Rio De Janeiro Travel Guide

Culture and contemporary life

Rio de Janeiro is a main cultural hub in Brazil. Its architecture embraces churches and buildings dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, blending with the world renowned designs of the 20th century. Rio was home to the Portuguese Imperial family and capital of the country for many years, and was influenced by Portuguese, English, and French architecture.

Rio de Janeiro has inherited a strong cultural role from the past. In the late 19th century, there were sessions held of the first Brazilian film and since then, several production cycles have spread out, eventually placing Rio at the forefront of experimental and national cinema. The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival has been held annually since 1999. Rio currently brings together the main production centers of Brazilian television. Major international films set in Rio de Janeiro include Blame it on Rio; the Oscar award-winning, critically acclaimed Central Station by Walter Salles who is also one of Brazil's best-known directors; and the Oscar award-winning historical drama, Black Orpheus, which depicted the early days of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. Internationally famous, Brazilian-made movies illustrating a darker side of Rio de Janeiro include Elite Squad and City of God (2002 film).

Rio has many important cultural landmarks, such as the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), one of the largest libraries in the world with collections totalling more than 9 million items; the Theatro Municipal; the National Museum of Fine Arts; the Carmen Miranda Museum; the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden; the Imperial Square; the Brazilian Academy of Letters; the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro; and the Natural History Museum.

Tourism and recreation

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's primary tourist attraction and resort. It receives the most visitors per year of any city in South America with 2.82 million international tourists a year. The city sports world-class hotels, approximately 80 kilometres of beachland, and the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains. While the city has in past had a thriving tourism sector, the industry entered a decline in the last quarter of the 20th century. Annual international airport arrivals dropped from 621,000 to 378,000 and average hotel occupancy dropped to 50% between 1985 and 1993. The fact that Brasília replaced Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian capital in 1960 and that São Paulo replaced Rio as the country's commercial center during the 20th century, has also been cited as a leading cause of the decline. Rio de Janeiro's government has since undertaken to modernise the city's economy, reduce its chronic social inequalities, and improve its commercial standing as part of an initiative for the regeneration of the tourism industry.

The city is an important global LGBT destination, 1 million LGBT tourists visit the city of Rio de Janeiro each year.

The Rua Farme de Amoedo located in Ipanema, the city of Rio de Janeiro. The street and nearby beach are remarkable for their popularity in the LGBT community, being famous tourist spot.

Rio de Janeiro is the most awarded destination by World Travel Awards in the South American category as the best destination.

Literature

After Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822, Rio de Janeiro quickly developed a European-style bourgeois cultural life, including numerous newspapers, in which most 19th-century novels were initially published in serial. Joaquim Manuel de Macedo's A Moreninha (1884) was perhaps the first successful novel in Brazil and inaugurates a recurrent 19th-century theme: a romantic relationship between idealistic young people in spite of cruelties of social fortune.

The first notable work of realism focusing on the urban lower-middle class is Manuel Antônio de Almeida's Memórias de um sargento de milícias (1854), which presents a series of picaresque but touching scenes, and evokes the transformation of a town into a city with suggestive nostalgia. Romantic and realist modes both flourished through the late 19th century and often overlapped within works. The most famous author of Rio de Janeiro, however, was Machado de Assis, that is also widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature and considered the introducer of Realism in Brazil, with the publication of The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (1881); he had commented and criticized the political and social events of the city and country such as the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the transition from Empire to Republic with his numerous chronicles published in newspapers of the time. Much of his short stories and novels, like Quincas Borba (1891) and Dom Casmurro" (1899), are placed in Rio.

Libraries

The Biblioteca Nacional (National Library of Brazil) ranks as one of the largest libraries in the world. It is also the largest library in all of Latin America. Located in Cinelândia, the National Library was originally created by the King of Portugal, in 1810. As with many of Rio de Janeiro's cultural monuments, the library was originally off-limits to the general public. The most valuable collections in the library include: 4,300 items donated by Barbosa Machado including a precious collection of rare brochures detailing the History of Portugal and Brazil; 2,365 items from the 17th and 18th centuries that were previously owned by Antônio de Araújo de Azevedo, the "Count of Barca," including the 125 volume set of prints "Le Grand Théâtre de l'Univers;" a collection of documents regarding the Jesuítica Province of Paraguay and the "Region of Prata;" and the Teresa Cristina Maria Collection, donated by Dom Pedro II. The collection contains 48,236 items. Individual items of special interest include a rare first edition of Os Lusíadas by Luis de Camões, published in 1584; two copies of the Mogúncia Bible; and a first edition of Handel's Messiah.

