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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brazil Rio

Christ watches over the city The other landmark is the around 130 foot (40 m) tall statue of Christ that stands on top of the approx. 2,300 foot (700 m) high Corcovado rocks to the west of the Sugar Loaf with his arms stretched out over the city. A winding road through a section of ancient rain forest and a rack railway reach the top. The mountain ridge from which the Corcovado rises separates the southern part of the planned rich suburb of Barra da Tijuca from the northerly National Park da Tijuca. Rio de Janeiro owes its stunning beauty to its position on the west- ern shore of the wide Guanabara Bay, at the foot of the slopes of the Morros, and the foothill of the Brazilian mountains that is covered in lush vegetation. This surely also impressed the Portuguese discoverer, Andre Gon-calves when he entered Gunanabara Bay on New Year's Day 1502. He mistakenly imagined there to be a river and named it Rio de Janeiro or "January River." Because the bay is an ideal natural harbor Goncalo Coelho built a Portuguese settlement at Urea, the hill below the Sugar Loaf. The first foundations of Cidade de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro were laid in 1565 in the place that is now the center of the city. When gold was found in the early eighteenth century at the Gerais mines to the south of present-day Brasilia it led to a wave of immigration from Europe. The town quickly grew beyond its walls and replaced Bahia as the colonial capital in 1763. The gold mines were soon exhausted but after a short economic downturn the country turned to exporting coffee. When the Portuguese Royal family fled here to escape Napoleon in 1808 the colony grew even faster. New buildings were constructed, old ones were restored, new streets were driven through the town, and the public water supply was extended. Brazil shares a border with almost every other country in South America--only Chile and Ecuador are untouched--and covers almost half the continent. It is the fifth largest country in the world, behind Russia, Canada, China, and the U.S.A., with an area of eight and a half million square kilometers. Despite its vast expanse of territory, Brazil's population is concentrated in the major cities of its coast. The urban sprawls of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo dominate the southern coast. Further north, towns such as Salvador and João Pessoa retain the colonial atmosphere of the early Portuguese settlers. The great interior, much of which is covered by the rainforest basin of the Amazon, remains sparsely settled.


Dan said...

Anyone travelling to the north east of Brasil particularly Joao Pessoa, capital of Paraiba, would do well to log on to
written and updated everyday by ex-pats living in Joao Pessoa.
It will give you a great insight into living in Brasil and what you will need to stay in Brasil. Good luck and enjoy Brasil.