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 is an especially attractive tourist destination for sports lovers; more specifically soccer fans. Having just hosted the 2014 World Cup, Rio is home to the newly renovated and beautiful Maracanã Stadium which is the largest stadium in Brazil and the second in South America. The stadium is mainly being used for football matches between the major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro, including Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama. It has also hosted a number of concerts and other sporting events.
Rio also happens to be the birth place of many world class soccer players including Ronaldo, Zico, Romario and many more. The Maracanã Stadium also contains a sports museum within it. Inside the Maracanã Football Stadium, the sports museum has photographs, posters, cups and the uniforms of Brazilian sporting greats, including Pelé’s famous No 10 shirt. There’s also a store where you can buy football shirts.
Rio is also home to the enormous and iconic 635 metric ton statue of Jesus Christ, Christ the Redeemer. The statue stands at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio. A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The Tijuca Forest itself, is another tourist destination in Rio. The tropical rainforest is claimed to be the world’s largest urban forest, covering over 32 km2.
Last but not least, is Carnival, perhaps the biggest attraction of all in Rio de Janeiro. It is a world famous festival held before Lent every year and considered the biggest carnival in the world. It’s a huge street parade that brings together two million people per day on the streets of Rio. Incorporated into every aspect of the Rio carnival are dancing and music, beautiful costumes, the most spectacular head dresses and exotic colors that dazzle the eyes. With all that fun going on, of course it’s bound to be a good time for everyone!