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Corcovado Mountain

Christ the Redeemer

The most famous mountain in Rio

Officially one of the 7 wonders of the world, Christ the Redeemer, official name "Cristo Redentor", is the symbol of Rio, no first timers trip is complete without a visit. It's almost impossible to see a television program about Rio nowadays without a sweeping overhead view of the great statue. After 9 years construction it opened to the public in 1932, standing at a huge 30 metres (98 ft) tall, without including the 8-metre (26 ft) pedestal it sits on. Located at the peak of the Corcovado mountain and surrounded by the Tijuca National Park, the surrounding views of the city are truly stunning. Designed by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and sculpted by Frenchman Paul Landowski, the famous Jesus statue can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

For some, Brazil’s statue of Christ is the ultimate religious symbol. Others see it as an irresistible tourist attraction. Its image is known throughout the world, but few know the story behind the glorious statue on top of Corcovado mountain.

Up close & personal

There is a trapdoor on Christ's right shoulder.

Once you reach the climax of your journey to the top of the mountain and mount the final steps, you'll be greeted with a something more spectacular than a birds eye view, almost the view of a god itself. Way down you'll see blocks of flats and offices amongst tropical green, the stunning lagoon and huge horse race track. An eclectic mix of the mainly poor in the favelas, the rich in the luxury high-rise apartments, the homeless, famous football stadiums like the Maracanã. Picturesque but polluted Guanabara bay with its dotted islands and many boats. Past the vast sands of Copacabana and Ipanema, the immense Atlantic ocean.

Joining you as you look down at the Marvellous city will be the slightly bowed head of Christ the Redeemer facing the rising sun over the city each morning. Just the head alone is around 12 feet tall, but unlike the incredible natural surroundings of Rio de Janeiro, the man-made statue will not last for ever. Often throughout the year scaffolding is erected to fix or strengthen various parts, pins proclude from its giant hands. Unnoticed by the 5 thousand or so tourists who visit the landmark every day - and see it only from a distance - 85 years of weathering is has taken its toll. Lightning storms have been slowly chipping away at it, year by year. In 2014, crashing bolts of lightning rained over the city and the Christ statue took two direct hits - blowing it's fingertip clean off and searing the back of its head. The incredible image of the lightning striking the hand was photographed and made news all around the world.

What many people don't realise is the 26 foot (8m) scaffold leads to a discreet entrance in the hem of the cloak. Once inside, it has a very different feel, with minimal natural light and only a few bare bulbs. Inside are 12 floor with flights of stairs running through the centre, between the concrete supports that give the statue its strength. It seems like an old abandoned warehouse rather than the magnificent, famous structure it is. Only at the upper level will you find any sign that you're in one of the worlds most famous landmarks, where a roughly shaped heart bulges from the inside of the chest. You can also see the outline of the heart from the outside. At the top of the last set of stairs, a vertical ladder leads to a dark, narrow passageway in the arm and right the way through to the fingers. There's only one, awkward way to inspect the damage caused by any lightning strikes - go out through the top of the 30m-high statue. Workers use ropes to abseil down the torso or nudge along the 28m-span of the arms, with the city sprawled out below them far below.

Getting to Corcovado Mountain

There are three main options to get to the top of Corcovado mountain and see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Here we break them down for you.

Tourist map

Option 1 - Train

Since 01 July 2016 there's been a big change in purchasing tickets for the train. All tickets must have a time previously scheduled. The ticket office of the Corcovado's train is no longer selling tickets to be used on the same day, from now on it will only work to exchange voucher of the customers who already purchased on the internet, in the app or at the authorised points of Sale and outlets.

Since this change, the easiest way to buy a ticket is online - either form the offical ticket office. Check out the official Corcovado train site here.

If you'd rather buy in person for a day in the future, you can get your ticket for the scenic, 20 minute long, Corcovado mountain jungle train ride at the station at Rua Cosme Velho, 513 – Cosme Velho.

Alternatively you can a ticket from many other selling points, check here for a list of all of them.

To get to the start point of the train - Cosme Velho, you can get the 583 bus from Copacabana and the 583, 570 or 584 from Ipanema or Leblon. Keep an eye out for monkeys on the way up, they're normally not far away!

Cost: (as of July 2016)

Round trip cost R$56 adults (R$68 High Season); R$44 children

Train Time

The first train up to Corcovado leaves at 8.20 am.

Option 2: Van

You can also get a van from Largo do Machado Square in front of the church. To get to Largo do Machado the easiest way is by metro/tube although there are lots of buses too. The metro stop holds the same name as the square - ‘Largo do Machado’.

Cost:

Round trip cost R$37 adults (R$45 High Season); R$44 children

Times

Going up: Vans run 8am to 17pm every day.

Coming down: The last van down is between 18pm and 18.30.

Option 3: Van - from halfway up.

You can also drive, get a taxi or make your own way up half the mountain - walking is also a possibility if you're a trekker - and then get a van from outside the former Hotel Paineiras.

Cost:

R$19.36 in low season (R$27.36 High Season) - CASH ONLY

Times

Going up: Vans run 8am to 17pm every day.

Coming down: The last van down is between 18pm and 18.30.


Keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife in Rio - monkeys, toucans and lots more can be seen in lots of places, find out more in our Wildlife section

Tickets for Corcovado Mountain

ticket

You have the option to go by train, van, taxi and van or by foot.

Tickets for can be bought online or at various kiosks. Be sure to book the train in advance during high season and weekends.

Click the Corcovado Mountain link to access the official Christ the Redeemer site and get all the latest ticket and price information.

Discount tickets are available for kids and over 60+. BE SURE TO TAKE ID, THEY CAN BE VERY STRICT ABOUT THIS

Top tips

Avoid weekends and public holidays if possible

Busiest times of the year are Carnaval, Christmas and New Year where you'll find long queues for tickets and vans, as well as an incredibly packed area by the statue itself, making it really difficult to get a good photo.

Pre-book in Busy Season

You can pre-book tickets and times to take the scenic train up to the peak of Corcovado. Be sure to book the train in advance if you go during high season and weekends to avoid dissapointment and long queues.

Check the Weather

Don't waste your time or money when the visibility is bad. Check the weather the day before or have a look up there on the day. As it's a mountain peak, if there's cloud hanging round the statue it could well stay there, you might not get to see the views of the city, or even the most famous statue in Rio de Janeiro itself. (or the world?!)

Top Interesting Facts about the Corcovado Mountain in Rio

  1. The statue is built with over 6 million stones

  2. The stones were brought to the Corcovado mountain all the way from Sweden.

  3. The Christ the Redeemer Statue is the tallest religious statue in the world.

  4. The statue was included in the New Seven Wonders of the World list in 2007.

  5. In order to reach the statue you need to climb 220 steps, however a flight of escalators was built recently to allow its older or weaker visitors to be able to get to the viewing area.

  6. Built exclusively on the money donated by the Catholic community of Brazil

  7. Christ holding open arms was one out of 3 initial architectural drafts options for the statue. The other proposals included Christ holding a globe and a cross.

  8. The best time to visit Christ the Redeemer Statue is evening or nighttime when you can additionally appreciate the stunning lights of Rio. Easter and Christmas time are the busiest times to visit the statue.

  9. There is a trapdoor on Christ's right shoulder.

  10. The stone tiles that cover Christ the Redeemer were one of the last pieces of the design to be finalised.

  11. During various events like the World Cup - Cristo can be found be found lit in various colours, such as a nations flag.


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