Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) is the Brazilian name of the world famous Art Deco statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro from the peak of mount Corcovado. Like no other of Rio's many scenic attractions and excentric landmarks, the statue has come to represent the cultural identity of Rio de Janeiro, and also of Brazil. Two million tourists visit the Cristo Redentor year, awed by the breathtaking view from the platform by foot of the statue, 2100 feet (700 metres) above sea level. All the wonders of the Marvelous City, as Rio is called by its inhabitants, can be contemplated within a single 360 sweep: The Sugar Loaf, the sand and surf of Copacabana and Ipanema and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the dense forests of the Serra da Tijuca Mountains, the Maracanã Stadium, Central Rio and the majestic Bay of Guanabara.
The timeless scenery of the Cristo Redentor has been celebrated in countless songs and poems ("Corcovado"und "Samba do Avião", by Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim, to just name a few). Small wonder that the symbol of the marvelous city now also holds the title of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, established in an internet poll initiated by the swiss based New7Wonders Foundation/New Open World Corporation (NOWC) in 2007, side by side with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Machu
Picchu, the Colosseum, the stone city of Petra, Jordan and the mayan
pyramids of Chichen Itza, Of these epic monuments, only the Cristo Redentor was built in the 20th century.
Plans to build a statue on Mount Corcovado took shape in 1921, during the preparations for Brazil's 100th independance day. Financing and construction of the 30 metre high structure, weighing 1145 tons and measuring 28 metres from one fingertip to the other, took more than 10 years. The statue can be reached by cogwheel trains departing from Cosme Velho district at the foot of Mount Corcovado, in a 20 minute ride through dense tropical vegetation with occasional glimpses of the City from various unusual angles, or simply by taking a cab. Since the installation of escalators in 2003, climbing the 200 remaining stairs to the viewing platform is no longer a must.