The most famous sight - Christ the Redeemer statue
We travelled on a rack tram through the Tijuca Forest, stopping at Paineiras on the way up Corcovado to see the statue. The railway line was opened in 1884 and was the first railway to be electrified in 1910. Sitting on top of the 710m mountain, the 38m high Christ the Redeemer statue was inaugurated in October 1931 and is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are wonderful views of the entire city and mountain ranges and carpets are provided for those who want to lie on their back to photograph the statue.
An extraordinary building. Built between 1964 and 1979, it is a conical mass of concrete that looks like a Mayan pyramid. It has a standing capacity for 20,000 people. The cathedral’s beauty lies in its interior, where four 64m vivid color rectilinear stained glass windows rise from floor to ceiling, allowing the sunlight to be projected in stunning different colors, depending on time of the day. Stunning when you are inside it.
Carioca Aquaduct (known as the Arcos de Lapa)
We were warned to be ‘on guard’ and our guide didn’t want us our of her sights – apparently it’s a very dangerous area. However, this history of it is that in the past the city centre of Rio was surrounded by swamps with bad quality water that wasn’t suitable for drinking. Drinking water had to be manually carried from streams far away from the city. In 1723, the aqueduct was completed and fresh water could finally be delivered to the city centre from the Carioca river. At the end of the 19th Century the water in the river was insufficient so alternative supply was found and the aquaduct was shut down. However, in 1896 it was repurposed to support the tramway that connected the city centre to Santa Teresa, a neighbourhood built on a hill. Now, at weekends hundreds of people gather in the plaza under the arches to party with music and dancing until sunrise. Maybe that is why it has such a bad reputation?
This square has the city’s largest concentration of pre-20th century buildings, including the 1st Royal Palace, built in the 1700’s as the residence of the Governors of colonial Brazil. From 1808 it was used as a palace by King John V1 of Portugal and subsequently by the Kings of the Brazilian Empire.
Sao Bento Monastery
This Benedictine church and abbey was founded in 1590 although its stunning baroque gold interior dates from the 1600s. It is not usually accessible to tourists but we were very lucky that our Guide managed to get us a visit.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Sugar Loaf Moutain is a boulder-shaped mountain at the south end of Botafogo beach with views over Rio de Janeiro from the mouth of the Guanabara Bay. We travelled on 2 cable cars to get to the summit. The midway station has walkways, cafes and shops and the summit has a restaurant and bars. We enjoyed the spectacular views at sunset.
Founded in 1808 it preserves nearly 8,000 species of exotic plants including large displays of orchids and bromeliads, an impressive avenue of royal palms and pau-brasil trees. and a Japanese garden. Because of the climate the plants are huge. It’s a wonderful gardens to stroll around.
Largest Street Art Mural in the WorldSunning work of art! The world-renowned Eduardo Kobra’s breathtaking 32,300-square-foot graffiti wall took over Rio’s Olympic Boulevard and stands as a legacy of the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Kobra worked for 12 hours a day, for two months, so he could complete Etnias just before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. About 100 gallons of white paint, 400 gallons of colored paint, and 2,800 cans of spray paint were used by Kobra and his team. The work depicts a Tajapo boy from Brazil, a Mursi woman from Ethiopia, a Kayin woman from Thailand, a Supi man from Northern Europe, and a Huli man from Papua New Guinea. They represent humanity’s common ancestors, the indigenous people from America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
(The Coloured Steps)
Jorge Selarón a Chilean artist, created one of Rio’s most distinctive landmarks by decorating 215 steps with brightly coloured tiles and mirrors. Selarón was primarily a painter in 1990 when he started a small scale renovation of the steep steps that ran outside his house up into the Santa Teresa district. But the part-time project became a life work. Sometimes selling his paintings to fund his obsession, he changed the tatty path, tile by tile, into a blaze of colour. Selarónwas found dead on the steps in January 2013 with no verdict on the cause of death.
Museum of Tomorrow It’s a futuristic looking museum that points diagonally into the sky from the old port of Rio de Janeiro. It looks like a cross between a solar-powered dinosaur and an air conditioning unit. Mixing science and art, the museum focuses on the need for change if mankind is to avoid climate disaster, environmental degradation and social collapse.
Copacabana BeachWe stayed in the Porto Hotel overlooking the 4Km long beach of Copacabana. The beach is full of people, mostly in scant beach wear, doing various activities: over-amped soccer players and basketball players, cariocas (residents of Rio) and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks, and beach vendors shouting out their wares among the tanned beach bodies.