The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has become one of the most recognisable cities in the world. From the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer to its plush coastlines, it’s no wonder UNESCO has awarded Rio de Janeiro World Heritage status.

We may be able to recognise Rio by pictures, but how much do we actually know about the Brazilian marvel? Below are a few facts to build up your knowledge of this captivating and beautiful city…

No 2. City

Although Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s biggest tourist destination, it is Brazil’s second largest city- Sao Paulo being the first.

Capital One

Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for two centuries (1763- 1960). The capital city was changed to Brasilia at the beginning of the sixties.

Samba School

Samba music has its roots in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, as well as African religious traditions. The world-famous Rio Carnival features performers from Rio’s 200-odd samba schools, which are divided up into five different leagues.

Standing Tall

The statue of Christ the Redeemer’s official name is Cristo Redentor. The statute was built thanks to money donated by Catholics and stands almost 40 metres tall, making it the fifth largest statue of Christ in the world.

7 Wonders

As of 2007, Christ the Redeemer is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is also the youngest, the statue was finished in 1931 and presented to Brazil in 1932.


Rio’s famous Carnival is one of the largest party celebrations in the world, and is considered the largest carnival. Around 2 million people hit the streets of Rio each day during the spring festival.


Rio de Janeiro’s nickname is Cidade Maravilhosa, meaning The Marvellous City. The name was given by the writer Maranhense Coelho Neto, who write a song about Rio’s considerable natural beauty.


The Marvellous City has the oldest operating tramway in the world – The Santa Teresa Tram. The trams run between the city centre of Rio and the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa.


The natives of Rio de Janeiro are known as Cariocas (care-ree-o-cas). Notable cariocas include writer Paulo Coelho, footballer Ronaldo and Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet.

Natural Beauty

Rio is the only city to ever receive a World Heritage title under the Natural Landscape category… and it’s not difficult to see why!


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