The Christ the King statue (Portuguese: Cristo Rei) is a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon
in the central part of Portugal
. It was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil
), after the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited that monument. The project was inaugurated on 17 May 1959, at a time when Portugal was being ruled by the authoritarian President of the Council of Ministers António de Oliveira Salazar. The giant statue in cement was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World
The monument is erected on an isolated clifftop 133 metres above the sea, overlooking the Tagus River left margin. Originally constructed in the civil parish of Pragal, it is now located within the parish of Almada
, in the municipality of the same name. It is the highest point in the municipality of Almada, on a plateau dominated by the 25 de Abril Bridge
, and close to the Estação Elevatória e Reservatório do Pragal. It is accessible from Lisbon by car (over the 25 de Abril Bridge east of the crossing), by train through station in Pragal and by ferry (the Cacilheiro) over the Tagus, through the port of Cacilhas in Almada.
The monument consists of a trapezoidal pedestal of 82 metres (269 ft) height, formed from four arches with and flat platform, supporting the 28 metres (92 ft) image of Christ. Its base was designed by architect António Lino in the form of a gate, while the statue of Christ the King was designed by sculptor Francisco Franco de Sousa. The four arches of the pedestal are oriented to the directions of the compass rose. The figure of Christ, comparable to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, forms a cross, with the arms extended out facing the city of Lisbon, as if to embrace the city. Due to issues of security and safety, the monument was sufficiently distanced from the cliffs on which it predominates.
At the base of the statue is the public observation deck, at 82 metres (269 ft) that offers panoramic views of the city of Lisbon, the Tagus River and of the 25 de Abril Bridge.
Under the statue, occupying a fifth of the pedestal's height is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz (Our Lady of Peace) with entrance to the northern facade. This space is distinctly different with masonry stone, the northern facade surmounted by cross and the remaining facades occupied by narrow doors.In the interior of two of the pillars is an elevator system with access to the terrace; the statue is 79.30 metres in height, and overlooks the Tagus (192 metres above the river).
To the south of the monument is the Sanctuary building, comprising a rectangular body of three wings, with facades covered in masonry brick. In 1987 there was a plan to construct 18 different buildings and spaces around the monument (that included restaurant, lookouts, a commercial complex, parking area and sanctuary), of which only a few of these structures were built. The most notable was the construction of the visitors' centre and Sanctuary building.