Christ The Redeemer: The Youngest Of All The Seven Wonders
A helicopter flies next to the Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 06 Aug 2016. Source: (Photo: Soeren Stache/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images)
When it comes to world wonders, there are two lists to look at. The first one is the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which includes a bunch of amazing things that no longer exist, like the Lighthouse at Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In fact, the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World club is the Great Pyramid at Giza. Then, because everything gets a reboot these days, there is the New Seven Wonders of the World. On this list, we find plenty of ancient structures, like Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal. Included in this list is the youngest of all the world wonders, one that is not yet 100 years old. It is the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
Construction Started in the 1920s
Unlike the other structures on the New Seven Wonders of the World list, Christ the Redeemer is modern. Although plans were batted around for seven decades, the construction on the statue started in 1922 and was completed by 1931. It was Pedro Maria Boss, a Catholic priest, who first envisioned a giant statue on Corcovado Mountain, overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. A committee was formed to raise funds and pick a design.
An Art Deco Design
The Christ the Redeemer statue was designed and built in the 1920s during the heyday of art deco, so it is only natural that the statue is made in an art deco style. It is, in fact, the world's largest art deco statue at 98 feet tall, not counting the 26-foot pedestal on which it stands. The statue, made of concrete and soapstone, weighs more than 630 tons. Its outstretched arms alone measure 92 feet across. Now that's a divine embrace.
Honoring Brazil's Catholic Heritage
The Christ the Redeemer statue's design was selected to pay tribute to Brazil's Catholic heritage. The outstretched arms of the statue are said to demonstrate Christ's openness and acceptance of all. It was the Catholic community of Brazil that rallied around the idea of a national statue in Rio de Janeiro and who spearheaded fundraising efforts to pay for the statue. The total cost of the statue at the time it was built was $250,000 USD. In today's dollars, it would be more than $3.2 million.
Constructed in Pieces
There was the problem of how to get such a huge statue up the side of a mountain, but it was easily solved by building the statue in pieces in Rio de Janerio. It was then taken up to the top of Corcovado Mountain, where it was assembled and erected. The site has become so popular with tourists that, in 2003, improvements were made to make the site more accessible to visitors. Elevators and escalators were installed, as well as numerous walkways.
Damage to the Statue
Christ the Redeemer has had its share of damage over the years. For example, in 2008, the statue took a direct lightning hit during an electrical storm. The lightning caused extensive damage to the fingers, head, and eyebrows of the statue, as well as the nerves of nearby believers. To repair it, workers used sandstone quarried from the same place in Sweden that the original soapstone came from. Then, in 2010, a disgruntled housepainter sprayed graffiti on the head and one of the arms of the statue. He was later caught and charged with vandalism, because heresy isn't actually a crime anymore.
Don't Plan to Go inside the Statue
You may have seen all those cool Instagram pics from travel bloggers that have been taken from atop the statue, but don't get your hopes up that you'll be able to take your own Christ the Redeemer selfie. The inside of the statue, although hollow and equipped with a staircase, is off-limits to tourists. Only a few lucky engineers, workers, and photographers are allowed to go inside the statue. Visitors are welcomed, however, at the chapel located in the pedestal, which experts assure us is much nicer anyway.
A New Seven Wonder
In 2000, a push was made to create a list of the New Seven Wonders of the World that would include existing structures. The foundation, New7Wonders, announced their list on July 7, 2007. Making the list was China's Great Wall, Petra in Jordan, The Colosseum in Rome, Chichen Itza in Mexico, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Taj Mahal in India, and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Unlike the original Seven Wonders of the World, all of these places still exist and welcome visitors. Sorry, Babylonian gardening fans.
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