One of the many sights near Lisbon is the imposing Cristo Rei statue, located on the south bank of the Tagus River in Almada, next to the Ponte 25 Abril bridge.
The history of the statue
The Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira was fascinated and enthralled by the Brazilian statue of Jesus during a visit to Rio de Janeiro in 1934. At a conference in Fatima in 1940, he and the Portuguese bishops decided that they also wanted to build such an impressive statue in Portugal. It was voted that this plan would be implemented as thanksgiving to God if Portugal was spared from the Second World War.
As early as 1941, the land for the construction of the monument was purchased and after the end of World War II, the construction of the Cristo Rei statue began in 1949. The sculptor Franco de Sousa created the enormous statue and the huge base was designed by the architect António Lino.
After almost ten years of construction, the Cristo Rei statue was solemnly inaugurated on Pentecost 1959. The inauguration was attended by various archbishops and over 300,000 people. In 1984, a further expansion was carried out to build the present reception centre and a chapel.
Seventh tallest statue of Christ in the world
The Cristo Rei statue has a height of 110 meters, of which the base has a height of 82 meters and the statue has a height of 28 meters. The monument is officially no longer located in Lisbon, but in the neighboring town of Almada and is the seventh tallest statue of Christ in the world. It is considered one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Iberian Peninsula.
You can get up to the viewing platform by means of an elevator or two flights of stairs. At the foot of the monument is the main chapel, Capela de Nossa Senhora da Paz, and inside there is another chapel on the upper floor.
In front of the statue you can see the famous Cruz Alta, which was still in the Shrine of Fatima until 2007.