on September 7, 2009
Rio's most famous site is the Statue of Christ holding his arms wide open welcoming visitors and blessing the city of Rio. The 100 foot statue covered with mosaic soapstone stands on the hill of Corcovado, which is about 2400 feet high. There is also a small chapel at the base of the statue which is a holy pilgrimage site for Catholics. The peak of Corcovado is a granite dome with steep sides creating a vertical rocky formation. From the train terminus or the road, the foot of the statue is reached by climbing 223 steps. For those that are not up to the climb, the statue can be reached by an elevator. The original design and engineer in charge of the construction was Heitor da Silva Costa, a Brazilian. He worked with French sculptor Paul Landowski, who took almost two years working on the hands and face alone. The statue was built between 1926 and 1931 and is known worldwide. The road to the Christ Redeemer climbs the mountain and switch backs through interesting little communities. There are places to stop to take photos and to walk different short trails to view points of the Christ atop the mountain. Corcovado gets over 300,000 visitors a year, so try to get there early. From the platform on the top, the magestic views stretch as far as Copacabana, Ipanema, the Sugarloaf Mountain and several of Rios Favelas.
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