Tijuca National Park, Rio de Janeiro Parque Nacional da Tijuca
Rua Pacheco Leão, which branches off Rua Jardim Botânico, runs west, skirting the south side of the gardens, into Estrada Dona Castorina, which leads to the Tijuca National Park, the largest urban National Park in Brazil (area 120sq.km/46sq.mi). It consists of three parts: the Morro do Corcovado with its giant statue of Christ, the Morro da Vista Chinesa and the Tijuca Forest. Alternatively the National Park can be reached from the Estrada da Gávea by taking Estrada da Canoa and then Estrada da Gávea Pequena, which forks into Estrada da Boa Vista and Estrada da Vista Chinesa. Boa Vista leads to the main entrance to the Tijuca Forest, Vista Chinesa to the Morro da Vista Chinesa.From the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas the route to the park runs through the Rebouças Tunnel, which links the city's Zona Sul with the Zona Norte, and then continues by way of Cosme Velho, near Corcovado.
Statue of Christ on Corcovado
Statue of ChristFrom Rua do Cosme Velho the Corcovado rack railway (3.5km/2.2mi) chugs up Corcovado ("Hunchback"; 709m/2326ft). On the summit of the hill is a gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) erected in 1931, a world-famed Rio landmark. Including the 8m/26ft high base with its chapel, the statue has a total height of 38m/125ft and weighs 1145 tons. The head and hands were carved from models by the French sculptor Paul Landowsky.
Tijuca ForestThe Tijuca Forest, one of the world's largest forest areas within a city (3300 hectares/8150 acres), was planted in the late 1850s on land which had been destroyed by coffee plantations in order to safeguard the springs which supplied Rio de Janeiro with water. By around 1870 it had 60,000 trees, mostly of native species. The main entrance is on Praça Afonso Viseu (Alto da Boa Vista), in which is a fountain by Grandjean de Montigny (1846). It is reached from the Tijuca district on Avenida Edison Passos or Estradas do Sumaré, da Boa Vista, do Redentor (from Corcovado) or das Furnas.
Largo do Boticário
Largo do BoticárioOn Rua do Cosme Velho, near the station on the Corcovado railway, is Largo do Boticário, one of Rio's most picturesque squares. The colonial-style houses round the square were built in 1831, using material from buildings destroyed during the construction of Avenida Presidente Vargas.
Morro da Vista Chinesa
Vista ChinesaEstrada da Vista Chinesa skirts the Mesa do Imperador viewpoint and at the Morro da Vista Chinesa (380m/1247ft) runs into Estrada Dona Castorina. From the top of the hill there are views of the Municipal Park, the Botanic Garden and a long stretch of the south coast.
Mirante Dona Marta
Mirante Dona MartaIt is also possible to drive up Corcovado on the Estrada das Painieras, which leaves from the station of the rack railway. The road also leads to the Mirante Dona Marta, a viewpoint on a spur of rock 362m/1188ft above Botafogo Bay.
Cascatinha TaunayMayrink ChapelFrom the main entrance Estrada do Imperador leads to the Cascatinha Taunay, a waterfall which plunges down from a height of 30m/100ft. Beyond this is the Mayrink Chapel, which contains pictures by Cândido Portinari (1903-62). From here there are routes to the various features in the forest: to the north the hills of Pedra Azul, Excelsior and Caveira; to the west the caves of Saudade, Paul and Virginia, the Diamantina and Gabriela Falls, the caves of Belmiro and Luís Fernando, the Bico de Papagaio (975m/3199ft) and the Pico da Tijuca (1021m/3350ft), the highest peak in the National Park.
Museu do Açude
Museu do AçudeSet in 150,000sq.m/164,000sq.yds of gardens near the Tijuca Forest, on Estrada do Açude (Alto da Boa Vista), is the Museu do Açude, with the valuable porcelain collections of the West India Company, old views of Rio de Janeiro by Brazilian and foreign artists and azulejos of the 17th-19th centuries.