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Rio de Janeiro

Brazil facts & history in brief

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's second-largest city, the capital of Rio de Janeiro State, and the country's leading cultural and tourist centre in south-eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean.
The name, Portuguese for "River of January", refers to its location on the Guanabara Bay and, often called Rio, is a major port.
Rio was the capital and dominant city of Brazil from 1763 to 1960.
In the 1960s the Government administration shifted to Brasília and its leading manufacturing and business centre to São Paulo, but it remains as a vibrant lively big city, the inhabitants of which are known as Cariocas (A music and dance variation of the samba).
Rio is an important seaport linking the coastal cities of north-eastern Brazil and the more economically developed areas of the south-east, highways, railways, and airlines also link Rio to the rest of Brazil.
Rio is an important manufacturing and service centre for such goods as processed food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal products, ships, textiles, clothing, and furniture.
Tourism and entertainment are also important aspects of the city's economic life.
Great numbers of people take part in Rio's colourful annual carnival, which occurs on the eve of Lent.
Most of the industries are located in the less scenic north, with large residential districts.
Poorly constructed housing called favelas are located on hillsides.
The fashionable residential areas are in the south, near such Atlantic beaches as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.
Newly constructed tunnels and a bridge stretching 14 km across Guanabara Bay to Niterói have eased commuter traffic somewhat.
The famous landmarks of Rio are the large statue called Christ the Redeemer, which is on Corcovado Mountain, the Sugarloaf Mountain, situated on a peninsula in Guanabara Bay, and many old churches and other colonial structures that contrast sharply with the modern architecture that lines Copacabana beach and many other places.
The first Portuguese explorers landed on the present day site of Rio in 1503.
In 1555 French colonists established the first settlement here.
The native, Tupi Indians lived in the region at the time.
In 1567 the Portuguese expelled the French and in the 18th century, Rio became a hub of transport and wealth when the gold mines of the Minas Gerais area drew thousands of people here.
In 1763, the capital was moved here from Bahia (Salvador).
From 1808 to 1821 Rio was the seat of the exiled royal family of Portugal, and in 1822 it became the capital of the independent Brazilian Empire.
In 1889 it was made the capital of the republic of Brazil.

We spent some very memorable time here.
Hui Chin and I went for a sightseeing tour of the city as we usually do.
The bus took us up to the Statue of Christ The Redeemer.
An awesome experience, especially being practising Catholics.
The all around view of Rio was amazing, even though it wasn't a very clear day.
You know, pollution and all that.
The Saint Sebastian Cathedral, a very modern looking , beautiful church.
By a couple of cablecars we ascended to the top of the Sugarloaf.
Whacko, another tantalising view of Rio, through the haze.
Lapa Arches, the Carioca Aqueduct as it is usually known.
We visited the Parade grounds and stands, Santa Teresa trolley Car, Flamengo Park, Boticario Square, Gloria Church, Sao Bento Monastery, Ilha Fiscal, Copacabana Fort.
We also visited Copacabana and most of the other beaches of Rio.
We had a beautiful BBQ Buffet Lunch at the Churrascaria Steak House at Carretao Lido, it was very nice and beautifully served.
(I know, I said buffet and it was and it was served, try it.)
Hui Chin and I also spent a lot of time walking around and seeing the sights and the people of Rio.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

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