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02-Jun-2015 02:12 by 10 Comments

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Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast.

Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain at 395 meters (1,296 feet), Corcovado Peak at 704 meters (2,310 feet), and the hills of Tijuca at 1,021 meters (3,350 feet).

These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World [1]).

It is a common mistake to think of Rio as Brazil's capital, a distinction it lost on 21 April 1960 when newly built Brasilia became the capital.

Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, the stadium of Maracanã and Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) are all well-known sights of what the inhabitants call the "marvelous city" (cidade maravilhosa), and are also among the first images to pop up in travelers´ minds, along with the Carnaval celebration.

Sadly, most people also know Rio for its violence and crime.

The drug lords and the slums, or favelas, are the tip of very old social problems.

The favelas are areas of poor-quality housing, slums usually located on the city's many mountain slopes, juxtaposed with middle-class neighborhoods.

The South Zone holds most of Rio's landmarks and world-famous beaches, in an area of only 43.87 square km (17 mi²).

Many of them are within walking distance of each other (for instance, the Sugar Loaf lies about 8 km/5 mi from Copacabana beach).

Most hotels and hostels are located in this part of the city, which is compressed between the Tijuca Range (Maciço da Tijuca) and the sea.

There are important places in other regions as well, such as Maracanã stadium in the North Zone and the many fascinating buildings in the Centre.

If you plan on staying in Rio for more than a couple of days it would be good to invest in a copy of ``How to be a Carioca``(Priscilla Ann Goslin, Livros Two Can Ltda, R).