A Small Brazilian Town Has Built a 143-Foot Statue of Jesus—Even Taller Than Rio’s Iconic ‘Christ the Redeemer’

The work is now the third-tallest statue of Jesus in the world, set to officially open to visitors in 2023. 

Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.
Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.

Brazil’s monumental appreciation for Jesus monuments just got a whole lot bigger. 

A new 143-foot-tall statue, Cristo ProtetorChrist the Protectordesigned by father-and-son duo Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, was finally completed on April 22. But visitors will have to wait to experience the holy statue in situ until the tourist complex being built around it is complete. 

The new holy monument, located in Rio Grande do Sul, some 975 miles southwest of Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer, is a remarkable attraction for the small Brazilian town of just 22,880 people. 

Christ the Protector, which has a wingspan of more than 90 feet, was built with funds raised by the Associação Amigos de Cristo (Friends of Christ Association) at a total cost of $350,000.

View of the Christ the Protector statue under construction in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on October 29, 2021. Photo by Silvio Avila/AFP via Getty Images.

View of the Christ the Protector statue under construction in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on October 29, 2021. Photo by Silvio Avila/AFP via Getty Images.

The tourist complex will include shops, restaurants, and viewing points for visitors to film and photograph the surrounding valley. It will even include a glass-encased opening at the center of the heart-shaped opening in Jesus’s chest, accessible by elevator. 

Even without its pedestal, Christ the Protector is among the tallest statues in the world (at 123 feet). It is followed by Poland’s Christ the King and Bolivia’s Cristo de La Concordia, both standing at 108 feet. Rio’s Christ the Redeemer clocks in at a respectable 98 feet tall. 

Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, <em>Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector</em>. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.

Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.

Including pedestals, only the Jesus Buntu Burake statue in Sulawesi, Indonesia, at 172.4 feet, and Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Poland, which stands at 172.2 feet, are taller. (Not to be outdone, Mexico says that it is planning a statue that will stand even taller, at 249 feet, according to Designboom.) 

The local government of Encantado and the surrounding area of Vale do Taquari said it had high expectations for the new attraction. 

Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, <em>Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector</em>. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.

Genesio Gomes Moura (Ceara) and Markus Moura, Cristo Protetor—Christ the Protector. Photo by Konce Agência, courtesy of the Associação Amigos de Cristo.

Even prior to its completion, local officials said that more than 37,500 people had come to visit, each paying about $4 for guided tours of the statue as it was being built. 


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