There's a reason 200 million people from around the world flock to the Christ the Redeemer statue every year. It's arguably the most iconic site in all of Brazil, and it's even more breathtaking in person.
The 100 foot tall, Art Deco sculpture of Jesus Christ with arms outstretched, stands at the top of Corcovado mountain, nearly 2,500 feet above ground. It opened to the public in 1931. On our visit, we met people from all over the Americas and Europe, many of whom are in Brazil to see the Olympics.
"The statue, when you look from a distance, is a cross," explained Historian Alex Pinheiro. He says it was built with the country's primarily Roman Catholic population in mind, but it's not just symbolic.
"This is an actual Catholic sanctuary. Masses are celebrated here, marriages, baptisms. They take place in the Chapel at the base of the monument," Pinheiro said.
Christ the Redeemer was made from reinforced concrete and then covered with thousands of pieces of soapstone. And while you probably can't tell at first glance, there's a hidden door on the right side where VIPs can enter and climb up to the statue's shoulders, hands and even head.