Rio de Janeiro
Background information

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Rio de Janeiro (meaning River of January in Portuguese), pron. IPA ['ʁiu dʒi ʒa'neʲɾu]) is the name of both a state and a city in south-eastern Brazil. Commonly known as just Rio (particularly in English and by its inhabitants), the city is famous for its spectacular natural setting, wild Carnival celebrations, samba and other music, hotel-lined tourist beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon, pavements decorated with black and cream swirl pattern mosaics, and the easy-going lifestyle of its inhabitants.

Rio de Janeiro, capital city of the state of the same name, is situated at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, forming an amphitheatre around the Bay of Guanabrara on the Atlantic Ocean. Amerigo Vespucci arrived here for the first time on 1 January 1502, leading a Portugeses expedition who, mistaking the bay for the mouth of a river, gave the area the name ' January River'. 'Carioca', was the name given to the Europeans, by the local Indios, a nick-name, that even today is still used by the inhabitants of Rio. It's impossible to accurately calculate the number of residents, those officially counted during the census in 2000, were 5,580,544, but the inhabitants of the Favelas, who may amount to the same number , constantly refuse to take part in any form of census. Rio is one of the major economical and cultural centres of the South American Continent, an immense city, chaotic and contradictory, which symbolises and perfectly synthesizes the situation of the entire nation, both from the historical point of view and the a social point of view; Rio a city with a thousand faces.

Today the traces of Rio's historical past have all but disappeared under a blanket of urban growth, comprising a jungle of skyscrapers and enormous buildings. This image of a rich and well-to-do city co-habits with the extreme poverty of the Favelas areas. In Rio, well dressed citizens mingle with a multitude of begging children trying to make a living and elegant public buildings stand alongside squalid shacks. Considered one of the most fascinating cities in the world for its geographical position between sea, tropical forest and mountain ranges, Rio is one of the prestigious sites for international tourism. The centre, is located in the northern part of the city, around the two important principal streets Avenida Presidente Vargas and Avenida Rio Branco. Here the historic Rio has in part survived and can be seen in the important religious buildings in Morro de Sao Bento. The Benedictine Baroque Monastery, boasts a 17th century façade and a beautiful interior with an altar and balustrade in jacaranda wood. Other interesting buildings include: the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Candelaria; the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo; the ancient city cathedral and the Royal Chapel, where the Brasilian Emperor Pedro I and II were crowned. The oldest religious building in Rio, the 17th century Convent of Sant Antonio, is situated in Largo Carioca and has the Igreja da Ordem de Sao Francisco de Penitencia standing beside it, a splendid example of late Baroque. The imposing Nova Catedral ( Catedral Metropolitana ) , situated a short distance away, was erected between 1964 and 1976 and stands as an architectural contradiction which characterizes the city.

Some of the profane architectural buildings in Rio are worthy of note, including the Paco Imperial, the Municipal Theatre, inaugurated in 1909, the National Library and the Carioca Aqueduct or as it is otherwise called Arcos da Lapa e Santa Tereza, a magnificent structure of 42 arches, built on two levels, which once served to supply water to the city's fountains and which today supports the tram line, which links the centre to the Santa Teresa district. This colurful district with its windy roads is home to numerous bars, restaurants and night clubs.

Considered the cultural capital of Brasil, Rio is the site of over 50 museums , some of which have great importance. In particular, the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, in Avenida Rio Branco, which possesses an important collection of international and Brazilian art. The Museu de Arte Sacra displays Brazilian art on a religious theme. The Museu Nacional, situated in Quinta da Boa Vista, houses a vast collection of anthropological and natural science objects.

Rio is particularly famous for its 90 km of white sandy beaches, the most important of which are, Ipanema and Copacabana, both of which are located in the northern part of the city. In reality the beaches are far less attractive than one imagines: enormous buildings and hotels encumber both beches, not to mention the high level of pollution of both the water and beach. They are however fantastic, lively meeting places, characterised by varied and multi-coloured crowds.

Geography[edit | edit source]

(See also Rio de Janeiro:Geography)

History[edit | edit source]

(See also Rio de Janeiro:History)

Economy[edit | edit source]

Other places named Rio de Janeiro[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Subject-specific pages that have been started or that we hope will soon be written about Rio de Janeiro

(please click to visit or start page)

  • Don´t leave Rio without visiting this amazing new wonder of the world at Corcovado Mountain.

The tour starts at El Misti hostel rio de janeiro and takes you to the worldwide famous Cristo Redentor. The program includes transfer in/out + entrance. Duration: approximately 3 hours.

Days & Times: Every morning & afternoon Duration: Aproximately 3 hours Minimum required: 2 passengers Rate per person: R$60 (pick up at El Misti hostel & pousada rio de janeiro + entrance)

External links[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.