With the 2014 World Cup coming nearer every day, there is one place that has caught the imagination of soccer fans worldwide and become a household name. It’s none other than Rio de Janeiro, perhaps the most famous city in host country, Brazil. This vast metropolis lying on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere and is known for its exotic Carnival, samba dance and breathtakingly beautiful beaches.

Here are some interesting facts about Rio, soon to be the sports capital of the world!

  • Geography: Rio de Janeiro lies on the western part of a strip of land jutting into Brazil’s Atlantic coast, close to the Tropic of Capricorn. At the entrance to the bay is a 396 meter mountain called Sugarloaf. The center of the city lies on the western shore of the bay. The North Zone, which forms the greater portion, extends into the northwest plains, hills and rocky mountains. The South Zone, which features beautiful beaches, is cut off from the Centre and North Zone by coastal mountains. The West Zone is connected to the South Zone by roads and tunnels.
  • Climate: Being in the southern hemisphere and near the Tropic of Capricorn, Rio de Janeiro has a climate that is the opposite of Europe and North America. Rio’s summer is from December to February and its winter season is from June to August. The temperature along the coast is moderated by sea breezes coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, but inland temperatures can reach up to 100o F. In the Fall, which is from April to June, the cold winds flowing from the Antarctic region can make the weather chilly.
  • Population and demography: Rio de Janeiro has a population of 6.3 million people, which makes it the second largest city in Brazil (after Sao Paulo), the sixth largest in the Americas (North and South) and the 26th largest in the world.
  • History: Rio de Janeiro was founded in 1565 by Portuguese settlers and was, for a time, the seat of the captaincy of the Portuguese Empire. In 1793, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, which was at that time a state of the Portuguese Empire. It remained the capital of Brazil when Queen Maria I of Portugal made it a kingdom in its own right. After the Brazilian war of independence, it became the capital of the Empire of Brazil from 1822 until 1889. After Brazil became a republic, in remained the capital of the country until 1960.
  • Places to visit: Finally, some of the most useful Rio facts! Rio de Janeiro is considered the cultural and tourism capital of Brazil as it features many beautiful landmarks and exciting cultural events throughout the year. The Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains and the statue of Christ the Redeemer are major tourist attractions. The beaches along the Atlantic coast in the South Zone are among the best in the world. Several colorful carnivals, celebrating the city’s Roman Catholic tradition, take place every year, including Cordão do Bola Preta, Suvaco do Cristo and Simpatia é Quase Amor.

All eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro as exciting events like the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Games take place in this culturally rich, beautiful city. For more information about our upcoming sports travel packages to Rio, call 1-800-465-765 to speak with one of our Sports Travel Specialists.

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