OLYMPICS 2016 Backgrounder: Meet Brazil and its Rio

Destinations Other Than SpainsliderTravel

Rio de Janeiro’s waterfront renovated for the 2016 Olympics/Brian Godfrey, CC BY2.0


Compiled by GUIDEPOST
Text&Pics: Guidepost, Photographers, Wikipedia


BRAZIL, from BRICs to Busted Economy

Brazil is a democratic federative republic, with a presidential system.

A mixed economy with abundant natural resources, it is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world’s eight largest economy at market exchange rates, and the seventh largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Active in the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors Brazil has a labor force of over a 107 million (ranking 6th worldwide) out of a population of 200.4 million.

Its presence in international financial and commodities markets has been steadily expanding. It is one of the four emerging economies (the BRICs).

For the last 150 years Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee and is now the fourth largest car market in the world.

A major exporter of aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef, Brazil ranks 23rd worldwide in exports value.

After decades of rapid growth the country went into recession in 2014. It’s still there. Political corruption besets it, resulting in nationwide protests. (Source: Wikipedia)


RIO DE JANEIRO, Sexy Under the Southern Sun

Rio de Janeiro (River of January) is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s third-most populous state.

Part of the city (known simply as Rio) has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, named “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea”.

Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. In 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, within the Portuguese Empire.

When in 1808 the Portuguese Royal Court transferred from Portugal to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the seat of the court of Queen Maria I of Portugal.

Seven years later Brazil was raised to the dignity of a kingdom, within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

Rio remained the capital of the pluricontinental Lusitanian monarchy until 1822, when the War of Brazilian Independence began.

Subsequently it served as the capital of the independent monarchy, the Empire of Brazil, until 1889, and the capital of a republican Brazil which was proclaimed in the same year, until the capital was transferred to Brasília in 1960.

Rio de Janeiro has the second largest municipal GDP in the country and 30th largest in the world (2008 data). It is headquarters to Brazilian industrial and service companies, including two of the country’s major corporations—Petrobras and Vale—and Latin America’s largest telemedia conglomerate, the Grupo Globo.

It is the home of many universities and institutes and the second-largest R&D center in Brazil.

With its natural settings, Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon, Rio is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks in Rio include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop the Corcovado Mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent parade avenue surrounded by grandstand used during the Carnival; and the Maracana Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums.

Rio is host to the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics—the first time a South American and Portuguese-speaking country is hosting these events. (Source: Wikipedia)





The 18th century Imperial Palace/Brian Godfrey/CC BY 2.0 Generic

El 18thcentury Imperial Palace

First served as the residence of the governors of colonial Brazil; from 1808, as a royal residence of King John VI of Portugal and, later, also of Brazil; from 1822, as the city palace of the monarchs of the Empire of Brazil.
For almost 150 years, from 1743 to 1889, it was one of the main political centers in Brazil.
Since 1984 it is an important cultural center.


Rio de Janeiro Carnival/Nicolas de Camaret/CC BY 20 Generic
BRASIL LOLYMPICS Carnaval de Río de Janeiro 2016


One of the most famous carnivals in the world, if not the most famous on zest and vibrancy alone. It’s the first that comes to mind when people anywhere hear the word Rio de Janiero.




/Street Vendors/Brian Godfrey /CC BY 2.0 Generic
Juegos Olímpicos de Brasil 2016 vendedores ambulantes de Brian Godfrey CC BY 2.0

Godfrey: “Strategically situated outside one of Rio’s busiest subway stations — Largo da Carioca — street vendors set up their temporary stands, quick to dismantle if the police should arrive to disperse them! Although technically illegal, street vending is popular with the public, due to the low prices!”


Largo da Carioca (Carioca Square)/Brian Godfrey/CC BY 2.0 Generic

BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 por Brian Godfrey Largo da Carioca

Note the 400-year-old St. Anthony Church and the Petrobras Building in the background.





Woman on Copacabana Beach/Edgardo W. Olivera/CC BY 2.0 Generic
BRASIL mujer Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 en Copacabana


The Copacabana Beach, on the Atlantic Coast of Rio, considered one of the Top Ten Beaches in the world (Photos4Travel).





15 de Noviembre Square/Brian Godfrey/CC BY2.0 Generic
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 Nov 15 de la plaza

The plaza commemorates the proclamation in Rio de Janeiro of the First Brazilian Republic on 15 November 1889, overthrowing the constitutional monarchy of the Empire of Brazil, thereby ending the reign of Dom Pedro II.



Favelas of Río/Tiago Celestino/CC BY 2.0. Generic
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 - Favelas

Favelas (urban slums) first appeared on the scene in the 19th century as bairros africanos (African neighborhoods) but the great exodus into these areas occurred between the 1940s and the 1970s. More than 11 million Brazilians live in favelas.


Mike Vondran/CC BY 2.0 Generic
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 CRISTO REDENTOR

Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado



Corcovado photographed from the plane/Yvon Maurice/CC BY 2.0 Generic
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 montaña de Corcovado desde un avión

Maurice: “Corcovado is dominated by the famous statue of Christ overlooking the city. I had a good view of it from my window. . .  It presents the popular landmark from an unusual perspective not often seen. . .This is why I’m showing it here.
Corcovado, meaning hunchback, is a mountain in central Rio.
The 710-metre granite peak is located in the Tijuca Forest, a national park.”


Edgardo W. Olivera/CC BY 2.0 Generic
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 Contrastes por Olivera


Río is a city of dramatic contrasts. Of multimillionaires and paupers in abject poverty. Note the homeless sleeping on the sidewalk at the intersection of Teotônio Regadas and Joaquim Silva Streets.




Night view of Botafogo in southern Rio/Edgardo W. Olivera/CC BY 2.0 Generic
BRAZIL OLYMPICS 2016, NOCTURNAL VIEW PLAYA BOTAFOGO.BY OLIVERAjpgOlivera: “Botafogo is the old bastion of the Brazilian elite, between Flamengo in the north and Copacabana in the south. It is known for its shopping and business centers and 19th-century mansions.
“Botafogo Beach is a popular venue for seafront shows and concerts.
“There’s a prestigious Yacht Club in nearby Urca. Yachts and sailboats could been seen
anchored in the cove of Botafogo at all hours.” (Translated from the original Spanish text)

Douleurs Baroques/Tetedelart1855/CC BY2.0 Generic

Baroque conditioned the Luso-Brazilian artistic production in the 18th century and provided a basis for what the Brazilians like to think of as their cultural identity specially in the 19th and the 20th centuries.

The Baroque tradition, which, historically, had enjoyed massive strength in Brazil, was considered the national style of excellence. Gradually it fell into disuse, but traces of it survived in various forms of art until the early 20th century.




Ipanema Beach at sunset/Chensiyuan/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
BRASIL Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 ipanema_beach_sunset CC BY SA 3.0 Unported

/Ipanema is known for its elegant development and social life. The Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) mountains rise at the western end of the beach, providing a dramatic framework for the enchanting Ipanema summer sunset.
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)