Rio de Janeiro……the city of world-famous carnivals!
From its rich history and culture😲 to its world-famous art and stunning beaches 🏖️, it offers fascinating facts for you to discover.
This article will offer some surprising facts about Rio de Janeiro that will surely amaze you. Let’s embark on this amazing journey!
Amazing Rio de Janeiro Facts
Tijuca Forest in Rio: Explore the largest urban forest
I am totally amazed to explore this unique fact about Rio! Here we can enjoy the impressive combination of urban life and nature in the Tijuca Forest. It is the largest forest🌲 in the world that coexists with a city.
Unfortunately, once destroyed by local coffee plantations, the 12 square miles of this forest were repopulated with numerous seedlings at the late 1800s. Later it grew into a huge forest and became a home to an interesting wildlife.
Learn that it even accommodates multiple top attractions, like the Vista Chinesa, the Christ the Redeemer statue, and Parque Lage.
Name fact: Rio de Janeiro or “River of January”
Little fact explorers, did you know that if we translate the unique name “Rio de Janeiro” into English, it will actually be the River of January?
Now, you may wonder what is the origin of this name, right?
In January 1502, when Gaspar de Lemos, a Portuguese explorer, arrived in Rio de Janeiro, he thought Guanabara Bay was the mouth of a river 🌊.
Thus, he named the area ‘River of January.’
Though this story is not supported by some historians, it still remains one of the most powerful theories for the origin of the name of this Brazilian city.
Rio de Janeiro hosted the largest concert in the world
Oh! Music 🎼concerts, my favorite! What about you??
In the year 2006, the Rolling Stones performed a free concert to an audience of 1.5 million people on Copacabana Beach 🏖️. It happened during their ‘A Bigger Bang’ tour.
However, it is Rod Stewart’s concert on the same beach in 1994 is recorded as the world’s largest concert ever when he performed to a crowd of around 3.5 million people. Oh, my god! Can you imagine??
Rio de Janeiro City: Here, street art is legal
Do you love art? Then you will definitely love this artistic secret about Rio de Janeiro!
We can stroll through the streets of this interesting Brazilian city, and it won’t take long to explore how much street art decorates the buildings of Rio de Janeiro.
As long as artists have permission from the buildings’ owner and if it is not a historic building, they can easily paint it with any kind of design they want. Interesting, isn’t it?
Some of the city’s best street artists include Marcelo Ment.
The city of Rio de Janeiro has the world’s biggest Carnival party
Oh! Colorful and musical carnivals! How much I wish to enjoy one! What about you, little friends?? You, too? Let’s enjoy one in Rio de Janeiro!
Rio has the largest Carnival party on the planet 🌎.
In 2004, more than 400,000 foreign tourists flocked to the city for the celebrations and joined with the 5 million locals 😵 who already participated in the famous street parties and parades.
Locals of Rio are known as Cariocas
People born in this unique city of Rio de Janeiro are called Cariocas. Quite impressive, right?
The term carioca comes from Tupi-Guarani, an indigenous language that was spoken by the indigenous tribes who resided in the area prior to the European colonizers’ arrived.
They even started to build a city on the land of the indigenous tribe, which the Indians called Kario’Oka, which means ‘white man’s house.’
Rio de Janeiro City used to be the capital of Brazil
I am really amazed to know another amazing secret about Rio de Janeiro City! Contrary to common belief, Brasilia is the capital of Brazil, not Rio.
However, before Brasilia became the country’s capital, the country had two other capital cities, such as Salvador was the first one between 1549 and 1763, and then Rio de Janeiro between 1763 and 1960.
Beautiful Rio is home to one of the world’s new Seven Wonders
Little fact enthusiasts, have you heard about Christ the Redeemer?? Let me explain this important truth about this beautiful Brazilian city!
The most iconic and symbolic of Rio de Janeiro’s attractions is Christ the Redeemer.
It is a huge statue of Jesus Christ that overlooks the entire city from its perch on top of the Corcovado Mountain⛰️.
In the year 2007, this statue was elected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, joining the exclusive list that includes Machu Picchu in Peru and the Great Wall of China 😲.
Rio de Janeiro holds the record for the largest attendance in a football match
A soccer ⚽fan?? Then you will be amazed by this amazing secret about Rio!
In 1950, the Rio de Janeiro World Cup was the most-attended football match on the planet.
