Rio de Janeiro or simply ‘Rio’

Rio de Janeiro or simply ‘Rio’ is the capital of the Brazilian State of Rio de Janeiro and the third largest metropolis in the country with a population of around 7 million people. Rio has a nickname…Cidade Maravilhosa or ‘the marvelous city’.
The name ‘Rio de Janeiro’ is Portuguese for ‘River of January’ and was given to the when Gaspar de Lemos, a Portuguese explorer, arrived in Rio de Janeiro in January 1502 and thought Guanabara Bay was the mouth of a large river and, as a result, named the area ‘River of January’. The city was official founded on March 1, 1565, and was called São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (Saint Sebastian’s January River) to pay tribute to King Sebastian’s patron saint. With over 50 kilometers of white and golden sand beaches, Rio is Brazil’s tourism capital.
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People born in Rio de Janeiro are known as Cariocas. The word carioca comes from an indigenous language, Tupi-Guarani, that was spoken by the indigenous tribes who lived in the area before Portuguese settlers came. When the European colonisers arrived, they started to build a city on the indigenous tribes’ land which the Indians called Kario’Oka, meaning ‘white man’s house’.
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Brazil’s most famous dance – samba – has its origins from the African slaves that worked in the plantations in the State of Rio de Janeiro.There are more than 200 samba schools in Rio. The city gets more than 3 million international tourists every year.
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Brazilians are apt to say that if you have not visited Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, Ipanema Beach, Copacabana Beach, Sambodromo, Maracana Stadium, and Tijuca National Park; then you have never been to Brazil. Christ the Redeemer landmark on the top of Corcovada Mountain is one of the most recognized features of Rio and in 2007, it was elected as one of the World’s New Seven Wonders, joining the exclusive list that includes the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu in Peru.
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Rio’s wonderful mix of nature and urban life can be seen in the Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest forest to coexist with a city. Though it was once destroyed by local coffee plantations, its 32 square kilometres (12 square miles) were repopulated with millions of seedlings at the end of the 1800s and it eventually grew into an enormous forest teeming with wildlife. Tijuca Forest is home to several tourist attractions such as the Christ the Redeemer statue, the Vista Chinesa and Parque Lage.
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On July 16, 1950, 173,850 paid spectators packed into the Maracanã stadium, then the world’s biggest, for the final game of the 1950 World Cup. An estimated ten percent of Rio’s population watched as Uruguay snatched victory from the Brazilians, an event the local media dubbed the Maracanazo (a term still used when a visiting team triumphs). The game holds the world record for the highest attendance at any soccer match, ever. The stadium has since become a national symbol, what The New York Times calls a “cathedral of soccer,” and is set to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Maracanã also hosts events beyond soccer: Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and Madonna have all played concerts there.
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