Rio de Janeiro, an introduction

The legendary jet-set destination of the 80s, the ‘Marvellous City’ Rio de Janeiro may be far from its virgin state when the Portuguese arrived at Guanabara Bay in 15th century and thinking that they have arrived to a river mouth on a January day and called the city The River of January, but it still is, in my opinion, one of the top three most beautiful cities in the world. During my first visit to the city I remember myself looking with eyes wide open from the Sugar Loaf Mountain and trying...

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The Museum of Tomorrow: Museu do Amanhã

We are on the seaside of the old town: a long bridge across connects two continents. This is Praça Mauá, the Mauá Square and the building which looks like a metal ship about to sail away to the sea is the Museum of Tomorrow. It bears the signature of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. While designing the museum, he was inspired by the bromeliad plants in the botanical garden located in the south of the city. Walking in the museum, I feel like I am getting inside a spaceship. A globe...

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Teatro Municipal, old town

Rio’s old city, ‘Centro’ is the city center. All the historical buildings of the old city are here. The cobblestones of black and white stone along the beaches are the same. The business centers which are packed in the daytime turn into desolate streets where you cannot come across anybody at night. One night I chanced upon a flamenco troop from Spain performing a show called Carmen at Teatro Municipal. If we imagine the cultural life here which was more vibrant in the second half of 19th...

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More than a coffee break: Confeitaria Colombo

In a young country like Brazil, one doesn’t run into historical buildings very often so it feels so nice to stop at this café, in the heart of the old town in Rio de Janeiro. With its high ceilings, big mirrors on all walls, you feel the 19th century colonial atmosphere. We enjoy sitting here so much that our short coffee break takes longer. We watch the crowd, mostly tourists having their coffee and the special Portuguese Belem pastels, asking waiters to take a picture of them, we enjoy the...

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Urca neighborhood for another view of the marvelous city

Every first visitor to Rio de Janeiro goes directly to two of its most important places: The Corcovado where stands the famous Jesus who embraces the whole city, and Pão de Açucar, the Sugarloaf mountain, both of them definitely worth visiting. The Sugarloaf Mountain takes its name from its similarity to the sugar forms exported during the colonial era. It is the mountain which you see behind the Copacabana beach, and has become iconic, such as the Corcovado. In front of it the Guanabara bay...

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Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro- who was Oscar Niemeyer?

If you think you have spent enough time in Rio’s old town and on its famous beaches that line up along the shore, you may try travelling to the other side of the city and admiring it from there, which would give you the opportunity to visit one of the marks Oscar Niemeyer, the legendary architect, left behind in his country. Many inhabitants of Rio commute on this route to go to work in the morning and get back home in the evening; we take a ferry that departs from the port in the old town...

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Rio beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon

Zona Sul is the southern part of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the most touristic, famous, expensive part of the city since its glorious days of the 80s when the high society made it known to the world as the Marvellous City. Beaches right beneath the wild green mountains follow one another: Leme, Copacabana, Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon… Each one black and white cobble stones, people jogging, cycling, skating day and night, wide yellow sand beaches with soccer, volleyball players all day, a kind...

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Corcovado, Sugarloaf Mountain, Botanical Garden and Santa Teresa hills

When we speak of ‘world cities’ such as Rio de Janeiro, suddenly we have an image in our minds: an iconic image of that city, in Rio’s case The Jesus Christ statue on the top of the mountain which opens his arms and embraces the whole city, or even the whole universe. It is a sublime view from Corcovado: the Atlantic Ocean, the hills covered with the greenest trees, the bays, the beaches which follow one another… Even the ‘favelas’, the shanty towns right behind the luxurious skyscrapers,...

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