Curiosities Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, or the ” Marvellous City” is one of the most diverse cities of the world! Influenced by the Portuguese colonialists, native indigenous and African slaves it’s a city of rich history. You can probably imagine, that Rio is a place full of interesting facts as well. Read here about the most fascinating Curiosities Rio de Janeiro!
RIO DE JANEIRO THE CAPITAL CITY
Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese in 1500, and since then the country has seen 3 different capitals. The first one was Salvador de Bahia, North-East in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro was capital for almost 200 years (1763 until 1960). In 1960 capital moved to Brasília.
Apart of being capital of Brazil for two centuries, Rio once was a capital of an European country as well! Can you guess which one? Yes, Portugal of course! The Portuguese Royal Family moved to Rio 1808 escaping Napoleon’s revolution, and brought the Portuguese court to Rio de Janeiro. Find out more about the Royal family in Rio on our Free Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro of Downtown and Lapa
The biggest football game ever was played in Rio’s football ghetto, Maracanã Stadium in 1950. It was the World Cup final, Brazil against Uruguay. Brazil was playing in front of 200 000 fans, which is the biggest audience ever recorded on a football game. Brazil lost the final 1-2, and still today Brazilian don’t like to be reminded of this catastrophe.
Four biggest football teams of Rio are Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama. The biggest of these teams is Flamengo, which actually is the biggest team of the world, if we count the fans! In 2017 Flamengo had in total 33 million fans all around Brazil and the world!
CHRIST THE REDEEMER – CURIOSITIES RIO DE JANEIRO
The most famous landmark of Rio is without doubts Christ the Redeemer statue. It’s one of the New Seven Wonders of the World since 2007. Christ the Redeemer project started in 1922 to celebrate Brazil’s 100 years of independency, and finished nine years later, 1931. The statue is the largest art deco statue and the 5th largest Christ statue of the world.
There’s several different options of how to get to the Christ, but my recommendation is the train. There is a train that crosses the Atlantic Rainforest and arrives almost at the footsteps of the statue. This train journey is amazing, inaugurated in 1884, when Brazil still was an imperium! So curious fact, that the train exists longer than the statue itself!
If you are willing to go to Christ the Redeemer have a look on our blog post on How to Get to the Redeemer
Copacabana is the most famous neighbourhood of Rio. The picturesque beach and traditional style bars & restaurants. But did you ever think the name Copacabana? Very different right? Copacabana actually is a word in Quechua, which is the language that the Incas used to speak (and still more than 8 million Quechua speakers in the world). It means a viewpoint of blue lake.
There is a little town in Bolivia, by side of Titicaca lake, called Copacabana. The story says that the name arrived here when some Bolivian & Peruvian sellers travelled to Rio, and built here a little church. This church was referred as Copacabana and it located where today is the Copacabana Fort.
Another famous carioca landscape is the Sugarloaf Mountain. Daily thousands of tourist take the cable car ride up the moutain, to appreciate the most scenic views of Rio! But can you imagine that this mountain actually once was on island? . Sugarloaf, Urca & Cara-de-Cão were three hills, that was referred as Ilha da Trindade, or the Trinity Island, connected to continent late 17th century.
The cable car system was built same year Titanic sank, 1912. It was built by climbers, who one by one climbed the mountain bringing all the equipment up in their backpacks. The cable car of Sugarloaf was the third cable car of the world. Before there were one cable car in Spain, and another one in Switzerland! Sugarloaf and the cable car is also known in Hollywood, as it functioned as a scene in James Bond 007 Moonraker film in 1974.
If you’ve never spent a carnival in Rio de Janeiro, please do it. At least once. It’s one of these things you just have to experience. Rio’s carnival is the biggest carnival on earth, annually it gathers around 5 million people in the city!!
There are many curiosities of carnival. On Carnival Friday, Rio’s mayor handles a “golden key” to Carnival King, or King Momo. This is the official kick-off of carnival, and the city is “governed” by the mysterious King Momo until Ash Wednesday. For cariocas, King Momo symbolizes party and liberty. There is a competition every year for King Momo, and generally who wins is a larger size man, that can samba and has a funny personality. This tradition is going on since 1933 and people take it very seriously here!
Ready to hear more curiosities of the city? Then do at leat one Free Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro! Daily tours on historic center & Lapa, tours on Copacabana & Ipanema and the Olympic Boulevard free tour. Come and learn about the history, culture and lifestyle of Rio in an interactive way.