Guide to Brazil

The story of Christ the Redeemer, 90 years old

Brazil's most popular tourist attraction, the story of how Christ the Redeemer came about is a fascinating one. This week's Rio celebrates the statue's 90th anniversary

Rio's Christ the Redeemer. Photo: Ricardo Cohen/Shutterstock
Rio’s Christ the Redeemer. Photo: Ricardo Cohen/Shutterstock

In 1859, while Brazil was still under Portuguese rule, French priest Pierre-Marie Bos consulted the Imperial Princess Isabel, suggesting the royal family build a large statue of Jesus Christ at the highest point of Rio de Janeiro, the colony’s capital city at the time. The monument was to be placed overlooking the city at the peak of Corcovado hill, in the middle of the Tijuca National Park.

But the idea was ignored, never getting off the ground. Indeed it was only in 1921, long after the royal family had fled and Brazil became a republic, that the project was pulled...

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