ the Redeemer is so famous:
Rich Religious History and Significance
One of the reasons the statue is so famous is the history behind its construction. The government’s shift from a monarchy to a republic in the late 1800s saw the nation experience significant public turmoil. The statue was erected as an embodiment of Jesus watching over his people, reminding the people of their sacred duties.
In addition, the Latin cross imagery arouses strong Christian emotions from the visitors who come from far and wide.
Youngest Wonder of the World
Many people don’t realize that the Christ the Redeemer Statue is one of the Seven New World Wonders, beating the likes of The Lady of Liberty and Angkor Wat.
In 2001, a campaign started to select seven new wonders since only one wonder of the ancient world, The Giza Pyramids, remained standing.
Over 200 million people took part by voting, and in 2007, the Christ the Redeemer statue was selected among the 21 nominees. It is the most modern on the list, which also includes:
- The Taj Mahal
- Chichen Itza
- Rome’s Coliseum
- The Great Wall of China
- Peru’s Machu Picchu
- Jordan’s Petra
Christ the Redeemer’s enlistment in the Seven New Wonders of the World is perhaps another reason why it’s famous.
Largest Art Deco Statue World Wide
Christ the Redeemer was built when the art deco design style was trendy. Standing at 98 feet (29.87 m) tall, with the outstretched arms at 92 feet (28.04 m) wide, and thousands of metric tons of material, the statue is the largest globally.
It elicits elegance in stature and materials, and its proportions evoke the architectural “wow” effect. It looks super-human when up and close, but it seems like a cross in the sky from afar.
Also see Who Built the Christ the Redeemer Statue? to learn more.
How Long Did it Take to Build Christ the Redeemer?
It took nine years to build the Christ the Redeemer statue. The first stone was laid in April 1922 and finally completed in 1931. In October of the same year, the statue opened.
A Vincentian priest, Pedro Maria Boss, first suggested the statue in the 1850s but was denied by the ruling house. However, a petition was started by the church in 1920. Signatures were collected, and the Brazilian Catholics contributed funds.
It took several years, but the petition was eventually accepted, and construction commenced in 1922.
The following people were instrumental in creating the statue’s design:
- Engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa
- Artist, Carlos Oswald
- French sculptor, Paul Landowski
The original design featured Christ holding a crucifix in one hand and a globe in the other. However, this was later reconsidered and designed the monument into what it is today.
Paul Landowski, in collaboration with Gheorghe Leonida, created the monument’s Art Deco features, namely the face and arms.
The workers covered the steel-frame sculptor in 635 tonnes (1,399,935 pounds) of concrete imported from Sweden. They also used thousands of soapstone tiles to layer the outer surface.
Workers had to build the statue on location due to its enormous size. They transported thousands of tons of building materials up the Corcovado mountain using the cog train, where they were assembled.
The whole project was valued at $250,000 US dollars, which is today equivalent to $3.4 million.
The city’s administration has since renovated the statue following an agreement with the Catholic church. Elevators, escalators, and walkways have been added to the site to improve access.
In 2010, the soapstone mosaic was refurbished, and lighting fixtures at the statue’s pedestal were reinstalled after lightning damage.
Also see How Tall Is the Christ the Redeemer Statue? to learn more.
The Christ the Redeemer statue was under construction for nine years. It is an important symbol to Brazilians and Christians and a significant tourist attraction.
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