Cidade Maravilhosa

Cidade Maravilhosa (1)

Sea, mountains, forests, rivers and lakes come together to create a varied and beautiful geographical setting. Rio de Janeiro is a huge city set against an idyllic natural backdrop, with kilometres of beaches between Guanabara Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Its complex geographical situation that features sea and mountains has led urban planners to make enormous efforts to organise everything, which they have achieved by means of numerous bridges and tunnels that have made it possible for life to flow through the arteries of the city.

Brasilia is the political capital of Brazil and Sao Paulo is the economic centre; but Rio de Janeiro is the historical and tourist capital, with a population of 12 million, the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and the immense statue of Christ the Redeemer. The city is dominated by blue sea and green vegetation, and these landscape colours are enhanced by the rainbow colours of the informal clothes of its citizens, who are known as "cariocas".

Carioca was the name the Indians gave the area where a river flowed in Tijuca and the first settlers were found.  The word combines the indigenous Tupi words for 'white man' and 'house'; in others words, carioca means 'white man's house'. 

Actually, carioca only applies to the inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro; the inhabitants of the state of Rio de Janeiro are known as fluminenses. The origin of the word comes from the Latin word 'flumen', which means river, and the suffix 'ense', meaning natural. A native of Rio

Therefore, all cariocas are fluminenses, but not all fluminenses are cariocas, since a carioca refers to someone who was born in the 'Cidade Maravilhosa'. For example, people from Bahia are bahians and those from Rio Grande do Sul are known as gaúchos.

But carioca can even refer to a mood. Always positive, welcoming, smiling... And when you are surrounded by the wonders of nature, the friendly people, their love of music, dance, partying, beaches, sports, then you too can become a carioca... and if you enjoy it, you can go home a fully fledged carioca!

We're confident that you'll fall in love with this Cidade Maravilhosa, its colours, its urban design, its beaches, its joyfulness and its light.

And by the way, you know how it got its name?

In the 19th century, Rio de Janeiro experienced a period of chaos and unsanitary conditions that certainly wouldn't make it worthy of such a passionate review. Francisco Pereira Passos, however, was asked to transform it and make it into a beautiful modern metropolis, a city with which it would be easy to fall in love.

Such was the change that the press in the early 20th century referred to the transformation of Rio de Janeiro. In 1913, the French writer Jane Catulle Mendes paid homage to the city that had enchanted her with a book of poetry titled "La Ville Merveilleuse", i.e. The Marvellous City.

Gradually everyone accepted this name for Rio de Janeiro, until 1935, when André Filho and Silva Sobreira created the famous song Cidade Maravilhosa, which has become the official anthem of Rio.

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