Getting to know Brazil
Brazil is South America’s largest country, taking up nearly half of the continent’s land area. Almost all of it is in the southern hemisphere, with large swaths of jungle teeming with rare flora and fauna.
Golden beaches line the 7,400-kilometer Atlantic coast of Brazil; the interior of the country is rich in mineral resources. Portugal, the colonial power that ruled Brazil until 1822, continues to decorate its churches with gold from the country’s mines. A strong Portuguese influence can be seen in Brazil’s colonial architecture, ornamental arts, such as glazed tiles in churches and convents, and language.
Cristo Redentor and Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), a 28-meter-tall Art Deco statue of Christ, gazes out over Rio de Janeiro and the bay from the summit of Corcovado, Brazil.
Located in Tijuca National Park, the statue stands at a height of 709 meters and a 3.5-kilometer rack train takes visitors to the top. Paul Landowski, a Polish-French sculptor, and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa completed the 30-meter statue in 1931, using reinforced concrete and soapstone.
The eight-meter-deep base protects the chapel, which is frequently used for weddings. As a well-known national symbol, Brazil’s flag isn’t widely recognized.
Sugar Loaf’s rounded granite summit rises 394 meters above the beaches and city of Rio de Janeiro and is a well-known symbol of the city. A second cableway connects the lower Morro da Urca peak to Rio de Janeiro, so visitors come for the views and the thrill of riding in a cable car suspended in the air.
Fort So Joo, a star-shaped fort, is one of three early forts along Rio’s Praia da Urca beach colony that can be visited.
The Iguaçu Falls
There are 247 waterfalls on the Iguaçu river, which flows from Brazil to Paraguay and Argentina, cascading in a semicircle. Just above the falls, the river narrows to a quarter of its normal width, enhancing the water’s power.
It’s impossible to see all of the falls at once, but the Brazilian side is the best place to get a full view of them. Diverse perspectives are offered by catwalks and a tower, and one bridge reaches the Garganta do Diabo (Devil’s Throat), one of the most impressive formations.
Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro
Among the most beautiful beaches in the world, Copacabana and Ipanema meet beyond the Copacabana beaches. Throughout the year, the sand is separated by a wave pattern from a row of hotels, dining establishments, cafés, art galleries, and theaters.
The Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, which drains into the Jardim de Alá Canal, separates the Leblon beaches from the rest. Because there are fewer tourists and more locals, these beaches are popular with families. During the Feira de Artesanato de Ipanema, which features music, art, crafts, and street food, you can find antiques at Praça de Quentaland on Sundays.
Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, which stretches for four kilometers along the coast and is bordered by breaking waves and powdery white sand, is the most fashionable and well-known street in Rio de Janeiro. Black and white mosaics in an undulating pattern reminiscent of Lisbon streets separate the beach from the surrounding buildings and traffic.
It’s not just for show at the beach, either… Playground: It’s a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming in the summertime if the weather is good. Restaurants, high-end shops, and cafés can be found on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, which was once Brazil’s capital.
At least one (the well-known Copacabana Palace) of these structures is designated a national landmark.
Modernist Architecture in Brasilia
Rio de Janeiro was demolished in 1960 to make way for Braslia, Brazil’s new capital, which was carved out of the jungle in just three years. City planning and avant-garde architecture were showcased in Lcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s ambitious proposal, and it remains one of the few cities in the world that represents a complete plan and a single architectural concept today.
Rather than the usual mix of residential and business districts, the entire governmental section is made up of important architectural highlights, which are the city’s main tourist attractions. Praça dos Tràs Poderes is surrounded by some of the city’s most notable structures, including the presidential palace, the supreme court, and two strikingly different congress buildings.
Rainforests of the Amazon
River Negro and River Solimes flow together for about six kilometers before combining to form the Amazon River some 20 kilometers southeast of the city of Manaus. From Manaus, you can take a boat to Encontro das Aguas (meeting of the waters).
The three rivers’ network of rivers, channels, and lakes can be explored on other boat tours, as well as the rain forests. The archipelago of lakes, streams, and flooded forests that make up the Anavilhanas Islands in the Rio Negro provide a comprehensive view of Amazonian ecology.
You can see monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, caimans, turtles, and other animals on a boat tour in this area. An ecological park with 688 acres of canals and a variety of ecosystems close to Manaus is the Janauari Ecological Park.
Although Ouro Preto is a beautiful colonial town today, its narrow, winding streets and mountain location were not enough to support a thriving provincial capital in the past. As the newly constructed capital of Belo Horizonte served as the new government’s new headquarters, Ouro Preto was abandoned like a time capsule.
Ouro Preto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its abundance of colonial architecture, including the Baroque and Rococo churches of S. Francisco de Assis and Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pilar. Magnificent colonial mansions line the narrow, winding lanes, and white churches with Baroque bell towers dot the landscape.
The Salvador Pelourinho
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cidade Alta (Upper Town) of Brazil’s former colonial capital has been recognized for its impressive collection of 17th and 18th-century colonial buildings.
Known as the Pelourinho, Salvador’s medieval district is home to some of the city’s most impressive churches and monasteries, many of which were built when Brazil was Portugal’s richest colony and its gold was lavishly lavished upon them.
Since its construction in the 1700s, San Francisco has been regarded as one of the most beautiful and ornate churches in the city. In the choir and cloister, you’ll find some of the best examples of Portuguese tile panels known as azulejos.
To this day, the state capital of Minas Gerais attracts Modernist architecture enthusiasts to the city thanks to the work of Oscar Niemeyer’s first commissions.
His first major project was the Pampulha area’s So Francisco de Assis church, which features a parabolic-curved roofline and overlooks a lake. Roberto Burle Marx’s gardens are located on the hillside above Niemeyer’s former casino building, which is now an art museum.
Located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, Edificio Niemeyer, one of the architect’s most recognizable early works, overlooks the Praça da Liberdade.