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 Rio de Janeiro

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Copyright © Irene. Graphic for my personal use only. Not available for download.


Rio de Janeiro, city of beautiful landscapes


Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most beautiful cities of the world. It's surrounded by mountains and hills and has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world: the Copacabana beach.

Copyright © Irene. Picture taken by me at the top of the Corcovado hill in 1992.

Rio is bounded on the east by the Guanabara Bay, which you can see on the picture above and on the west and north by forested mountains and on the south by a long beach area.

Its population is estimated in 5.750.000 inhabitants and it occupies an area of 1.171 km². In January 2000, the city turned 435 years old, but despite its age, it's considered one of the most modern cities of Brazil.

 Copyright © Irene. Graphic for my personal use only. Not available for download.

 Rio is the owner of a magnificent beauty, offering its visitors and inhabitants a unique landscape. Nature perfectly matches the sea side with the mountains creating a remarkable view. That is one of the reasons why Rio de Janeiro is called by Brazilian citizens the "Wonderful city" ("Cidade Maravilhosa").

The most famous landscapes and tourist attractions of Rio the Janeiro are the Copacabana Beach, the Sugar Loaf, the Corcovado, and the Botanical Garden. But Rio also offers its visitors a large variety of other attractions, nightlife, entertainment, cultural events etc. Many of Rio's best hotels, restaurants, shops and nightlife are concentrated in the south part of the city, referred to as Zona Sul (South Zone). During the day, Rio's many beaches, shops and commercial centers are often crowded, but at night, life fucuses on cinemas, theaters, restaurants, cafés and clubs.


On January 1, 1502, the Guanabara Bay (main entrance of Rio de Janeiro by the sea) was found.  As the Portuguese mistook it for the mouth of a large river, they named it Rio de Janeiro ("rio" is the Portuguese word for river and "janeiro", the word for January). The city was founded on March 1, 1565 by Estácio de Sá, nephew of Mem de Sá, Brazil's third governor general (1558-1572) who was responsible for expelling the French invaders from Rio in 1567. The city was founded near the Sugar Loaf mountain, which is located in the present Guanabara Bay, previously named Rio de Janeiro. When the city was founded it was first named city of São Sebastião of Rio de Janeiro, and later renamed Rio de Janeiro. After the French were expelled, Mem de Sá decided to remove the city from the Sugar Loaf to another site.

The city was the second capital of Brazil (Salvador was the first) until 1960, when the city of Brasília was founded and Rio ceased to be the capital of the country. The territory occupied by the city of Rio de Janeiro was then converted into Guanabara state. In 1975, both Guanabara and Rio de Janeiro states were fused and the city of Rio de Janeiro became then the capital of the reorganized Rio de Janeiro state. Rio remained the largest city of Brazil and also the country's most important financial and commercial center for a long period, loosing this position to São Paulo. The city's economic and social prominence grew in the 18th century after it became the main trade center for the gold and diamond-mining areas of Minas Gerais. Later, its status as a national capital and as the royal residence of the Portuguese monarch Dom João VI influenced Rio's continued growth.


Rio de Janeiro lies on a strip of Brazil's Atlantic coast, close to the Tropic of Capricorn. It is located in the Rio de Janeiro state, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south and also by three other states: Minas Gerais to the north and north-west, Espírito Santo to the north-east and São Paulo to the south-west. The state occupies an area of 43.909 km² and its population is estimated in more than 13.200.000 inhabitants. Rio de Janeiro city is its capital, and also the most important city of the state.


Although the region's climate is generally tropical, hot and humid, the climate of Greater Rio is strongly affected by its topography, and its proximity to the ocean. Because of its geographic situation, the city is reached often, especially during Fall and Winter, by cold fronts advancing from the Antarctic, causing frequent weather changes. The mountainous areas register greater rainfall since they constitute a barrier to the humid wind that comes from the Atlantic. The temperature varies according to altitude, distance from the coast and type of vegetation. Winter (from June 21 to September 23) is very pleasant, both because of its mild temperatures and because it is, in general, less rainy than Summer (December 21 to March 21). The annual average temperature in Rio is about 23º C, reaching sometimes 40º C or more during Summer.

In Rio de Janeiro it is:

Click for Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Forecast

Background midi "Black Orpheus".
Weather forecast by Wunderground.

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