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Rio De Janeiro Facts

Rio De Janeiro Facts

Hi guys, today I decided to share some Rio de Janeiro facts, which we love telling on our FREE WALKING TOURS in Rio de Janeiro!

If anyone knows any other interesting facts about Rio de Janeiro, please share with us!


Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960. So, here was the center of almost two centuries of Brazilian history! The most curious is that Rio is the only city outside Europe that was the capital of a European Kingdom. In 1808, King D. João VI of Portugal decided to move to Brazil to escape from Napoleon! That’s when Rio became the capital of Brazil and Portugal!


Someone born in Brazil is Brazilian, Italy is Italian, Ireland is Irish, but someone born in Rio de Janeiro is… CARIOCA! The origin of the name comes from the Tupi people (Brazilian natives). When the Portuguese arrived in Rio de Janeiro, there was a large indigenous population who saw these white men building very strange houses, so “Cari” means “white man,” and “Oca” means “house,” then CARIOCA= “the house of the white man.” 


Funny curiosity alert! Imagine the first Social Movement in Rio de Janeiro… Of course, the Revolt of Cachaça. Although in the present day to be different, in the colonial period the first structural activity in the city was the production of sugar and in smaller scale: the distillate. 

And during the government of Salvador Benevides, he had the terrible idea of ​​charging fees for the production of cachaça. The people did not leave it cheap and the streets protested, known as the Revolt of Cachaça, in 1660. The governor’s acts generated so much dissatisfaction that when the Portuguese Court discovered this and other arbitrariness of this government, he and his family were expelled from cologne. 

Therefore, we should celebrate in gratitude the population of the time, for the importance of this national wonder, after all who does not love the caipirinhas? HAHAHA. Nowadays, Carioca’s sweetheart is cold beer, easily found in any restaurant, bar or botecos, we cannot deny that caipirinhas are part of the history of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. 


Some say that expression was born in 1904 in the midst of carnival, others in 1908 in a newspaper article. But the unquestionable fact is that in 1934 the expression consecrated the WONDERFUL CITY in the unforgettable song of André Filho. 

Since then rewritten by several other artists, even without the advanced technology and social networks the expression has become a hit, sung by all Rio and in the four corners of the world “Marvellous City, full of thousand charms”. The Public power then officialised this as an official anthem of Rio de Janeiro. 


Rio was voted the happiest city in the world by Forbes in 2009. 🙂🙂


And who sees this marvel of architecture asks himself: And who had the idea to make the Christ? It was a French priest Pierre-Marie Bos, to honour the idea of ​​faith that has the Brazilian people and the Cariocas, but the idea was not accepted by Princess Isabel, despite being very religious. 

After the Proclamation of the Republic and with the separation of Church and State, it became even more difficult to emphasize religious symbols in the middle of the motto ORDER AND PROGRESS of our flag. 

But in 1922 the then President Arthur Bernards, after the centenary of Independence was resumed the idea to exalt and honour the Christ. From there Cardinal Dom Sebastian Leme began to raise funds for the Work. 

Just imagine: the initial idea of ​​the Christ was with a cross in one hand and in the other the world in the form of a globe, but as usual, the Cariocas began to “screw up” the project. 

Then the artist responsible for the project the architect Heitor da Silva Costa made a new design of the Christ in the form of a cross with open arms. And then another Frenchman: Paul Landowski helped him build the largest carioca symbol, inaugurated in 1931. 

The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer – voted one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in July 2007 – is the largest Art Deco statue in the world and took 5 years to build! 


The name was created by the Portuguese (always very creative) since they used a conical shape to transport the sugar to Europe, and they realized that it looked like the beautiful hill that they saw from the Guanabara Bay and from that came “Sugar Loaf”. 


A daring project that worked great! The idea of ​​the visionary engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos was to create an aerial road linking Praia Vermelha to Morro da Urca and the Sugar Loaf. 

As a dream of the engineer, the project presented at the commemoration of the 100th Opening of the Ports to friendly nations won investors and government support for the construction of the world’s largest line of cable cars at the time, with 1,325 meters and 3rd in the world, after Spain and Switzerland. With 3 years of construction in total, the two stretches began to work together in 1913. 


The Sugar Loaf and the cable car are also known in Hollywood as it functioned as a scene in the James Bond movie: 007 Moonraker in 1974. In addition, it has hosted more than forty million people for the tour including former US President John Kennedy and the physicist Albert Einstein. 


One of the strongest curiosities about Rio de Janeiro is in relation to the origin of the Favelas. Although politically correct calls from COMMUNITIES, these types of occupations to the present day are known as FAVELAS. The name derives from a typical shrub of the northeast of Brazil: “the faveleiro. 

The first to use this name were the Canudos War fighters, who returned to Rio de Janeiro to receive “the wages”, how it did not happen and without that they could not go anywhere, from where they settled on a hill, where there was a vegetation identical to the shrubs, becoming known as Morro da Favela, which later came to be called Morro da Providência (near the Pier of Valongo) because they were waiting for a government’s providence and this hill is considered by many researchers as “the favela of the city of Rio de Janeiro “. 


Leaving the limits of Rio de Janeiro, we have another very important city that belonged to Emperor Dom Pedro II. And it makes sense the name of the city, does not it? Well, that was the idea of ​​the emperor’s butler, to resume the works of the idea of ​​Dom Pedro I and build the family’s Summer Palace in Alto da Serra, because here among us Europeans did not get used to the weather tropical hot of our Brazil, right? HAHA. 

It cost dearly for the imperial pockets, but in the 1840s and 1850s the empire was in good financial condition because of the coffee. Thus, the butler Paulo Barbosa da Silva and the German engineer Júlio Koeler, began the work of the plan of foundation of “Petrópolis Palace”. 

