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This stunning sculpture, in addition to boasting the title of the world's largest Art Deco statue, also holds some curious facts about its structure, such as the heart; you can make out the outline of a heart on the statue, which, besides having a perfect form, is the only piece built on both the outside and the inside, and is covered in the same soapstone mosaic as the outside of the sculpture. It measures 1.3 metres.
In fact, it is said that the heart contains a bottle with the family tree of Heitor Levy, the builder responsible for the structure and a Jew by birth who converted to Catholicism after surviving a serious accident. Thus, it symbolised his and his family's surrender to Christ the Redeemer.
Indeed there is another interesting fact about the soapstone; it is said that once they were cut into small triangles and glued onto a cloth by the workers, many of the women wrote the names of their loved ones on the back of the tiles.
Another fact that's difficult to appreciate is that if you look up at the arms of Christ, you will realise that they are not completely symmetrical. The left arm is 40 centimetres shorter than the right, and it was expressly designed that way, like the sails of ships. Thanks to that small modification, Christ of Corcovado can withstand winds of over 150 kilometres.
And although they cannot be seen from below, the statue of Christ actually has feet! They peek out from underneath his robe. Another aspect that is not easy to see is that the head has a sort of crown of thorns that actually acts as a lightning rod.
And indeed, despite the large number of lightning rods arranged across the surface of Christ, a ray of lightning struck one of his hands in 2014 and a finger was dislodged. It could only be fixed with the help of abseiling and mountaineering experts.
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is completely hollow, except for the hands
Inside the statue is a narrow metal staircase that provides access to the four exits: two on each arm and one on top of the head. The entrance to the sculpture is on one side, under the right arm of Christ, but to get to it you first have to climb to the top of the pedestal where the chapel is located. Interestingly, the pedestal does not have stairs inside, so the only way to reach the entrance to the statue is by placing a ladder or scaffolding to climb the eight metres of the pedestal. In any case, the climb to the top of the majestic statue is only permitted for those responsible for maintenance and repair and a few lucky ones, with the express permission of the church.
A funny fact, or rather the response that cariocas themselves usually give when asked why Christ the Redeemer has his arms outstretched, is that given the reputation of the inhabitants of Rio for being relaxed and unhurried, he has his arms outstretched in readiness to applaud any carioca who does any work.
And now that you're at one of the highest points in Rio de Janeiro, at the foot of one of the seven modern wonders of the world, take a selfie with Christ the Redeemer and send it to your family and friends. They'll be in no doubt as to where you are.
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