The Christ statue being built in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil.
A giant new statue of Christ being constructed in southern Brazil will rise even higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro.
A head and outstretched arms were added this week to the statue, which has been under construction since 2019 in the city of Encantado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Completion of the monument is scheduled for late this year, according to the Association of the Friends of Christ, which is coordinating the work.
"It is a day for celebration, for devotion," said Gilson Conzatti, a local councillor and son of Adroaldo Conzatti, the politician who conceived the idea.
The elder Conzatti, who was the city's mayor, died in March from complications of Covid-19.
The statue, to be named Christ the Protector, will stand 43 metres (140 feet) tall, including its pedestal, making it one of the world's tallest statues of Christ with outstretched arms.
It will measure 36 metres from hand to hand, and will have an interior elevator and an observation deck near the top.
Christ the Redeemer, in comparison, measures 38 metres high, pedestal included, and spans 28 metres hand to hand. It will mark its 90th birthday this October.
Encantado, a city of 22,000, lies 145 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of the state capital Porto Alegre.
The project is intended both to inspire faith and encourage tourism to the area, its promoters say.
A father-son team of sculptors, Genesio and Markus Moura, are overseeing the work.
The project's budget of 2 million reals ($350,000) is being entirely financed through donations, according to the volunteer-based Association of the Friends of Christ.
The group is continuing to raise funds. Its website even features the raffle of a car.
The all-night parades by the city's top samba schools on Friday and Saturday are the first since February 2020, marking a turning point for Brazil, where COVID-19 has claimed more than 660,000 lives — second only to the United States.
Christ the Protector is 43 metres (141 feet meters) high, compared to Rio's statue, which is 38 metres (125 feet), including in both cases their pedestals.
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