Cristo Rei

Last weekend I visited the Cristo Rei statue which overlooks the city from the Almada district on the south bank of the Tagus river.

Cristo Rei

Standing at a height of 110 metres, this monument to Christ was completed in 1959 and was of course inspired by the Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro. The original idea was formulated after a visit to Rio by the then Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon in 1934, and confirmed by Portugal’s bishops in a meeting in 1940 where they promised to erect the statue should Portugal be forgiven the horrors of the Second World War currently raging in other parts. Cristo Rei The dictator Salazar gave the project the impulse it needed when deciding not to enter the war in order not to offend England, an old ally of Portugal, and he gave it his official blessing.

As expected of a religious monument, at the base there is a place of prayer, a small chapel which includes an image of the Virgin of Fatima. And as expected of Portugal, by the side of the carpark there is a crowded cafeteria for those much-needed drinks and refreshments!

Most visitors to the monument, however, come for the magnificent views to be had from the platform constructed at the top of the pedestal, at the feet of the statue. Accessible via a lift and a short walk up some steps (which do in fact leave many people a little breathless), from here you can look out upon the spectacular 25th of April bridge, Cristo Rei west across the river towards Belém and the Torre de Belém, east across the river towards the Parque das Nações and the Vasco da Gama bridge, or south over the Setúbal peninsula.

Unfortunately I only had a small digital camera with me, so the photos I took of the views across the river aren’t of sufficient quality to post here, but I hope our visitors enjoy the shots of the statue itself, together with Lisbon’s own Golden Gate, the 25 de Abril bridge.

Cost of entrance to the monument is currently €5 and opening hours are from 9am to 6pm.


25th April bridge, Lisbon

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