Estrada Uniao Industria, 9153, Projecao 3.1, Itaipava, BR, 25730
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Rio de Janeiro is known for its feisty ambiance thanks to the colorful fests and activities it features the year round. It is the ideal place to unwind, if you are looking for a vacation where you want to shake a leg to some Brazilian music, or participate in the famous Rio carnival. Those looking for recreation and fun can explore the famous Tijuca forest, or simply laze around on the famous beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema. Although Rio is a place where the fun doesn't seem to stop, visitors must be careful while touring the city, as it is known to have a high crime rate. Some of the famous tourist spots in Rio are the Christ the Redeemer statue on the beautiful Corcovado mountain, the Maracana football stadium, and also the cable car at Sugarloaf Mountain.
This attractive 19th-century church in Estácio may lie a little off the beaten track, but it offers some real musical treats to those who make the effort to find it. More than 125 years of practice have helped the church choir perfect their art, and the antique organ lends a real depth to the musical performances. From flute and organ performances to funky gospel-tinged services, the music here is nothing if not varied. A frantic percussion will have even the most straight-laced of church goers tapping their feet, and Primeira Igreja Batista do Rio de Janeiro also runs courses teaching young people from the local community to play everything from the drums to violin. There's no entrance charge, but donations are always welcome.
If you want the Rio carnival experience without the bumped-up prices and mass tourist onslaught, Cidade do Samba is for you. Built at a cost of USD50 million, Rio's major tourist attraction allows visitors the chance to see costumes and floats being put together, watch the city's major samba schools practice their routines, hear samba bands play and even have a go at learning the dance steps and samba rhythms. Several times a year, Cidade do Samba hosts a mini carnival, with live music, dancing, full carnival parades and fireworks displays.
Jardim Zoológico is located in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão. Inaugurated in 1945 and recently renovated to give the animals a better living space, there is a wide variety of rare and endangered Brazilian species including nocturnal ones. There is also a large walk-through aviary that is sure to thrill grown-ups and children alike. To make things even better for the kids, there is a shop selling stuffed animals from the various regions in Brazil.
Located in front of the imposing Central do Brasil, the first rail station in Brazil, this leafy park is loaded with history and features statues, caves, lakes, waterfalls and bridges. Surrounded by historical buildings, Campo de Santana opened in 1880. You will find some interesting creatures residing in the park such as wild ducks, peacocks and geese.
The headquarters of Rio's fire brigade, Corpo de Bombeiros Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (CBMERJ) is unlike any that you might have seen. Flaming red in color and with details picked out in silver, the sprawling building is oddly reminiscent of a Moorish palace. The landmark building adds a splash of color to this bustling neighborhood, and makes for a great photo opportunity.
Nestled in the heart of the bustling Centro is an unexpected oasis of calm in the center of the city. Praca Cruz Vermelha is lined with swaying palm trees, handsome colonial houses and flanked by little neighborhood bars selling good-value, traditional Brazilian dishes and perfectly chilled beers.Just a few minutes' walk from the city's liveliest nightlife, this is a great place to enjoy a quiet, early-evening meal and drink before heading out to sample the craziness that is Lapa by night.
The redevelopment of Praça Tiradentes, a square at the heart of downtown Rio, has made this once down-at-heel area an attraction for tourists once again. Of the many attractions the area possesses, one of the most popular is the statue of Tiradentes, the leader of the Inconfidência Mineira for whom the square is named.
The first residential street to be built in Rio de Janeiro, Rua do Lavradio is a long cobbled road flanked by tall and handsome colonial buildings. Many of these have been transformed into bars and restaurants, while others are now, fittingly, antiques stores. It is in Rua do Lavradio that you will find the excellent Feira do Rio Antigo, a bustling clothes, arts, and antique fair held on the first Saturday of each month. The bars and restaurants all have pavement tables and chairs, making this a wonderful spot to enjoy a cold drink and a bite to eat as you watch the world go by. - Lucy Bryson
Real Gabinete Português de Leitura was built between 1880-1887 and has more than 350,000 volumes, among them a rare 1572 edition of Luís de Camões's "Os Lusíadas." It has the largest Portuguese literary collections outside of Portugal. This magnificent, Gothic-Renaissance style bibliotheca has a carved facade that was influenced by Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery and has sculptures of eminent Portuguese such as Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões. The ornate interiors are breathtaking with its chandelier and red, white and blue stained-glass sky-lamp.
Located downtown in the Largo de São Francisco, Igreja de São Francisco de Paula has an interesting history. It was the site of many imperial events, including the 1822 mass dedicated to the country's conversion from colony to kingdom and the mass celebrating Brazil's adoption of its first constitution in 1831. Pope Pius X dedicated one of the chapels to the defeat of the Turks by Christian forces in the 16th century. Visitors will find its colonial exterior and ornate interior fascinating.
Resembling a huge, futuristic Mayan pyramid, it is impossible not to be amazed by this architectural downtown wonder. Inaugurated in 1976, while still incomplete, Catedral Metropolitana has a capacity of over 20,000 people. Conical shaped with no supporting columns and a granite rock that forms the altar, its four huge stained glass windows will rivet your attention. The underground houses the sacred arts museum.