Dive deep into the history, traditions and must-see attractions that make the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro an exciting place to visit. Explore fun facts before booking your trip with Vacations by Marriott, and get ready for a memorable getaway with carnivals, beaches and everything in between.
1. Rio is named for a river that doesn’t exist. Portuguese explorers first visited Rio de Janeiro, or “River of January,” in January of 1502 and thought today’s Guanabara Bay was the mouth of a river.
2. Rio’s popular landmark, the 98-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue perched atop Corcovado Mountain is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Because of Brazil’s close proximity to the equator, the statue is regularly hit by lightning.
3. During the five days prior to Ash Wednesday each year, Rio holds an event called “Rio Carnival,” the biggest carnival in the world. King Momo, a mythical jester, reigns over the event. Along with hundreds of street parties and elaborate balls, the festival’s main event is the Sambódromo, when the best samba schools in the country compete for a prize.
4. Rio’s nickname is the Marvelous City.
5. As of 2014, Rio de Janeiro legalized street art. As long as a building is not historically significant, street artists are allowed to decorate it.
6. Rio’s most famous dance, the samba, gets its roots from African slaves who worked on the plantations long ago.
7. More than 200,000 people attended the 1950 World Cup in Rio, which holds the record for the largest attendance of any soccer game in history. It was held at Maracanã Stadium, and Uruguay defeated Brazil.
8. Rio held the title of capital of Brazil for 197 years before being taken over by Brasilia.
9. One of the most well-known beaches in the world is Copacabana, located in Rio.
10. Native Brazilians born in Rio are known as cariocas.