Corcovado Mountain towers over the vibrant Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Originally, the mountain was called Pinaculo da Tentacao, which translates to ‘Pinnacle of Temptation’. This has Biblical references and was chosen by the Portuguese settlers of centuries ago. Later, it was renamed Corcovado, which refers to its ‘hunchback’ shape.
The Corcovado Mountain is situated within the Tijuca Forest National Park, enjoying a degree of protection. It is 2 300 feet (or just over 700 metres) high.
However, this mountain is notable, not only for its natural beauty and prime positioning, but also because it is the foothold of the globally recognised statue called Christ The Redeemer. This statue is 100 feet (or 30 metres) high and depicts Jesus Christ standing over the city of Rio de Janeiro with his arms outstretched.
Park Lage, touristic attraction surrounded by forest right under Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil.
Roads originally built for the railroad in 1884 became a fundamental part of providing transport to the builders of the statue. Today, Christ The Redeemer continues to be one of Brazil’s primary tourist attractions and these roads are still being used to transport visitors up and down the Corcovado Mountain. Travellers are transported via electrically-powered trains, which carry about 360 people up and down the mountain every hour. The train trip itself is beautiful and scenic, showcasing the forests and granite rocks of the mountain. During peak seasons, visitors may be expected to wait for some time for transport up the mountain.
Once at the top, there is a small souvenir shop as well as a chapel that can accommodate more than 100 people. The views of Rio de Janeiro, the surrounding mountains, the beaches, the ocean and the forests are awe-inspiring.
The more active visitor may prefer to climb to the statue at the top of the Corcovado Mountain. It is important to note, though, that the more than 50 routes are only suitable for avid climbers, and do not substitute as hiking trails. They are challenging, and can be very dangerous to those not accustomed to climbing.
Christ The Redeemer was the brain child of Carlos Oswaldo in 1921. Initially, the figure was drawn carrying a cross. However, the engineer (Heitor da Silva Costa) and sculptor (Paul Landowski from Poland) changed the design to omit the cross. The statue was sculpted in France. It is made from soapstone, as this is durable and resistant to harmful damage from the elements (wind, rain, and so on). Sculpting took five years, after which construction began, which added another five years to the project. The statue was finally inaugurated in October, 1931, and is owned by the Catholic Church.