The New Largest Statue of Christ in Brazil and the World – “Cristo Protetor”
Christ is the Greatest
The statue “Cristo Redentor”, also called “Christ the Redeemer”, is the most famous landmark of Rio de Janeiro, next to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. It is located south of the city center on the 2,330-feet-high Corcovado Mountain, in the middle of the beautiful Tijuca National Park. While there are numerous Statues of Christ around the world, none is as famous as the Cristo Redentor in Rio. When taking a trip to Brazil, a visit is an absolute must! However, due to a daring project by a small southern Brazilian town, the Cristo Redentor is no longer the largest Statue of Christ in Brazil.
It was once lonely at the top
The Christo Redentor was designed by civil engineer Heitor da Silva Costa to mark the 100th anniversary of Brazilian independence in 1922. Due to financial constraints, the construction of the statue was significantly delayed by almost 10 years and was not completed until 1931. This required cooperation with the Vatican and France to ensure completion. At the same time, the project became a model for many other statues, but until 1981, the Christo Redentor remained the tallest of all Statues of Christ in the world. Considering the importance that this work of art acquired, it was selected as one of the seven unofficial modern world statues.
The landmark of Rio de Janeiro is located in the Tijuca National Park, more precisely on the 2,330-feet-high Corcovado Mountain in the south of Rio. The 98-feet-high statue stands on a 26-feet-high pedestal, in which there is a chapel. The span of the arms is 92 feet and the structure weighs about 1,300 US tons. Reinforced concrete was used for the interior, while the exterior was covered with a layer of soapstone to protect the statue from environmental influences. The statue can be visited by cable car or train. Particularly sporty travelers can also hike the 2,330-feet-high mountain. From the top, on a clear day, you have a wonderful view over Rio de Janeiro. You may see the southern districts of Copacabana and Ipanema as well as Maracanã Stadium and Sugarloaf Mountain.
However, in the south of Brazil, construction of an even larger Statue of Christ, the “Cristo Protetor”, began in 2019.
A sign of gratitude
This new largest Brazilian Statue of Christ was built in Encantado, a small town about 90 miles northwest of the regional capital of Porto Alegre, the federal capital of Rio Grande do Sul. Behind the idea of erecting a giant figure of the Savior in this small town of only 22,000 inhabitants founded by Italian immigrants in 1915, is a vow. Thus, about ten years ago, families from the region are said to have made a vow to erect a Christ if God saves a sick person. In addition, a priest from the region had proposed to erect a Statue of Christ on the occasion of the centennial of the town.
A community project
The mayor at the time, Adroaldo Conzatti, took up the idea and announced that he would erect the new largest Brazilian Statue of Christ. Conzatti launched the project in 2019 and, for this purpose, founded the association “Amigos de Cristo”, the “Friends of Christ”, together with some citizens. The association undertook both the project planning and the fundraising for the construction. The families who once took the vow provided the land on “Morro das Antenas”, the “Antenna Hills”.
A building with new dimensions
Construction finally began at the end of 2019, but had to pause between March and September 2020 due to the corona pandemic. The 121-feet-high statue with 118-feet-long outstretched arms stands on a 20-feet-high base and measures 141 feet in total. It thus surpasses by 16 feet the Cristo Redentor in Rio which measures 125 feet.
At the same time, the construction costs were astonishingly low. Actually, one would have to reckon with around six million reais, the equivalent of 880,000 US dollars, for a statue of this size, according to the new mayor Fontana. Especially since an elevator was built into the figure to take visitors to a viewing platform in the statue’s chest area. Thanks to intelligent planning and efficient work, however, the costs came to just over 300,000 US dollars. The money for the new tallest Brazilian Statue of Christ was raised almost entirely through donations from families and businesses in the region.
A “renewal of faith” and confidence for the future
According to the mayor, the new largest Statue of Christ in Brazil will be both a “renewal of faith” and a “symbol of gratitude”. Even before its completion in April 2022, there have been numerous requests from travelers. For the region, which previously lived of the production of cosmetics and agriculture, it is hoped that the expected religious tourism will stimulate the economy in the future. After all, the statue on Corcovado Mountain in Rio attracts around two million visitors a year. This makes the inhabitants of Encantado look to the future with confidence. So, if you're planning a Brazil vacation in Southern Brazil, be sure to stop in Encantado and visit the new tallest Statue of Christ worldwide.
A new glimmer of hope
The Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro is arguably the most famous Statue of Christ. But now, there's a new monument in Southern Brazil that locals and travelers alike will want to visit. With a very nice story to match the symbolism of the statue, there is a new must-see attraction when traveling in Brazil. After all, it is not only the new tallest Brazilian Statue of Christ, but also the largest in the world. By November 2022, the Cristo Protetor has already attracted over 100,000 visitors. A mighty bright spot for tourism in Southern Brazil!
Sources: catholicnewsagency.com, www.blickpunkt-lateinamerika.de, www.brasiloo.de, www.monopol-magazin.de, www.pro-medienmagazin.de