Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's most famous city, and many
people believe it is the most beautiful
as well. Rio has a majestic beauty, with urban areas nestled
between a magnificent bay and dazzling beaches on one side, and
an abruptly rising mountain range, covered by a luxuriant tropical
forest, on the other. This unique landscape justifies
Rio's fame as the "Marvelous City".
The city was discovered on January (“Janeiro”, in Portuguese)
1502 by Portuguese navigators who mistook the entrance of Guanabara
Bay for the mouth of a river (“Rio”, in Portuguese). In 1763 the
colonial capital of Brazil was transferred from
Salvador to Rio.
In 1808, as Napoleon's armies began the invasion of Portugal,
the Portuguese monarchy was transferred there. After
the Brazilian Independence, in 1822, Rio became the capital of
the country, and remained so until 1960, when
Brasília was inaugurated.
People born in Rio are known as "cariocas". The carioca
is known for his warm character, the welcoming way
he treats foreigners and his permanent fondness for
Cariocas are enthusiastic about
sports in general,
and about soccer in a special way. Rio hosts the world’s
largest soccer stadium, called Maracanã (pronounced "marakanan"), with a capacity of 200,000 seats.
Some of Rio’s
teams are among the best in the world, such as Flamengo,
Vasco da Gama, Fluminense and Botafogo.
These are well known soccer teams from Rio. Click on the logos to see
their websites (in Portuguese)
Beaches in Rio are so beautiful that they have inspired thousands
of songs. Take "The Girl from Ipanema" for example, a song by Tom
Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. This song depicts a gorgeous young
lady who walks to the beach of Ipanema and charms all
Other beaches are equally famous, such as Copacabana
and Leblon. With its worldwide famous beaches open to all
and a wonderful weather throughout the year,
Rio de Janeiro is a city always ready to receive
the millions of tourists who visit it every year.
Rio de Janeiro is also famous for its
Carnival. Despite the
fact that Carnival is celebrated all around Brazil, in Rio the
celebration is known as “the world’s largest party”, involving
literally thousands of people who go to the “Sambódromo”, an avenue
specially built to host Carnival.
But the Sambódromo is just a small part of a huge celebration. During
the three days of Carnival, the whole city
is filled with music, singing, dancing and many "desfiles"-
street parades of brilliantly costumed dancers performing the samba.
Rio provides some of the best known Brazilian postcards, such as the
Sugarloaf, Corcovado (a huge statue of Christ with arms wide open),
the Tijuca Forest, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the
unparalleled fireworks of the New Year’s Day Celebration.
With its 6 million inhabitants, Rio is also an industrial
and financial center, as well as a producer of foodstuffs, building
materials, electrical equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals