Just like the famous Brazilian statue from which it takes inspiration, the Christ the King of Lisbon is a majestic statue representing the image of Christ outstretching his arms towards the city. It is visible from any point of the capital city and it has a great panoramic location; the perfect place to photograph the city from above.
The statue surely has a deep religious meaning for all catholic visitors in Lisbon, but it will surely excite also those who are not believers thanks to its majesty and to the unique view over the city that one can enjoy from its top. Don’t forget to bring a wind jacket if you decide to climb to the top of the monument!
The National Sanctuary of Christ the King is more than a monument; it is a complex of buildings where every single visitor is invited to undertake their personal pilgrimage.
After entering the zone of the Shrine, the visitor must stop at the 14 stations of the Cross before reaching the statue of Christ the King. Along the path visitors are invited to keep quiet. The area near the elevator has a circular shape to communicate the idea of movement towards God, while the climb of the elevator may remind us of our heavenly vocation.
The view that one can enjoy from the monument is absolutely impressive and it covers about 20km. On a clear day you can see the iconic 25th Abril Bridge as well as the historical districts of Lisbon, the surroundings of the capital city all the way to Seixal Bay, the Serra da Arrábida mountains and – if you are really lucky – also Sintra.
After your visit you can keep exploring the Cacilhas area and maybe dine at one of the many fish restaurants in the area.
The National Sanctuary of Christ the King is located at Almada, on the opposite side of the river from Baixa, Barrio Alto, Chiado and Alfama.
It can be easily reached by car by crossing the 25 de Abril bridge. If you haven’t rented a car, you can take a ferry to Cacilhas from Cais do Sodré and a bus that will take you to the shrine in about 10 minutes.
The monument was built by order of the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon Don Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, who wanted a copy of the Brazilian Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro after a trip to Brazil undertook in the Thirties. Portuguese bishops approved the construction of the religious monument in 1937, but the construction of the statue assumed a higher significance after the beginning of WW2.
The campaign of fundraising for the construction of the statue began when the war eded in 1946, reaching out the special attention of Portuguese women who were so grateful to God for having avoided the horrors of a world war (Portugal was under the dictatorship of Salazar and didn’t fight the war).
Also kids were asked to participate to the fundraising with a special campaign named Pedras Pequeninas (small pebbles), that collected the equivalent of about 7500 euro.
The monument was officially inaugurated on the 17th of May 1959. The statue of Christ is 28m high and it rests on a base of more than 80m.
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