Cultural attractions in Rio de Janeiro

20 popular sights in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a splendor of bright colors and eternal carnival, the ocean and endless sun. Located on the shores of Guanabara Bay, the city is one of the most beautiful in South America. Nature has generously blessed this area, the Brazilians believe that God himself bestowed such a beautiful land to them. It seems as if the residents of this city are always celebrating with the never-ceasing sounds of the samba.

Who hasn’t dreamed of climbing to the top of Corcovado Mountain and gazing upon Christ the Redeemer, or plunging into the emerald waters of the Atlantic at the famous Copacabana? In Rio de Janeiro, dreams come true. An elated state of mind here mixes with the anticipation of danger emanating from the gloomy favelas, and a slight dizziness from caipirinha with gentle nights. It’s all Rio.

What to see and where to go in Rio de Janeiro?

The most interesting and beautiful places to walk. Photos and a brief description.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer

A huge 38-meter monument is the main and most recognizable symbol of Rio de Janeiro. It was erected in the first half of the twentieth century on Corcovado Mountain, which rises about 700 meters above the city. From the observation deck of the statue there is a spectacular view of the rugged green hills of the bay. At any time of the year there is an impressive line of tourists lined up to see the statue of the outstretched hands of Christ the Redeemer.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Sugar Loaf Head

A mountain up to 400 meters high that is located within Rio de Janeiro. The observation decks and small park at its summit rival the statue of Christ the Redeemer in popularity. A cable car can be used to climb the Pão di Azcuar (as the name sounds in Portuguese). The name “Sugar Head” was given because of its resemblance to the special container of the same name in which the Portuguese carried sugar from Brazil.

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Sugar Loaf Head.

Municipal Theater

The theater was built in the very beginning of the XX century and immediately became a decoration of Floriano Square. In the architecture of the building is clearly visible mixture of styles – eclectic. During the construction of the building was taken as an example of the Paris Opera House. The local choir, symphony orchestra and ballet company often perform on the theatrical stage.

Municipal Theater.

Royal Library of Portugal

This magnificent building in the Portuguese Manueline style was built between 1880 and 1887. The library was founded to promote the culture and values of the metropolis in the territory of the Brazilian Empire. The foundation stone was laid by Emperor Pedro II. Many of the building’s architectural elements echo the outlines of famous Portuguese palaces, monasteries, and cathedrals.

Portuguese Royal Library.

Tiradentis Palace

An early 20th-century building constructed for administrative purposes. It was the seat of the Legislative Assembly. Earlier it was the site of the prison where Joaquin José da Silva, the national hero and fighter for the independence of Brazil, died. The interior of the palace is decorated with paintings by Brazilian painters, French mosaics and carved wooden furniture in the Portuguese style.

The palace of Tiradentis.

Ilha Fiscal Castle

The castle is located on an island in Guanabara Bay off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. It was built in 1889 for the needs of the Customs Service, but looks more like a royal residence. Inside is a historical museum of the Brazilian Navy. The architecture of the castle uses a mixture of styles. Decorative elements are brought from England, Germany and other European countries.

The Castle of Ilha Fiscal.

Staircase of Celeron.

The multicolored 125-meter staircase created by the Chilean artist Jorge Celaron. The master has been creating step by step since 1990. Gradually this small cultural project grew to the scale of an obsession, and eventually a long staircase was formed. Several thousand tiles imported from various countries and found in garbage cans were used to line the railing and steps.

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The staircase of Celarón.

Candelaria Church

This was once the largest and most opulent temple in the Brazilian Empire. According to one version, it was founded by Spanish travelers in 1609 after they escaped a terrible storm. Until the 18th century it was a simple wooden chapel. Then a stone temple was erected in its place under the direction of F. Joao Rocio. It was inaugurated in 1811 in the presence of the Portuguese King João VI.

Candelaria Church.

Saint Sebastian Cathedral

The main Catholic church in the Brazilian capital, which is located in the historic center of the city. The cathedral was opened in 1979 and was named after the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, Saint Sebastian. The outside of the temple resembles an Indian pyramid and at the same time a futuristic structure from science fiction. In the underground part of the temple there is a museum and a crypt where famous people are buried.

