More about Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana travessia dos fortesRio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil.  It was the capital of Brazil until 1960, when the capital moved to Brasilia. Today, it is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and in 2000 the population numbered 5.5 million, in an area of over 1,000 km2.

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its beaches, such as Copacabana (where this photo was taken on the occasion of the yearly ocean swim across the bay) and Ipanema, and the wonderful scenery, including the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the peak of the Corcovado mountain. It also has a very busy harbor, and the second most important airport  in Brazil for international flights: Tom Jobim Airport. It has a thriving commerce and many industries, especially textiles, food, chemicals, and metallurgy. Most of these industries are located in the northern and western suburbs of the city.

Industries have grown up in other towns near Rio de Janeiro, such as Duque de Caxias, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados and São Gonçalo, forming the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, including a dynamic ship-building industry in Niteroi, the city on the other side of Guanabara Bay from Rio.

The city is 420 kilometers (about 261 miles) away from Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America. The cities of Rio and São Paulo are linked by the Presidente Dutra Highway. The region crossed by the Dutra Highway has been an important industrial zone since the 1950s.

The city is surrounded by green areas, and Tijuca National Park is the largest urban forest in the world, covering an area of 33 km2, between the northern and the southern parts of the city. Another interesting place to visit in Rio is the district of Santa Teresa, and the most interesting way to get there is by taking an old electric tram from Rio’s city center, crossing over the Arcos da Lapa, an aqueduct built during the colonial period to provide the city with water. Unfortunately the service has been suspended, due to a bad accident a few months ago. It will only be reopened after all the tramcars are renewed and the tracks are checked and re-laid where necessary.

On October 2, 2009, the city was named by the International Olympic Committee as the host for the 2016 Games.