NITEROI – RIO DE JANEIRO
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Niteroi in Rio de Janeiro
Niteroi is a city and municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in southeast region of Brazil. It has an estimated population of 487,327 inhabitants (2010) and an area of 129.375 km (80.39 mi)², being the sixth most populous city in the state and the highest Human Development Index Rio de Janeiro’s city, and one of largest in Brazil. Integrates the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area. The city has the nicknames of Niquiti, Nicki City and the Smile City (Cidade Sorriso).
Studies by the Getulio Vargas Foundation in June 2011 classified Niterói as the richest city of Brazil, with 55.7% of the population included in class A. Considering the classes A and B, Niterói also appears in the first place, with 85.9% of the population entered in these classes. The word "Niterói" comes from the Tupi language and means "water that hides".
This city was founded on November 22, 1573 by the Tupi Amerindian chief Araribóia (who later was converted to Roman Catholicism and given the Christian name of Martim Afonso, after the Portuguese explorer Martim Afonso de Sousa). It makes Niteroi the only Brazilian city to have been founded by a non-Christian, non-assimilated Brazilian Amerindian.
Following the expulsion of French settlers from Rio de Janeiro in 1567 by Estácio de Sá (the so-called France Antarctique episode), the Portuguese crown began noticing that the bay of Rio de Janeiro would make a strategic scale for the Atlantic route of ships from Portugal to its colonies in Africa and Asia, as well an important advanced bridgehead for the defense of South Brazil. Fortresses were built and an alliance was formed with nearby native Tupi-Guaraní tribes to defend the settlement against other European invaders.
Araribóia, the chief of one of these allied tribes – the Temininós – requested from the Portuguese General-Governor of Brazil, Mem de Sá, a tract of land; his request was granted, and he was rewarded with the region called "Banda D’Além" (the land beyond), in the eastern side of the bay, from River Marui to the Red Barriers between Gragoata and Boa Viagem beaches. This area corresponded to what is nowadays the northwestern part of the county of Niterói, which includes the central and northern zones of its urban area. There, in the "Land Beyond", Araribóia founded the Village of Saint Lawrence of the Indians (in Portuguese, Vila de São Lourenço dos Índios), the embryo for the future city of Niterói, a Tupi name that means "Hidden Waters". The village was visited by the king of Portugal, John VI, in 1816, who also decreed its emancipation from Rio de Janeiro on May 10, 1819 and gave the new-created county a new name, Vila Real da Praia Grande (Royal Village of Long Beach).
In 1834, the city of Rio de Janeiro, capital of the newly established Empire of Brazil, was detached from the rest of the province of Rio de Janeiro; Vila Real da Praia Grande was then chosen as the new capital of that province, while the city of Rio de Janeiro itself was converted into a neutral county, following the Ato Adicional. Niteroi served the function of capital till the year of 1975 – except for the period between 1894 and 1903 when it was temporarily transferred to the city of Petrópolis.
Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed to Niterói on March 6, 1835 after the Tupi Nictheroy (hidden waters). This old spelling persisted until the mid-20th century, when the current spelling – Niterói – was adopted.
In 1890, the Brazilian provinces began being called states and the neutral county (Rio de Janeiro city) had its status changed to Federal District (or simply DF, the Brazilian acronym for Distrito Federal). Following the transference of Brazil’s capital to Brasilia DF in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro was made into a small, one-county state, named state of Guanabara. This state was finally absorbed by the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1975; since then, Niteroi lost its condition of the state’s capital in favor of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
On April 8, 2010; the mudslide triggered due to heavy rainfall cost at least 200 lives. At least 11,000 people were forced to flee homes due to further mudslides.
Niteroi is one most important financial and commercial centers in Rio de Janeiro State, like a modern city, with modern buildings and several shopping malls. Its economy is centered on its trading and commerce services, like imobiliary corporations, graphic design, web design and publicity. It also hosts industries of food (especially seafood), clothes, caldle, marine objects;
The city is located 25 minutes away from Rio de Janeiro’s downtown region. Niterói boasts the title of fourth richest city in the state, and the third in Rio de Janeiro City Metropolitan Area. The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the city’s main landmark, was designed by the famous Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. The landscape of the central urban area of the city is dominated by a high cylindric building though, the Niterói Tower, that hosts different professional offices and belongs to the Niterói Shopping Mall.
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói — MAC) is situated in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is one of the city’s main landmarks. It was completed in 1996.
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini, who had worked with Niemeyer on earlier projects, the MAC-Niterói is 16 meters high; its cupola has a diameter of 50 metres with three floors. The museum projects itself over Boa Viagem (“Bon Voyage,” “Good Journey”), the 817 square metres (8,790 sq ft) reflecting pool that surrounds the cylindrical base “like a flower,” in the words of Niemeyer.
A wide access slope leads to a Hall of Expositions, which has a capacity for sixty people. Two doors lead to the viewing gallery, through which can be seen the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The saucer-shaped modernist structure, which has been likened to a UFO, is set on a cliffside, at the bottom of which is a beach. In the film Oscar Niemeyer, an architect committed to his century, Niemeyer is seen flying over Rio de Janeiro in a UFO which then lands on the site, suggesting this to be the origin of the museum.
This place serves as the 11th pit-stop of the American’s award winning hit series : The Amazing Race 18, and the 8th pit stop of the The Amazing Race en Discovery Channel 2
ABOVE INFO WAS COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA
RIO DE JANEIRO
The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.
Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.
Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.
Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.
The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.
But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.
Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.
The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.
Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.
Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.
The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.
From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.
The Avenida Atlântica promenade
One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.
The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.
Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.
The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa
By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.
One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.
Tour the favelas
Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.
Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.
The Santa Teresa district
A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.
A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.
Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón
Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.
The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.
Tijuca Atlantic Forest
A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.
You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4×4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.
Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro
December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.
Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.
www.Brazil.org – Rio de Janeiro
Conde Nast Traveler – Rio de Janeiro
Travel Channel – Rio de Janeiro
Lonely Planet – Rio de Janeiro
Trip Advisor – Rio de Janeiro
Audley Travel – Tours in Rio and rest of Brazil
VIATOR – Tours & Activities in Rio de Janeiro
US News – Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro
NY Times – 36 hours in Rio de Janeiro
WIKIPEDIA – Rio de Janeiro
JW MARRIOTT in Copacabana Rio de Janeiro