The Motley Cariocas

075 The Motley CariocasTa taa … A short quiz…. It’s the largest country and the only Portuguese-speaking in Latin America. Contrasts reign in it. Its fame is for coffee and sugar cane. Its beaches are endless and fiestas – never ending. Football is in the blood of the locals while samba is their passion. Its capital Brasília is less famous than Cidade maravilhosa (the Marvelous City) that never falls asleep. Which is it? 😉

There is no doubt. It’s Brazil and its second largest city – Rio de Janeiro.  The city is famous for its sky that is supposed to be the “bluest” and sunniest in the world and that’s because of its more than 6 million friendly and cheerful cariocas living there.  And who are cariocas? They are the natives of Rio and their name originates from the Tupi language. It means “white man’s house” (“kari”/”white man” and “oka”/”home”). This name astonishes a bit because actually, the city is quite ethnically diverse and the skin of most of the residents is chocolate or even dark which is a left mark of the slavery there. But for sure, all of them are freethinkers, tolerant, hot, easy-going and party-people, who love the colours and beauty of life.

Unlike other Latin American cities, Rio was established by the Portuguese (not by the Spaniards, Brits, etc., as it was common). The Guanabara Bay was discovered by a Portuguese expedition in 1501-1502 and was included in their maps. The establishment of the town occurred later, in 1565. It’s well known that the new settlement owed its name to a mistake made by its first settlers. The Portuguese tasted the water of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and reached a conclusion that the gulf was an estuary of a big river (“Rio”) and because they arrived on January 1 they added “janeiro” to the name. Thus its whole name was São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (January River in honour of St. Sebastian) in the beginning but nowadays it’s only Rio de Janeiro or simply shortened to Rio.

Today it is among the most visited cities because the landmarks are too many, natural and architectural beauty – too much. If I have to “take some photos” of Rio, here are the 5 images I like best.

The Oceanic Princesses of Rio are great in number there but the two emblematic beaches of the city are Copacabana and Ipanema. These are not only names but they are a mirror and reflect the specific culture, hot temperament and life style of the city.

Cristo Redentor is one of the new wonders of the world and the statue is the iconic symbol of the Marvelous City. The idea of building a religious monument dates back to 1850 but it turned into reality in 1922 when the Polish- French sculptor Paul Landowski accomplished the design project of the Brazilian architect Heitor da Silva Costa. Cristo Redentor is located in a natural area between a true tropical forest and the sky, at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain. It’s the biggest and largest art deco statue in the world with its measures: 38 meters high, its arms stretch – 28 metres wide, its weight – 635 tonnes.  

The Sugar Queen is the 396-metre peak called Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). The strange name comes from the sugar that was extracted in Brazil and transported to the Old Continent in conical clay molds (not like today’s sugarcubes or powdered sugar).

Samba fiesta is most probably the most popular event of Rio. The colourful dancing parade attracts millions of tourists annually and is the most vivid and motley Carnival in which numerous samba schools take part and spectators enjoy skillful samba dancers, their temperament and the bright colours of their souls.

Maracanã, as it is often nicknamed, Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho is the largest 600 feet  by capacity in the world. It’s been projected for 160 00 spectators but with only 95 000 seats. The stadium is one of the endless landmarks of Rio, especially being one of the hottest places during FIFA World Cups.

And finally, here is a short and humble “YouTube journey” in Cidade maravilhosa. The video is here . Enjoy it. 🙂


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