Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Closed Due to Heavy Rains

Rio de Janeiro, Travel News — By Jennifer Pappas on April 20, 2010 at 9:54 am

2010 has not been a good year for South American tourist attractions. Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer is the second attraction (after poor Machu Picchu) that has been forced to close due to heavy flooding. Record-setting rains in Rio have damaged access roads, leaving behind heavy debris and making safe passage nearly impossible. Mudslides haven’t helped the matter much either. The trolley line that carries the majority of visitors up Corcovado Mountain will also remain closed. Officials aren’t sure how long it will take to remove all the dirt, trees and rocks but some estimates say it could be six months before access is restored.

photo courtesy of Steve Yennie

Several days after the closure of the statue was announced, vandals broke in and covered the head, arms and chest with graffiti. The statue has been under renovation since last month and surrounded by scaffolding, which the vandals used to climb up, cans of spray paint in tow. Crude phrases including “When the cat’s away, the rats will play”, refer to unsolved crimes and recent violence throughout the city. Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes has called the unspeakable act a “crime against the nation”.

Yet disappointed tourists and marred landmarks could be the last thing on Brazilians’ minds. 247 people have been reported dead in these most recent floods with 200 (mainly in the favelas) still missing. Meanwhile, authorities have begun tearing down steep, unstable hillside homes and evicting their residents, rendering nearly 4,000 families homeless.

The 130-foot tall Christ the Redeemer, believed to be the largest Art Deco statue in the world attracts two million tourists each year and is one of the most iconic images of Brazil. It was named one of the new wonders of the world in 2007.
Image: Christian Haugen / Flickr
Tags: Brazil, Christ the Redeemer, flood, landmark, Rio de Janeiro, statue

    1 Comment

  • dejota says:

    fui uma vez naquela estatua, é tão maravilhosa a vista que se tem la do alto é como se você estivese no céu!!! Simplesmente linda aquela cidade. I went once there Its just amazing to be in that place!!!! That city is simply wonderful, If you never visit Rio, u just should go before u die

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