Rio’s Christ the Redeemer’s statue, considered one of the seven new wonders of the world, which receives annually 1.8 million visitors, starting this week will undergo a facelift, according to Brazilian Catholic church sources.
Renovations of the 40-meter (131-foot) high statue on the summit of the Corcovado hill (700 meters – 2,300 feet – above sea level), an iconic sight in the heart of Rio do Janeiro will cost US$ 3.8 million and take until June to complete.
The statue will still be accessible during the works, although it will be shrouded in transparent safety sheeting to prevent injuries from falling objects.
Workers will repair the mosaic on its pedestal, clean humidity stains and remove scratches on the 78-year-old monument. The porous stone of which the monument is built is vulnerable to modern pollution.
Last month the Brazilian Catholic Church launched a charity campaign to finance the facelift, which will also receive support from private companies involved in the works.
Rio will be hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 and officials are expecting a surge in visitors to the Christ Redeemer statue.
The Rio archdioceses and the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism completed emergency repairs in 2009 totaling almost a million dollars.
Previously in 2002 three panoramic lifts and mechanical stairs were incorporated as an alternative to the 220 steps of the statue which stands on a pedestal.
The statue of Christ the Redeemer in the Tijuca Park was chosen in 2007 as one of the seven new wonders of the world and since last December has been incorporated to Brazil’s heritage.