Lapa Arches Rio de Janeiro
Maybe you have already heard of a neighbourhood called Lapa? If not, well you should have! Lapa is the most bohemian area of Rio de Janeiro. That’s where you will find the nightlife, restaurants and good options to accommodate while visiting Rio de Janeiro. It’s very easy to know when you have arrived to Lapa. There’s a famous landmark, which is the official image of Lapa aswell. I’m referring to huge white arches, that locals call as Lapa Arches Rio de Janeiro.
Facts of Lapa Arches
Do you recognize the architectural style of the arches from some other historical empire? From Roma maybe? Because actually, Lapa Arches is not the official name of the landmark. Actually it’s called as Carioca Aqueduct. But don’t worry, the locals adapted with the easier name and nowadays everybody calls it as Lapa Arches or just Arcos. Like the official name explains, this landmark is an aqueduct, that was used to transport water from point A to B. The first aqueducts came from the Roman empire.
The lenght of the arches is approximately 270 meters, and the altitude little less than 18 meters. Constructed of 42 roman style arches, Lapa Arches are the biggest and most important colonial construction of Brazil (and Rio de Janeiro)! It was built by the slaves, as most of the other constructions from that period. Material used to the construction were for example tiles, sand, stones and whale oil!
Why Lapa Arches were built in Rio de Janeiro?
Lapa Arches were built on 1723, and on that time the population of Rio de Janeiro was suffering of lack of water. So the idea was to move water from Rio Carioca all the way until a water fountain in Carioca Square. From there the water was spread until Praça XV, where ships embarked. The aqueduct was built between the hills of Santa Teresa and Santo Antonio. The second hill, Santo Antonio, barely exists anymore, because it was partly disassembled during 1950’s.
Later on during the mid-19th century, Rio de Janeiro’s water supply network advanced and there were no usage for the aqueduct anymore. Around this time, also the first public tramways started to appear in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The first tram, pulled by donkeys, was inaugurated 1859 by the emperor Pedro II.
A few years later, steam running trams took place instead of donkeys. Late 19th century Lapa Arches connects to the public tram system, and made it as the principal connection between the city center and Santa Teresa. The yellow tram, or “bondinho” still today passes over the arches, to reach Santa Teresa. This is the only old tramway that still exists in Rio de Janeiro!
Lapa became a famous glorious neighbourhood in the beginning of the 20th century. It was known as a “Montmartre Carioca”, a place full of restaurants and cabarets. A diverse zone that united famous movie stars, important politicians and mafia men. On the other hand, Lapa was also an industrial zone for furnitures, clothing and alimentation.
Lapa Arches Nowadays
Today, Lapa Arches is a famous tourist site and a good reference if you’re lost! But, besides being popular with tourists, Lapa Arches are also a place where loads of homeless people habitate. So, when visiting, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid quiet days (public holidays & Sundays). Consider joining to our Free Walking Tour Downtown & Lapa, where besides learning about the history, walking on a group brings safety!
Looking for an accommodation in Lapa? I have a great recommendation for you! Check out Da Lapa Design Hotel, it’s a beautiful place with great variety of rooms located in the heart of Lapa.
I mentioned earlier, that over the arches still today there is a tramway. This is for the yellow tram, or “bondinho” that passes between Carioca Square and Santa Teresa. Currently, it’s more a touristic attraction than a way of transport for locals. But I recommend the experience! Just one tip for the ones who are travelling on a budget; the ticket for bondinho cost R$20 if you start the ride at Carioca up towards Santa Teresa. But if you do it other way around, and come down from Santa towards Carioca, the trip is for free!
Lapa is the party neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. The best parties are found just around the arches. The streets are full of people, tourists and locals. One amazing thing in Lapa’s nightlife is that there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer a chill night out in a pub, or go crazy in a night club, there is something for you. In my opinion, the best party of Lapa is on the streets. To have a guaranteed fun, join to our Pub Crawl Lapa and we will bring you to the best places of Lapa’s crazy night!