The match between Brazil and Uruguay was held at the Maracana stadium, which accommodated around 200,000 people (173,850 were paying attendees, and 20,000 snuck in for free) who came to watch the game.
Despite high expectations for a Brazil win, it was Uruguay who became the winner✌️, much to the disappointment of the Brazilian fans. Thus, they consider this day one of the worst days in the history of Brazilian football.
Samba schools are not just Carnival parades
Heard about Samba dance 💃?? It is a famous culture in Rio!
Samba schools of Brazil are mostly famed for their colorful appearances during the parades of Rio Carnival.
However, they have a much deeper in their community. These schools often spend all year preparing for the following year’s parades and offer free education, like sports activities and English classes, to favela residents who aren’t able to afford those resources.
The schools hold weekend events with feijoada and samba dancing. Hence, people are passionately loyal to those samba schools similarly, they are to football teams.
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second-largest city
While Rio is one of Brazil’s most popular cities and is famous for its yearly carnival, it is actually also the second largest city in Brazil.
With a population of around 6.32 million inhabitants, this interesting Portuguese-speaking city is the seventh largest one in the Americas. Amazing, right?
Brazil’s largest city is Sao Paulo, which also the largest one in Americas.
The city of Rio de Janeiro has an official song
If you are a fan of music like me, then you will definitely love to explore this musical secret about Rio de Janeiro!
It is no surprise that a beautiful city with such a rich 🎼musical history has its own song.
The official song of the city of Rio de Janeiro is “Cidade Maravilhosa,” which translates to Marvelous City. This song is often played during Carnival.
Rio de Janeiro was the first European Capital outside Europe
I am quite amazed to explore this interesting secret about Rio! Let me explain!
During Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal, Portuguese nobles moved to Rio and made the beautiful city 🌆 their capital.
Rio de Janeiro became the first city to be considered a European capital outside of Europe.
As there was not enough time to construct new houses for the gentry, many locals were kicked out of their houses to make room.
The city of Rio de Janeiro: It incubated Bossa Nova
Have you heard about Bossa Nova??
The rich cultural history of the city includes the creation as well as popularization of Bossa Nova.
The term Bossa Nova translates to ‘New Trend.”
It is a lively mix of samba and jazz that came into existence in the 1950s and 1960s. It has spread around the world and become known as a distinctly Brazilian sound.
First Favela: It was built in Rio de Janeiro
Want to know about Favela??
Favelas are mainly Brazilian slums. They are often erected haphazardly and hastily to fulfil the necessity for immediate housing.
The first recorded favela is thought to have been built on Morro da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s.
Santa Teresa Tram is the oldest electric railway in South America
Little fellow explorers, let us explore this important fact about this beautiful Brazilian City, known as Rio de Janeiro!
The famous Santa Teresa Tram 🚎 connects the city with the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Since 1877, it has been running continuously and was designated a national historic landmark in the year 1988.
The Santa Teresa Tram is world’s one of the oldest railways, and in 1896, due to the addition of electricity, it became Latin America’s oldest railway.
The city of Rio: It put QR codes on its sidewalks
Portuguese is a certain kind of decorative mosaic stone, generally black-and-white, seen on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas throughout Portugal.
One of the most well-known examples is the abstract, bold waves that run the length of the sidewalk of the Copacabana beach, designed by famous landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
In 2013, Rio started installing many QR codes into the mosaic of Copacabana and other areas to offer vital information for visitors. Some say that they got the idea from Portugal.
Rio de Janeiro: For five days a year, the city is run by King Momo
Rio de Janeiro explodes with color and energy during the five days prior to Ash Wednesday. It is the time when numerous people enjoy the world’s biggest Carnival.
The party 💃 starts on Friday when the city’s mayor gives the keys to the man crowned as King Momo, who is a mythical jester. He acts as the head of the festivals.
The party reaches at its peak at the Sambodromo, when the city’s major samba schools compete for top prize🥇. Really amazing, right?
So little knowledge hunters😃, now you know that beautiful Rio de Janeiro is a Brazilian city that proudly celebrates its natural beauty 🌳, rich culture, and modern advancements.
From the beautiful forest and impressive sidewalks to captivating samba and soccer game, what in Rio attracts you the most?
As we are already enjoying this journey together, we would love to hear from you!
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.