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RIO  DJANEIRO  -  BRAZIL


Rio by nightRio de Janeiro is a must see when visiting Brazil. This bustling city is famous for its yearly Carnival, the Christ, Ipanema Beach, Corcovado, Maracana soccer stadium, its outstanding food and entertainment establishments and its people. Rio de Janeiro is one of the entry points for international flights. A few days in this city will surely give you something to talk about once back at the office.
 

Tucked between the mountains and the sea, Rio de Janeiro is an unusual city, closely linked with the Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains, soccer, samba and the attractive tanned and vivacious people. It is certainly the part of Brazil that is best-known world-wide. At the very mention of the country even those with only the slightest knowledge of Brazil, automatically associate it with the "fabulous city". The capital of Rio de Janeiro is endowed with a natural beauty that ranges from the beaches that indent the coastline, such as Arpoador, Ipanema and Copacabana, to the peaks that punctuate its landscape, such as the Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountains. Rio contains the largest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca Forest, which was completely replanted during the second half of the nineteenth century. The city is still one of the main sources of national culture and is the cradle of three types of Brazilian music - the choro, the samba and the bossa nova.
 

Rio de Janeiro is also the capital of the state of the same name - an exuberant state with captivating natural beauty, shaped by its unusual geography and by the effervescence of its inhabitants who manage to combine the art of working and playing to the absolute maximum.
 

For almost two and a half centuries, from 1716 to 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro has been the capital of the Colony, the Empire and the Brazilian Republic. Like a prima Donna it has reigned over politics, the economy, culture and as the centre of the country's financial and social scene. With the transfer of the capital to Brasília in 1960, Rio lost its political status but not its charm or the title of "fabulous city". It has retained its integrity as a centre of culture and tourism and has continued to be the main gateway for incoming foreign visitors.

 

Many areas of the state are just as attractive as its capital. The coastline is one of the most beautiful in Brazil with bays, inlets and beaches of all kinds to suit all tastes. The beaches stretch from the Costa do Sol, north of Rio, to the Costa Verde, south of the capital. Inland, amid the exuberance of the forests is the mountain region with towns such as Teresópolis, Nova Friburgo and Petropolis, one of Brazil's most important historical towns where the Brazilian Imperial family came to take their ease during the nineteenth century. Also inland is the Itatiaia region where the country's first national park was created in 1937 and the location of the highest point of the state, Pico das Agulhas Negras, rising 2,787 meters high.

 

Many attribute the exuberant and infectious happiness of Rio's citizens to the city's pulsating night-life, just as they attribute the poetry t
hat springs from its corners and the flourishing of the arts to Rio de Janeiro's privileged geography. Side by side with this picture postcard city is another one set on the hillsides - the land of the overcrowded favelas and poverty but also the birthplace of Brazil's most popular festival, the annual carnival, known as Carnaval, drawing together rich and poor and all races to enjoy themselves in the clubs and on the streets with the added attraction of the world's largest samba parade that takes place in the Sambódromo, built in 1982 and designed by the Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer.
 

Forty percent of the state's population is concentrated in the capital and spread over more than one hundred and fifty districts. Some of these are of the traditional kind such as Santa Teresa which is reached by crossing an ancient aqueduct known as Arcos da Lapa. Other neighborhoods are modern urban centers such as Barra da Tijuca on the waterfront. In addition, Rio de Janeiro has some of the most prestigious universities in Brazil with more than sixty post-graduate research centers covering different areas of learning.
 

In the downtown area, the monuments and public buildings dating back to the time when Rio was the capital of the Colony, the Empire and the Republic of Brazil are amongst the country's finest cultural inheritances. The golden age of the city of Rio de Janeiro has left a legacy in the form of numerous major works of art and public buildings, such as the former headquarters of the Bank of Brazil, nowadays a dynamic cultural centre, the Municipal Theatre, the National Museum of Fine Art, the Itamaraty Palace, once seat of the republican government as well as the Foreign Office, the National Museum at Quinta da Boa Vista (former imperial residence), the National History Museum and the National Library, as well as monuments and beautiful examples of religious architecture, such as the Candelária and the São Bento Monastery.


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