Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival.
Rio was Brazil's capital until April 21st, 1960 when Brasilia became the capital.
Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, the stadium of Maracanã and Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) are all famous landmarks of the "marvelous city" (cidade maravilhosa).
Rio may be most famous for it's elaborate annual Carnaval celebration, featuring stunning floats aboard which the city's many Samba schools demonstrate their talents in glittering costumes.
The city is divided into four zones:
Centro: The city's financial and business center. Visitors to Centro can also visit many historic buildings, such as the Municipal Theatre, National Library, National Museum of Fine Arts, Tiradentes Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and Pedro Ernesto Palace.
Zona Sul (South Zone) including Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema, as well as the districts along Flamengo Beach. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountains.
Zona Norte (North Zone). The Maracanã stadium, Quinta da Boa Vista Park with the National Museum the city's Zoo, the National Observatory and more.
Zona Oeste (West Zone), a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches.
As an enormous city, it’s not surprising that Rio de Janeiro has many distinct parts. There’s the downtown area that has no beach and resembles large downtowns in other Latin American cities. Then there are all the various residential neighborhoods, which range from opulent to frighteningly impoverished. In fact, some of the posh areas are very close to the favelas (slums) in a way that you rarely see elsewhere. The last type of area in Rio are the beach-resort districts, with Copacabana and Ipanema being the most famous, and these are the areas where most tourists spend most of their time
Rio de Janeiro will also host many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup games, including the final, and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics which will mark the first time that either the Summer or Winter Olympics have been hosted by a South American country.
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