The Portuguese Royal jolie papillon is located at Rua Luís de Camões, in the Centro. The institution was founded in 1837 by a group of forty-three Portuguese immigrants, political refugees, to promote culture among the Portuguese community in the then capital of Império. A history of the Brazilian Academy of Letters is linked to the Royal Cabinet, since the five solemn.

Music

The official song of Rio de Janeiro is "Cidade Maravilhosa", which means "marvelous city". The song is considered the "civic anthem" of Rio, and is always the favourite song during Rio's Carnival in February. Rio de Janeiro is a centre of the urban music movement in Brazil.

Rio was popularised by the hit song "Garota de Ipanema" (The Girl from Ipanema), composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and recorded by Astrud Gilberto & João Gilberto, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. It is also the main key song of the bossa nova, a musical genre that was born in Rio. A genre unique to Rio and Brazil as a whole is Funk Carioca. While samba music continues to act as the national unifying agent in Rio, Funk Carioca found a strong community following in Brazil. With its genesis in the 1970s as the modern black pop music from the United States, it evolved in the 1990s to describe a variety of electronic music associated with the current US black music scene, including hip hop, modern soul, and house music."

Brazil's return to democracy in 1985 after over 20 years of military authoritarian rule, and the subsequent end of rampant censorship, allowed for a new freedom of expression which promoted creativity and experimentation in expressive culture. Commercial and cultural imports from Europe and North America have often influenced Brazil's own cultural output. For example, the hip hop that has stemmed from New York is localized into various forms of musical production such as Funk Carioca and Brazilian hip hop. Bands from Rio de Janeiro also had influence in the mid-to-late development of the Punk in Brazil, and that of Brazilian thrash metal. Democratic renewal also allowed for the recognition and acceptance of this diversification of Brazilian culture.

Rio de Janeiro is also the homeland of the biggest entertainment event in the world, the Rock in Rio Festival, which had editions in 1985, 1991, 2001, 2011 and 2013.

Theatre

Theatro Municipal

Rio Janeiro 's Theatro Municipal is one of the most resplendent buildings in the downtown area of Rio de Janeiro. Home of one of the largest stages in Latin America and one of Brazil's most well known venues for opera, ballet, and classical music. The building was inspired by the Paris Opera of Garnier, and built in 1905 by the architect Francisco Pereira Passos. The statues on the top, of two women representing Poetry and Music, are by Rodolfo Bernadelli, and the interior is rich with furnishings and fine paintings. Founded in 1909, the Teatro Municipal was designed after the famed opera house in Paris with close to 1,700 seats. Its interior includes turn of the century stained glass from France, ceilings of rose-colored marble and a 1,000 pound crystal bead chandelier surrounded by a painting of the "Dance of the Hours". The exterior walls of the building are dotted with inscriptions bearing the names of famous Brazilians as well as many other international celebrities.

Cidade da Música

Cidade das Artes (City of Arts) is a cultural complex located in Barra da Tijuca in the Southwest Zone of Rio de Janeiro, which was originally planned to open in 2004. Formally known as "Cidade da Música" (City of Music), it has an inauguration anticipated for the beginning of 2013.

The project will host the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra becoming a main center for music as will be the largest modern concert hall in South America, with 1,780 seats. The complex spans approximately 90 thousand square metres and also features a chamber music hall, three theaters, and 12 rehearsal rooms. From the terrace there is a panoramic view of the region, from Barra's borught.

The building was designed by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc and construction was funded by the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Sports

On 2 October 2009, the International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rio made their first bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, but lost to Berlin. They later made bids for the 2004 and 2012 Games, but failed to become a candidate city both times. Those games were awarded to Athens and London respectively. Rio will become the first Brazilian and South American city to host the games. In July 2007, Rio successfully organized and hosted the XV Pan American Games.

On 30 October 2007, Brazil was chosen as the official host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro is one of the host cities of the FIFA World Cup, and the final is most likely to be held at Maracanã Stadium. Rio de Janeiro also hosted the 2011 Military World Games from July 15–24, 2011. The 2011 Military World Games were the largest military sports event ever held in Brazil, with approximately 4,900 athletes from 108 countries competing in 20 sports.

Football is the most popular sport in Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is home to five traditional Brazilian football clubs: Vasco da Gama, Botafogo, Fluminense, Flamengo, and América Football Club.

