Welcome to Rio! The super-size statue of Christ the Redeemer embraces the Atlantic-side city, and will have the best seat in the house for the World Cup
Tipping the scales at 1,145 tonnes, Cristo Redentor – otherwise known as Christ the Redeemer – is a truly heavyweight travel icon. Soaring high above Rio de Janeiro, it is the world’s largest Art Deco statue and, in 2007, was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Cristo stands 30m tall, on an 8m pedestal, a mighty colossus atop Mount Corcovado. For those who navigate the mountain’s 130-year-old railway system and ascend to the statue itself, the rewards are obvious: sweeping views of Sugar Loaf Mountain, the South Atlantic Ocean and the Maracana Stadium.
Designed by Brazilian-born engineer-architect Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue represents Jesus watching over the city, blessing the land and its inhabitants. It has survived wind erosion, lightning strikes and graffiti to become one of the most enduring symbols of Christianity.
Getting around Rio on foot or by bike is relatively simple as many of the attractions are on the city’s well-pedestrianised south side.
The modest underground network (Metro Rio) is useful for accessing areas between Copacabana and Downtown.
There are a few options for accessing Christ the Redeemer. Cog trains depart every 30 minutes, 8am-8pm daily, from the Corcovado train station in Cosme Velho; journey time is 20 minutes. You can also go by van.
The fit might like to hike up – several (steep) trails lead through Tijuca National Park; the main trail takes around two hours. You still need to pay a statue entrance fee.
When you get to the top of Corcovado, you can either climb the 220 steps or take the lift/escalator to reach the statue’s main platform. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Our Lady of the Apparition) is at the base of the statue, a place of Catholic pilgrimage as well as being used for small weddings and baptisms.
Sunset is atmospheric time to visit. After dark, floodlights illuminate the statue; during the World Cup, green and yellow floodlights are used, in support of the Brazilian team. To avoid big crowds, steer clear of religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter.