It is impossible to imagine a trip to Rio de Janeiro without visiting Christ the Redeemer. Located on top of Corcovado's Mount, the monument is the best-known Brazilian image, famous all over the world. Every year, more than six hundred thousand people are taken to Christ the Redeemer's statue through the almost hundred-year-old Corcovado's Railway, the oldest tourist excursion in the country.
Apart from being amazed by seeing Marvelous City's most beautiful landscapes, visitors will also take an educational trip throughout Brazil's recent history. Corcovado's Train was inaugurated in 1884 by Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II and it has already transported on its cars several distinguished personalities such as popes, kings, princes, presidents, artist and scientists.
This is also an eco-tour. The train cuts through the world's largest urban forest: Tijuca's National Park, a part of the so-called Atlantic Forest, considered as an example of nature conservation.
And everyone who travels on Corcovado's Railway helps take care of the forest: the train is moved by electricity; therefore, it's not contaminating whatsoever. In addition to that, part of the ticket sale will go to fundraising for Brazilian Institute of the Environment (IBAMA) which is in charge of forest conservation issues.
Corcovado's Railway was the first of its kind to use electric energy in Brazil. It's even older than Christ's statue itself and was inaugurated in 1884 by Emperor Dom Pedro II. In fact, the train was used for four consecutive years at that time to carry parts of the monument.
Back in those days, the steam engine was regarded as a real miracle of civil engineering for covering a 3824-meter long railway in a complete steep terrain. However, in 1910, these trains were replaced by electric machines and more recently, in 1979, the company Esfeco took charge of the railway and brought safer and more modern train models from Switzerland.
Christ the Redeemer
The typical Brazilian post-card had its foundation stone placed in 1922 and was inaugurated on October 12, 1931. Christ the Redeemer, icon of Rio de Janeiro city, was chosen out of 21 nominated monuments all over the world as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World through an online and cellular phone messaging election organized by the New Seven Wonders Foundation from Switzerland.
The prize was really deserved. From its 38-meter height – and from Corcovado's Mount's 710-meter tall, Christ the Redeemer is the symbol of faith and happiness of carioca people (native Rio de Janeiro people) and it will turn 82 years old in 2013. Since the year 2000, when it gained a new lighting system, the monument has been going through a upgrading process. The highest point of it was the installation of mechanical access in 2002, including escalators and panoramic elevators.
Situated in the heart of the city, a few minutes away from most part of Rio's neighborhoods, Tijuca Forest is the world's largest urban forest replanted by men. Its reforestation was carried out in XIX century as a pioneer initiative in Latin America, after years of indiscriminate logging and planting, mainly for coffee production. Holding around 3200 hectares, this natural area features hundreds of flora and fauna species which can be only found within the Atlantic Forest.
Tijuca Forest owns locations and historical attractions that are worth a visit, such as: Cascatinha (Little Waterfall), Capela Mayrink (Mayrink Chapel), Mirante Excelsior (Excelsior Viewpoint), Barracão (Big Shack), Gruta Paulo and Virginia (Paulo and Virginia Cave), Lago das Fadas (Fairy's Lake), Vista Chinesa (Chinese Viewpoint) and Açude da Solidão (Solitude Weir), all of them spots often visited by entire families on the weekends.