Rio de Janeiro also hosts the MotoGP Brazilian Grand Prix and the world beach volleyball finals. The raceway in Jacarepaguá was the site for the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix from 1978 to 1990 and the Champ Car event from 1996 to 1999. WCT/WQS surfing championships were contested on the beaches from 1985 to 2001. The Rio Champions Cup Tennis tournament is held in the spring. As part of its preparations to host the 2007 Pan American Games, Rio built a new stadium, Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, to hold 45,000 people. It was named after Brazilian ex-FIFA president João Havelange. The stadium is owned by the city of Rio de Janeiro, but it was rented to Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas for 20 years. Rio de Janeiro has also a multi-purpose arena, the HSBC Arena.

The Brazilian Dance/Sport/Martial art Capoeira is very popular. Other popular sports are beach football, beach volleyball, Beach American Football, footvolley, surfing, kite surfing, hang gliding, motor racing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sailing, and competitive rowing. Another sport that is highly popular in beaches of Rio is called "Frescobol", a type of beach tennis. Rio de Janeiro is also paradise for rock climbers, with hundreds of routes all over the city, ranging from easy boulders to highly technical big wall climbs, all inside the city. The most famous, Rio's granite mountain, the Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar), is an example, with routes from the easy third grade (American 5.4, French 3) to the extremely difficult ninth grade (5.13/8b), up to 280 metres.

Horse racing events are held Thursday nights and weekend afternoons at the Jockey Club. An impressive place with excellent grass and dirt tracks, it runs the best horses in the nation. Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro started in mid-1970s and quickly proved to be well-suited for this town, because of its geography: steep mountains encounter the Atlantic Ocean, which provide excellent take-off locations and great landing zones on the beach.

One of the most popular sea sports in the city is yachting. The main yacht clubs are in Botafogo area that extends halfway between Copacabana and the center of town. Though the most exclusive and interesting is probably the Rio Yacht club, where high society makes it a point to congregate. Most yacht clubs are open to members only and gate crashing is not easy. Copacabana is also a great place to do surfing as well as "Arpoador of Ipanema" beach and "Praia dos Bandeirantes". The sea at these beaches is rough and dangerous, the best surfers from Brazil and other sites of the world come to these beaches to prove themselves.

Cultural events

New Year's Eve

Every December 31, 2.5 million people gather at Copacabana Beach to celebrate New Year's in Rio de Janeiro. The crowd, mostly dressed in white, celebrates all night at the hundreds of different shows and events along the beach. It is the second largest celebration only next to the Carnival. People celebrate the New Year by sharing chilled champagne. It is considered good luck to shake the champagne bottle and spray around at midnight. Chilled champagne adds to the spirit of the festivities.

Carnival

Carnaval, is an annual celebration in the Roman Catholic tradition that allows merry-making and red meat consumption before the more sober 40 days of Lent penance which culminates with Holy or Passion Week and Easter. The tradition of Carnaval parades was probably influenced by the French or German courts and the custom was brought by the Portuguese or Brazilian Imperial families who had Bourbon and Austrian ancestors. Up until the time of the marchinhas, the revelry was more of a high class and Caucasian-led event. The influence of the African-Brazilian drums and music was more noticeable from the first half of the 20th century. Rio de Janeiro has many Carnaval choices, including the famous samba school (Escolas de Samba) parades in the sambadrome exhibition center and the popular blocos de carnaval, street revelry, which parade in almost every corner of the city. The most famous ones are:

Cordão do Bola Preta: Parades in the centre of the city. It is one of the most traditional carnavals. In 2008, 500,000 people attended in one day. In 2011, a record 2 million people attended the city covering three different metro stations!
Suvaco do Cristo: Band that parades in the Botanic Garden, directly below the Redeemer statue's arm. The name translates to 'Christ's armpit' in English, and was chosen for that reason.
Carmelitas: Band that was supposedly created by nuns, but in fact is just a theme chosen by the band. It parades in Santa Teresa, a bairro from where one can see beautiful panoramas.
Simpatia é Quase Amor: One of the most popular parades in Ipanema. Translates as 'Friendliness is almost love'.
Banda de Ipanema: The most traditional in Ipanema. It attracts a wide range of revellers, including families and a wide spectrum of the LGBT/Queer population (notably spectacular drag queens).

In 1840, the first Carnaval was celebrated with a masked ball. As years passed, adorned floats and costumed revelers became a tradition among the celebrants. Carnaval is known as a historic root of Brazilian music.


source: Wikipedia

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