Every day, from 8 am to 19 pm
Tickets and train: Rua Cosme Velho, 513
Why you Should Visit
Christ the Redeemer is one of the New7Wonders of the World. The monument joined the list through a competition held in 2007, when it received over 100 million votes online. The statue with open arms on top of the Corcovado mountains is one of the world’s most famous postcards. The amazing vista of several parts of the North and West sides of the city is one of the most amazing moments of the tour.
The landscape behind the monument unveils tourist attractions such as Tijuca Forest and the Maracanã stadium. The Rio-Niterói bridge, Guanabara Bay, the Flamengo and Botafogo beaches, Sugar Loaf mountain, and the shores of Leme, Copacabana, and Ipanema are some of the spots that form the view in front of the statue. The Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, the Jockey Club, and the Two Brothers Hill also catch the eye of visitors.
The Christ sculpture is 38-meters tall, the same size as a 13-story building. The statue weighs over a thousand tons and is 710 meters above sea level. Each of its arms uses an area of 88 square meters, and its feet are 1.35 meters wide. The icon is projected to withstand winds as fast as 250 kilometers per hour and is coated with soapstone, a material widely available in Brazil that is very efficient in resisting erosion.
The list of people who have already visited Christ the Redeemer is full of important names. The North-American president Barack Obama and his family were there in March 2011. Prince Charles and Princess Diana, from England, visited in April 1991. The monument also received Pope John Paul II in June 1980. Over 2 million people go to the monument every year.
Past History of Christ the Redeemer
The history of Christ the Redeemer blends with that of Corcovado. The first settlers named the mountain Pinnacle or Temptation Peak on 16th century maps. It was only known by its current name 200 years later because its shape resembles a hump (corcova). The railroad that has connected the peak to the neighborhood of Cosme Velho since 1885 made the area a tourist attraction in the city.
The idea of building a religious monument on top of Corcovado was conceived by the French priest Pierre-Marie Boss in 1859, and in 1921 the Catholic Church promoted a contest to put it into practice. The chosen project was that of the engineer Heitor Costa, who was inspired by the antennas that were placed on top of the hill to create the image of Christ with open arms. Carlos Oswald was in charge of drawing the image.
The cornerstone was revealed on April 4, 1922. The head and hands were shaped in Paris by the sculptor Maximiliam Landowsky. Some donation campaigns held by Rio’s Archdiocese helped to fund the construction, which took nine years to be completed. The archbishop Dom Sebastião Leme led the monument’s opening ceremony on October 12, 1931.
A decree at the end of 19th century could have led the place that today holds Christ the Redeemer onto a different course. It established that a statue of Princess Isabel would be created on top of Corcovado as an homage to the abolition of slavery in Brazil, which she signed in 1888. But the opposition to the project by herself and the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 prevented the fulfillment of the decree.
Christ the Redeemer Today
Christ the Redeemer is not only a postcard, but also a prayer point for Catholics. The Church named the area an archdiocesan sanctuary in 2006 and uses it today to hold masses, meetings, and other related activities. The monument also hosts other movements and gets a special lighting system during social campaigns such as Pink October, which aims to raise awareness towards breast cancer. The 2016 Olympic Games are expected to raise the number of tourists visiting the area, which received over 70 thousand people during the 2014 World Cup period. Christ is the most visited tourist attraction in the city, leaving behind places such as Sugar Loaf mountain and Maracanã.
The admission to the Christ the Redeemer monument is R$24.00 during the high season or on weekends and national holidays, or R$12.00 during the low season. The admission is free for children up to 11 years old, the elderly over 60 years old (for Brazilians or foreigners who live in Brazil) and tourist guides registered at the Ministry of Tourism. However, the box office of the monument does not offer discounts to students. The admission is included when you choose a transportation to go to Corcovado. You’ll have the Corcovado train, vans, and taxis available (which will only get to a certain part of the course). Private cars are not admitted. Please check all types of tickets and certified means of transportation available.
A van service that departs from different parts of the South side is another way to get to Christ the Redeemer. The vehicles that depart from Copacabana and Largo do Machado charge from 27 to 62 reais for the round trip, depending on the time of the year and the age of the passengers. Children under 5 years old do not pay for admission, and those between 6 and 11 years old receive a discount, as well as the elderly over 60. Another van that departs from Paineiras is cheaper. Traveling in it costs 24 reais in winter or 35 reais during the high season. Full information regarding how to get to the monument is available at this website.
The Corcovado Train is the fanciest way to go to the monument. The tickets are sold downtown, at Largo do Machado, in Copacabana, at the RioSul mall and in some Correios offices (post office). The fees for the round trip may vary between 25 and 62 reais according to the season and the age of each passenger. The elderly and children get a discount. The boarding station is at 513 Cosme Velho Street, in front of the São Judas Tadeu church. There’s a bus that departs from the subways station at Largo do Machado and goes all the way to the station, where trains depart every 30 minutes.
Those who choose to visit the Christ by their own means must be careful. The transit is restricted to special vans on the Paineiras road, which provides access to the statue. Taxis are not allowed to drive all the way. Christ the Redeemer is open every day from 8am to 7pm. The trip is perfect on sunny days, when it’s possible to see most of the city from above. Christ the Redeemer monument can be accessed through Alto da Boa Vista, at Tijuca’s National Park.
What Nobody Talks About
Although Christ the Redeemer is one of the most famous Rio postcards worldwide, some problems regarding it are ignored by tourists because they are not talked about on advertising made for visitors. But we believe it is important for our tourists to know that the visit to Corcovado has some issues that may ruin their good time. We are not looking to scare anyone, but to openly talk about matters that are commonly disregarded so our tourists may have a better understanding of the area they’ll go to and can avoid unnecessary risks.
- The tour must be planned beforehand because in the high season, due to high demand, the tickets may be sold out for that day or even some hours ahead. One should set aside some time for the departure queue, regardless if it’s for vans or the Corcovado train that, sometimes, takes an hour to arrive. That’s why it’s worth it to buy your tickets beforehand on the internet or for the next day.
- There’s a track for hiking up to the top of Corcovado mountain. Although some Rio citizens claim it’s an easy track, we do not consider it that easy due to steep areas and unprotected ravines. We openly do not recommend this adventure for those who do not have experience with this kind of activity. Also, it’s a shame, but we must warn you that some people were robbed on this track, which is another reason why we do not recommend it.
- It’s important to walk paying attention to your surroundings in Largo do Machado (where tickets to Christ the Redeemer are sold and vans depart) because there are homeless people wandering around, and some minor crimes such as theft and pickpocketing are not that rare there, especially at night. Generally they are opportunity thefts. That’s why you should not openly show your possessions on the streets.
- Some clouds may stop right above the Corcovado mountain. In these cases, we do not recommend the tour due to low visibility and cold weather (clouds are cold!). It’s not worth it to take the risk and buy a ticket on these days, and it’s recommended to change the date if you bought it online. Check the conditions for that on their website.
Credits for the used images in this article: Alexandre Macieira, Fernando Maia, Rodrigo Soldon e Thiago Melo.