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Cristo Rei, the Christ Statue of Lisbon

Cristo Rei is one of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments. The statue of Christ stands high above the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary, and depicts Christ with arms raised, blessing the city. Cristo Rei dates from the 1950s and its construction was in reverence for Portugal avoiding the horrors of WW2. Since its consecration in 1959 Cristo Rei has been an important Portuguese pilgrim destination and today is a major religious centre for the diocese of Setubal. Lisbon’s Cristo Rei has many similarities to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, and the Brazilian statue was the original inspiration.

Christ Rei lisbon

Christ Rei statue as viewed from the base of the statue

For visitors, the main draw of the Cristo Rei is the 80m high viewing platform and the amazing panoramic views over Lisbon and the golden suspension bridge. Cristo Rei makes for an enjoyable excursion from Lisbon and is often the sole reason to cross to the southern side of the Tejo Estuary. The journey by public transport is not difficult, requiring a scenic ferry ride and inexpensive bus. This article will provide a tourist guide to the Cristo Rei and includes details about travelling there.

Cristo-Rei Lisbon Tourist Tourist Guide

The grounds of the Cristo Rei is a sprawling complex of religious gardens and pilgrimage buildings, with the towering monument as the focal point for the entire site. These grounds are free to visit and from the cliff top viewpoints there are panoramic views, almost as good as from the top of the monument.

The admission fee to the viewing platform is €6.00/€3.00 (adult/child) and an express elevator whisks visitors up the 82m. On exiting the lift visitors are greeted with a surprisingly large religious gift shop, and it is a further flight of stairs to the viewpoint. The view is simply breath taking. On a clear day the high vantage point makes it possible to see the hills of the Serra de Sintra to the north-west and the Serra de Arrabida to the south.

Lisbon suspension bridge

The Lisbon suspension bridge as viewed from the top of the Christ Rei statue

At the base of the monument is the simplistic Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz and this chapel is free to enter. One of the curiosities of the gardens is the constant low buzzing sound and this originates from the traffic crossing the mesh surface of the suspension bridge. For refreshment there is a large café that serves basic meals, snacks and drinks.

The Cristo-Rei monument is open every day between 9:30 and 19:00 (summer) or 9:30 to 18:00 (winter). For the exact monthly variations and open hours during religious holidays please see the Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei website:

http://www.cristorei.pt/workingHours.aspx

Cristo-Rei is a popular and important pilgrimage destination, for details about large group pilgrimages please see this webpage which contains contact email:

http://www.cristorei.pt/dynamicdata/Welcome.aspx

(links open new windows)

Travel to the Christ Statue of Lisbon

The journey to the statue requires a short ferry ride and bus ride but the total travel time is less than an hour. The ferry ride is an enjoyable activity providing a different view of the Lisbon coastline. The ferry departs from Cais do Sodré train station and metro station (last stop on the green metro line).

The ferry ticket costs €1.25 and is charged to the Viva Viagem ticket, the ticket used by the whole of the Lisbon public transport network. There are approximately three ferry departures per hour with many more at rush hour. The 15 minute ferry journey terminates at Cacilhas ferry terminal.

christ statue

The christ statue is high above Lisbon

From the ferry terminal cross over to the connected bus station and catch the 101 bus. The regular bus service departs on the hour and 30 minutes past the hour between 9:00 and 18:00 every day. Cacilhas bus station is well organised and each bus route is labelled above the bus stands. The return bus ticket costs €2.00 and the paper ticket (not Viva Viagem) is purchased from the driver. The bus 101 bus takes 20 minutes and terminates at the entrance to the Cristo Rei statue. If there is a delay waiting for the bus go and visit the Fernando II Gloria, Portugal’s last sail powered ship which is beautifully resorted.

History of Cristo-Rei Lisbon

The Cristo-Rei statue was constructed during a deeply religious period of Portugal's history, by a population who were grateful for avoiding the horrors of the Second World War. This religious outpouring was embraced by the nationalistic dictatorship lead by Salazar and encourage by the church. This important religious significance of the Cristo-Rei Christ Statue has continued through to today and the site is an important pilgrimage destination but most foreign visitors go for the impressive panoramic views over Lisbon.

 

 

The Cristo-Rei statue is traditionally thought by the Portuguese as being constructed to thank the church for keeping Portugal out of the Second World War but the original inspiration for Cristo-Rei came before the war when Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited to Rio de Janeiro in 1934. The common believe behind the construction of the statue arose because it took until after the war, in the late 40s, to allocate the funds to start construction. The project started in 1950 and it took nine years to complete being inaugurated on the 17th May 1959.

Cristo Rei lisbon

The Christ statue

Cristo-Rei Statue for limited mobility

The entire complex is on a flat summit and there are gravel paths connecting all of the key sights and buildings. Unfortunate the final stairs between the gift shop and the viewing platform has no accessibility lift, but the view from the top of the cliff is just as good. The ferry and bus to Cristo-Rei have ramps or low flooring and the entire journey is possible with limited mobility.

Facts and Figures For the Christ Statue

The statue of Christ the King is 28 meters tall and is perched upon a reinforced concrete pedestal that stands at 75 meters. Each of the arches of the base tower are oriented to the directions of the compass rose. The monument is constructed on the highest point in the district of Almada and is 133m above sea level. The monument lies within the diocese of Setubal but the statues construction was funded by the Catholic Church of Lisbon.

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