Rio de Janeiro, was discovered on January 1st, 1502 by Portuguese navigators who mistook the entrance of Guanabara Bay for the mouth of a river – thus its name, meaning “River of January”.
Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960 when Brasilia was inaugurated.
In any event, this second largest city in Brazil is still a major cultural capital and, to some extent, its “emotional” capital as well. Rio de Janeiro has a majestic beauty, with built-up areas nestled between a magnificent bay and dazzling beaches on one side and an abruptly rising mountain range, covered by a luxuriant tropical forest, on the other. It is, topographically, perhaps the most beautiful city in the world, justifying its title of “Marvelous City” (Cidade Maravilhosa). Rio presents many different faces to the visitor. At first glance, Rio is beaches. Everywhere you look are miles of white sandy beaches bathed in a tropical sun. The second dominant feature of Rio’s landscape is its mountains. Spectacular landmarks known the world over such as Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado adorned with the statue of Christ the Redeemer anchor the city as it winds between mountains and ocean.
Rio’s cultural life is intense and varied. Perhaps at no time is the city’s festive reputation better displayed than during the annual carnaval which enlivens the city for 3 solid days with music, singing, parties, balls, and desfiles (street parades of brilliantly-costumed dancers performing the samba).
Economically it is a service industry centre, a key financial centre, and the producer of foodstuffs, building materials, electrical equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and textiles.
Perhaps because they live with the natural beauty of their city and its climate, Cariocas, as natives of Rio are called, take hospitality and the enjoyment of life as second nature.
Visit www.rio.rj.gov.br for more details.