The idea was to donate land from the imperial farm to the free settlers, who in addition to building the city would become the agricultural producers. As a result, the city was founded with the aim of replacing slave labour for free labour, it is noteworthy that the emperors Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II already longed for the abolition of slavery, and the butler Paulo Barbosa had a firm anti-slavery position. In fact, this important moment in Brazil (one of the last countries to free the slaves) occurred on May 13, 1888, through the signing of the Golden Law made by Princess Isabel, daughter of the Emperor Dom Pedro II. 

And we left the suggestion of visiting the Emperor’s city. Petrópolis is a super historical place, with a super pleasant climate and we have a surprise for our readers: discount tour by S2RIO! 

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With the arrival of the Portuguese Court the neighbourhood was inhabited by rich families. After the reform of Pereira Passos from 1902, ending with the occupations located near the Morro do Castelo, the homeless and the disadvantaged, looked for in Lapa a place to live. 

The neighbourhood was inhabited by families in a precarious situation, crowded, alongside former residents (those who preferred to migrate to the South Zone) and beyond cabarets, taverns and game houses, hence the bohemian fame. 

Even Carmen Miranda, the most carioca Portuguese who ever lived, studied and “grew up” in the streets of Lapa. It is no wonder that today is the neighbourhood best known by cariocas and tourists, either by the Arcos da Lapa (important Aqueduct of the Colonial Period) or by the nightlife of the neighbourhood. Have you visited the neighbourhood on party and samba nights? 


Copacabana is the most famous neighbourhood of Rio. The picturesque beach and traditional style bars and restaurants. But have you thought the name Copacabana? Very different right? Copacabana, in fact, is a word in Quechua, which is the language the Incas used to speak (and there are still more than 8 million Quechua speakers in the world) and means a view of the blue lake. 

There is a small town in Bolivia, next to Lake Titicaca, called Copacabana.  History says that the name arrived here when some Bolivian and Peruvian sellers travelled to Rio and built a small church here. This church was referred to as Copacabana and located where today is the Copacabana Fort. 


It is Brazil, all nationality celebrating the main and most anticipated festivity.  Some say that the first carnival celebration was with the inauguration of Dom João V to the Portuguese throne in 1641, in Rua Primeiro de Março and the party began to take part in the annual calendar with various types of dances, games and traditions. 

From there many other ideas added to that folia characteristic like the rhythm, confetti and streamers, besides the fantasies that came from the Carnival of Venice. There was a popular game called “Entrudo“, which everyone liked to be part of. “Entrudo” was a type of game where people poured water around the city. Another entrudo was called “familiar entrudo“, where games were carried out inside the houses between family members. 

As the upper classes of society joined the game, the party gained luxury and wealth, as early as 1855 were accompanied by the police to avoid fights and entrants, hence the idea of ​​parades, a carnival organized and splendorous, as we can observe in the present day, the costumes and floats in Sapucaí. 

Later in the nineteenth century the “cords and blocks were born”. They were formed by groups that walked or danced in a row, all wearing colourful costumes and masks. Blocks today are the main attraction of the carnival in Rio, because they are stripped, irreverent and communal! The true feast of the people, the true Carioca spirit. 


And you read that title and think: FOOTBALL, right? This is one of the most interesting curiosities about the sport. And who would say that before football enchanted the Brazilian nation, bullfighting was the height of the nineteenth century! This integration of European habits and bullfights preceded major events in the real calendar. 

The arenas were simple and mobile, facilitating the transportation to various points of the city, later they came to be constructed the true “STADIUM” for the bullfights. As many court-sponsored reis and the loss of monarchy strength cost, the sport was losing space and declining. 

The passion for football was born when Oscar Cox in 1897 showed to his friends that football was much more interesting than any other collective sport. In the beginning was an elite sport, nowadays, national fever. And how is it possible to visit Rio de Janeiro and not watch a match at Maracanã?  


And speaking of Maracanã, the greatest football game of all time was played in the Rio ghetto, can you imagine where? Of course, the stadium of Maracanã in 1950. It was the final of the World Cup, Brazil against Uruguay. Brazil was playing in front of 200,000 fans, which is the largest audience ever recorded in a football game. Brazil lost the final 1-2, and still today the Brazilian does not like being reminded of this catastrophe. 

The four largest football teams in Rio are Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama. The biggest of these teams is Flamengo, which is actually the biggest team in the world, if we count the fans! In 2017, Flamengo had a total of 33 million fans all over Brazil and around the world! 


The eating habits were as simple as possible, the Indians were content with what the land offered. They lived from the collection, there was no concept of planting, nor stored water at home. The flesh consumed by the natives was of the monkeys, fish, tapirs, hawks, and even snakes, making fires and eating all kinds of animals that were seen. 

The habit of storing water at home, eating habits and way of life were introduced by the Portuguese, especially in the capital of the European Empire. One of the most interesting characteristics to date is that despite so many European influences that our culture has suffered, and gastronomically speaking the indigenous culture is so strong that it is still present in our daily life, between the use of cassava, seafood and guarana. 

After the arrival of the Royal Family the fresh meat became part of the family menu as well as the use of bread for breakfast, French butter and English tea. Habits that we maintain until the present day and are well known by any Brazilian. 


Very popular on Rio’s beaches, the “O Globo” biscuit and Mate Tea were declared a cultural heritage of the city of Rio de Janeiro! 

For those who do not know the biscuit “O Globo”, it is a brand of VERY traditional flour biscuit from Rio that is sold on the beaches! And Mate is an iced tea – also highly eaten on the beach! If you want to have a genuine Rio experience, you should try these snacks while you are here in Rio. 


Who has more facts and curiosities about Rio de Janeiro to share with us? 

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