Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, is more commonly known as Rio. It is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is famous for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba and beaches. Some of these balneario beaches include Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana (does anyone remember these songs??). The city is home to about 6.1 million residents and was the capital of Brazil until 1960 when Brasília became the new capital. The first European exploration to the area was on January 1, 1502 to the Guanabara Bay by Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos, hence the name Rio de Janeiro (January River). Rio is an absolutely breathtaking place (or as it seems like it from pictures I’ve seen) and it is one of the few places I’m determined to visit someday! Let’s check out some awesome places you can gaga over when you get there.

Cristo Redentor, Portuguese for Christ Redeemer, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Rio. It is a giant statue of Jesus Christ finished in 1931 that is considered the second largest Art Deco statue in the world. Overall, it stands at about 130 feet and is located on the top of Corcovado Mountain. This statue overlooks the city and has become an icon for Rio and all of Brazil. In 2007, it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Cristo Redentor was built to symbolize not only Christianity, but also of peace. It’s a huge monument for all to see and enjoy, you most certainly will not miss this one.

Before the 40 days of Roman Catholic Lent, there is an annual celebration called Carnival in Rio de Janeiro that attracts visitors from all over the world. The event started in 1840 and now attracts almost 1 million people just in one day! There are parades in every corner of the city where samba dancers and musicians in lavish costumes get to show off their moves. This event takes place every March; it’s definitely something you can think about while planning a trip to South America!

After you’ve seen all the big and popular attractions, you can “relax” at the famous and beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro. These beaches are so crowded you won’t just see a sea of water but also a sea of people. Don’t forget to pack your suitcase with some thong bikinis; there will be plenty of women showing off their bikini bods at the Brazilian beaches! I’d love to go to Brazil and visit Rio, what do you think of this unique place?

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