Rio de Janeiro Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Rio de Janeiro
Situation and CharacteristicsThe city of Rio de Janeiro, founded on March 1st 1565 on the west side of Guanabara Bay, was capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960, when it gave place to Brasília.
It is 429km/267mi from São Paulo, 434km/270mi from Belo Horizonte and 521km/324mi from Vitória.Railway stationsEstação Dom Pedro II, Praça Cristiano Ottoni (city center)Mauá, Avenida Francisco Bicalho (São Cristóvão)Bus stationsNovo Rio, Avenida Francisco Bicalho 1 (São Cristóvão)Mariano Procópio, Praça Mauá (city center)Menezes Cortes, Rua São José/Rua da Quitanda/Avenida Erasmo Braga (Castelo)AirportsAeroporto Internacional do Rio de JaneiroAeroporto Nacional Santos DumontHistoryThe origins of the city date back to the time between 1555 and 1567 when the Portuguese and the French, with their Indian allies, were fighting for predominance in Guanabara Bay. Portugal was attempting to conquer the whole area, as the only means of gaining control of the French colony of França Antárctica which had been founded by Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon. After the Portuguese victory the settlement was moved to the more easily defensible Morro do Castelo, which no longer exists. The town developed rapidly in the 18th century, when it became the port for the shipment of gold from the mining region, which had hitherto been transported on pack animals to Parati, Angra dos Reis and other small ports. The town's new social and economic importance was reflected in the Viceroys' decision in 1763 to transfer the seat of government of Brazil from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro.Rio de Janeiro is the second major city in Brazil that is noted for its spectacular natural setting, Carnaval celebrations, tourist beaches, and Maracana, one of the world's largest football stadiums. Some well-known landmarks include the enormour statue of Jesus atop Corcovado mountain that has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and Sugarloaf mountain with cable cars for sightseeing.
Rio de Janeiro is perhaps most well-known for its flamboyant, annual Carnival festival which is typically held a week before Good Friday. The Carnival attracts thousands of locals and foreigners alike, who gather to watch the dazzling parade.
Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf)The Sugar Loaf is perhaps Rio de Janeiro's best-known landmark. Between it and the Morro do Urubu is the 100 meter long Praia Vermelha ("Red Beach"). Nearby are a number of units of the Brazilian army's Military Academy and the 15m/50ft high monument to the heroes of Laguna and Dourados. From Praça General Tibúrcio a cableway runs up to the top of the Morro da Urca (215m/705ft), from which a second cableway runs to the summit of the Sugar Loaf (394m/1293ft).
As the largest National Park in Brazil, Tijuca National Park encompasses a giant-sized statue of Christ, the Tijuca Forest and the Morro da Vista Chinesa.
Copacabana, a world-famous beach in Rio, spans 4km across a district in the city that is 100 years old. Tourists can find the best hotels and restaurants in the city in close proximity to Copacabana beach.
Santa TerezaSince 1896 trams have been running over the Arcos da Lapa to Santa Tereza, a district of steep, quiet streets and hundred-year-old houses occupied by artists and intellectuals. The various tram routes lead to a variety of picturesque viewpoints.
Museu Chácara do Céu
Museu Chácara do CéuAmong sights of particular interest in Santa Tereza are the church and convent of Santa Tereza (1720; attributed to Alpoim) and the Museu Chácara do Céu, with an art collection, mainly of modern works, set in a park of 25,000sq.m/30,000sq.yds on the Morro do Curvelo. The 8000 exhibits include Chinese sculpture (17th-19th century) and works by Picasso.
Address: Rua Murtinho Nobre 93, Santa Tereza, Brazil
Arpoador lies to the south of Copacabana.
Parque do Arpoador
Arpoador Parque do ArpoadorBetween the Copacabana and Arpoador promontories is a small beach known as the Praia do Diabo ("Devil's Beach") on which the sea is frequently rough. Beyond the Ponta do Arpoador are the beaches of Castelinho and Ipanema. The Pedra do Arpoador is a very popular viewpoint. In the tree-shaded Parque do Arpoador (area 28,000sq.m/30,600sq.yds) are lakes, a children's playground and an open-air theatre.
IpanemaLeblonThe beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, along which run Avenidas Vieira Souto and Delfim Moreira, are separated by the Jardim de Alá Canal, which drains the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Along the seafront promenade are large hotels, sidewalk cafés and restaurants; and in addition these two districts of the city have a lively cultural life. In Praça General Osório in Ipanema is the Saracuras Fountain (by Mestre Valentim, 1795), and in this square is held Feirarte I, a fair for the sale of antiques, craft products, pictures, etc. In Praça de Quental in Leblon there is an antiques market every Sunday.
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Map of Rio de Janeiro Attractions