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Christ of Corcovado - Christ The Redeemer

Christ of Corcovado - Christ The Redeemer (34)

The symbol of Rio de Janeiro and a beacon for cariocas by day and by night.

Corcovado, the 713-metre high mountain, was baptised after the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century as Temptation Peak in honour of the biblical mountain where Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil. It was not until a century later that the mountain was renamed Corcovado due to its similarity to a hump.

But if the history of the mountain is already interesting, the most famous and popular sculpture in Rio de Janeiro can't fail to impress you.

It's breathtaking, right? This structure consisting of more than 1000 tonnes of reinforced concrete, granite and soapstone measures 30 metres in height, along with the eight-metre pedestal, whose main use is as a chapel, make the whole sculpture 38 metres high.

The lighting on Christ the Redeemer is one of its hallmarks. It changes and is spectacular.

Improvements are constantly being incorporated, such as the mechanical escalators and panoramic lifts that were installed in 2003 to facilitate access to the platform where the image of Christ is. There was also a general restoration in 2010, which provided the image that Pope Francis blessed during his visit in 2013.

Another restoration has been carried out for the 2016 Rio Olympics. This involved replacing the entire covering of the statue, a mosaic composed of six million 3cm x 3cm x 4cm pieces of steatite, known locally as soapstone. This stone is native to Brazil and is composed of different minerals that give it a greyish-green colour, and while it is a weak material, which can even be scratched with a fingernail, it is extremely resistant to inclement weather, and does not deform or crack with temperature variations. But the Minas Gerais quarry, where the stone came from in 1931, is nearly depleted. So it was not possible to achieve that original green hue, and the Christ the Redeemer of the Olympics is slightly darker.

The interior of the structure, whose entrance is at the foot of the sculpture, is hollow, except for the hands. It has five exits to the outside, two in each arm and one in the head. With a height of approximately 13 floors and a head weighing 30 tonnes, Christ the Redeemer rises imposingly and can be seen from most of Rio.

It is therefore said that Christ embraces and protects the "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Wonderful City), as Rio is known, from this privileged enclave.

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