To leave to Brazil without having visited the mountain's impressive statue is like not having been to Brazil at all
The symbol of Brazil
It is one of the most famous places in Brazil and, possibly, the entire Catholic world. The image on the Corcovado postcard shows Christ the Redeemer at the summit, with Río de Janeiro and the Guanabara Bay in the spotlight, and the Atlantic coast in the horizon. The spectacular views from the mountain also include the hillside favelas on one side, and the crowded beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana on the other. The driving force behind this statue's eccentric construction comes from bishop Sebastião João, while artist Carlos Oswald took care of the design, and architect Heitor da Silva Costa was in charge of development. The idea was to commemorate the first hundred-year anniversary of Brazilian independence, in 1922, but the opening ended up being delayed for a decade. Christ the Redeemer was sculpted in soapstone by the French-Polish artist Paul Landowski, who completed the work in France. Upon its completion, the 1,145 tonne sculpture was transported by train to the top of the mountain, where it was assembled on an iron and steel frame. The base measures eight metres in height and the statue itself stands 30 metres tall, equal to the length of Christ's outstretched arms which symbolise protection and refuge. It is possible to take a taxi or bus to the base of the statue, although it is a lot more charming to go by the Trem do Corcovado train (www.corcovado.com.br), after touring the amazing Tijuca National Park.