The structure of a giant new statue of Jesus Christ has been completed in southern Brazil - with the final design set to rise even higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
A head and outstretched arms were added to the statue this week, which has been under construction since 2019 in the city of Encantado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.It will stand even taller than the already world-renowned Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, which was built 90 years ago and will undergo a restoration later this year.
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.
The statue, to be named Christ the Protector, will stand 43 meters (140 feet) tall, including its pedestal, making it one of the world's tallest statues of Christ with outstretched arms.
It will measure 36 meters from hand to hand, and will have an interior elevator and an observation deck near the top.Christ the Redeemer, by comparison, measures 38 meters high, pedestal included, and spans 28 meters hand to hand.
Encantado, a city of 22,000, lies 145 kilometers (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 (£256,000) 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.