Rio de Janeiro is home to the world’s largest Art Deco statue that overlooks the city from the peak of the Corcovado Mountain and is one of Rio’s most famous sights, Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor). With the idea for a statue at the top of the mountain first suggested in the mid-1850s, it wasn’t until a second proposal made in 1921 by the Catholic Circle of Rio that construction of this amazing monument was approved. Completed and opened in 1931, for decades the statue has graced the skyline and been the focal point of a great many postcards and photos of Rio de Janeiro.
On July 7, 2007 the statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a poll conducted by the Swiss company, The New Open World Corporation, via the internet and text messaging. For the statue’s 75th anniversary the Archbishop of Rio consecrated a chapel below the statue allowing Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings at the site. Throughout the years renovations and additions have been made to the statue and its surroundings. In 2002 amazing panoramic elevators and escalators were added, easing access for the elderly and disabled by allowing them to bypass the 220-step climb previously necessary to visit the statue.
Visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue can be accomplished via car as well as the Railway of Corcovado. The Railway of Corcovado, opened in 1884 is the oldest tour in Brazil and delivers over six hundred thousand visitors each year to the statue. The tour lets you see all the beautiful landscapes of the city and travel through the largest urban forest in the world, the National Park of Tijuca. Visiting via the train is also ecologically responsible since the proceeds go to the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and it is an electric train so it does not pollute the amazing environments you visit. Trains run every half hour from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM and will run you about $20.
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