The Cathedral of Saint Sebastian.

Monastery of St. Benedict

Benedictine monastery, founded at the end of the 16th century thanks to the intercession of the local inhabitants. The building of the monastery was erected in Baroque style. The external facade is characterized by modesty of forms and a small number of decorative elements. The interior, on the contrary, is particularly sumptuous – maroon walls, multicolored mosaic floors, gilded moldings, and an abundance of paintings and sculptures adorn the interior.

Monastery of St. Benedict.

Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro

The garden covers several hundred hectares and is located in the southern part of the city. It was laid out in 1808 by the royal family. It brings amazing exotic plants from all over the world and they quickly adapt to the local climate conditions. At the moment there are over 7 thousand representatives of fauna. There are ponds, fountains, palm alleys, and themed areas.

Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.

Flamengo Park.

A big green area inside the city which was designed by the landscape designer R. Burle Marx (he also did the face of the Copacabana beach promenade). Various sports competitions are held in the park: bike rallies, marathons and others. At any time of the day you can see the citizens doing sports or just relaxing on the green lawns and benches.

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Park Flamengo.

Park Enrique Laguet

The park is located at the foot of Corcovado on an area of 52 hectares. In the central part there is a charming mansion once owned by the family of industrialist Enrique Lage. The park and palace acquired their present appearance in 1920 thanks to the work of the architect M. Vaudrel. The exterior walls of the building are lined with Italian marble specially shipped from overseas; the walls are decorated with works by Salvador Pajales.

Parque Henrique Laguet.

Carioca Aqueduct

The structure is located in the colorful Rio de Janeiro suburb of Santa Teresa. The bridge was built right in the center of the city at the beginning of the 18th century. The construction was supervised by Portuguese military engineers. The Carioca Aqueduct was supposed to be able to supply water to 3 settlements. The aqueduct was no longer in use by the end of the 19th century, having been turned into a bridge for urban transport. The aqueduct offers quite a scenic view, which attracts many tourists.

The Carioca Aqueduct.

Maracana Stadium

The main stadium of Brazil and the symbol of the “most soccer” country in the world. More than once Maracana became an arena for grand sporting events. In 2016, the opening and closing of the XXXI Summer Olympic Games were held here. The stadium was built in the middle of the XX century. At that time, it was the largest soccer arena in the world. After the latest reconstruction, Maracana holds up to 80,000 spectators.

Maracana Stadium.


A group of urban slums that occupies an impressive part of Rio de Janeiro and causes a lot of trouble for the city authorities. In fact, Brazil’s favelas are a whole world, a separate and distinct subculture and a “state within a state”. The residents of these neighborhoods are practically autonomous. They pay almost no utility bills, and many engage in drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

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The favelas.

Rodrigo di Freitas Lagoon.

A picturesque bay that is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through a narrow canal. It is a popular vacation spot for city dwellers. Families and large companies often come to the lagoon. Unfortunately, the water in the bay is not clean, but you can safely use the developed infrastructure on the shore, ride a boat or play beach volleyball. Rodrigo di Freitas has free sports halls and playgrounds.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.

Copacabana Beach

The city beach of Rio de Janeiro, stretching for 4 km along the coast. Since the 50-60’s elite residential areas began to be built here, the place has become popular with European bohemia. Along the beach stretches the promenade Avenida Atlantica. Each year Copacabana is visited by millions of Brazilians and tourists and many public holidays are held on the beach, including New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Copacabana beach.

Ipanema Beach.

Another famous beach in Rio de Janeiro surrounded by upscale neighborhoods. Ipanema neighbors Copacabana, but is considered safer than the latter as it is further from the area of dysfunctional slums. Despite the large number of visitors, the water here is considered clean (depending on the season). Also, the Ipanema area has fewer ocean waves, so it is preferred by families with children and older people.

Ipanema beach.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

An annual holiday, a real extravaganza of colors, feelings, rhythm and all the joys of life. Carnival in Brazil has long been one of the intangible heritage of humanity. Thousands of professionals from various samba schools organize a procession in the sambodrome – a street with grandstands, specially designed for such events. Dancers compete in skill, beauty of costumes and scale of scenery.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

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