Rio De Janeiro is the third largest city in South America and the capital city of the state of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. This city was the capital of Brazil for two centuries and has also been the capital of the Portuguese Empire, as well as being an independent nation. This city rest on about four hundred and sixty five square miles and its population is over six million residents. Rio De Janeiro is the second largest producer of industrial production, as well as financial services for the country of Brazil. This city produces many manufactured goods which include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, clothing and petroleum products. Its financial sector includes banks and the busiest stock market in Brazil, the Bolsa da Valores. However, the true gem of this cities economy is its thriving and rich tourist sector. Tourism is this cities prime economic activity spurred by its beautiful location, temperate climate and a culture that spans over five hundred years of history. Not to mention the first rate luxury hotels, resorts, nightclubs and bars that dot the city.
The educational needs of this city are serviced at both the city and state level. Primary schools come under the jurisdiction of Rio de Janeiro, while secondary schools are handled by the state. Notable universities in the city include the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro State University and Fundação Getúlio Vargas. Rio de Janeiro is also home to more than fifty museums. These museums can be found in buildings that have either won awards for their original design or are located in buildings that are listed as historic heritage sites. Museums that are a must see in the city are the Modern Art Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Another fantastic museum to visit is the Museu Nacional or National Museum of Brazil. This museum is located in the Quinta da Boa Vista Park and was established in 1818, upon order of Portugal king John VI. The Museu Nacional has one of the largest collections in the Americas of animal exhibits, insect exhibits and collections of everything from Egyptian mummies to fossils.
Rio de Janeiro is also known for one of the biggest libraries in all of Latin America, The National Library. This library is located in Cinelandia and was established by John VI in the year 1810. The original collections of this library were brought to the city by the Royal Family as they fled from Lisbon, avoiding the advancing French armies in 1807. At the time they had over sixty thousand items that were originally housed in the Lisbon Royal Library. Today the library contains some of the most impressive collections of literature that can be found in Brazil.
One of the most beautiful places to visit for lovers of nature in Rio de Janeiro is the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra. This botanical garden was established in 1774 by the Marquis of Pombal. It overs an area of over thirty two acres and features European style gardens and some of the richest foliage and botanicals in all of Brazil. Though normally quiet during the week, on weekends this garden comes to live and is a popular hot spot for music and entertainment. Another natural respite from the urban landscape of Rio de Janeiro is the Tijuca Forest. This is considered to one of the largest forest in an urban area in the entire world and covers an area of over nineteen miles. Inside the forest are hundreds of different animal and botanical species, many of which are endangered. The forest also contains the Cascatinha Waterfall, the Mesa do Imperador, Mayrink Chapel and the popular sculpture Christ the Redeemer. Christ the Redeemer is the largest art deco statue of Jesus Christ in the world. This massive statue stands over one hundred and thirty feet high and is ninety eight feet wide. It is located on the peak of Corcovado and weighs an impressive six hundred and thirty five pounds. Christ the Redeemer is composed of mostly soapstone, with some reinforcing concrete and was completed in 1931. In 2007, this statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World by The New Open World Corporation.
Another popular attraction in Rio de Janeiro is Sugarloaf Mountain. This mountain is at the entrance of Guanabara Bay and rises almost thirteen hundred feet high. This granite mountains is very popular among rock climbers and also those looking to get a good view of the bay and ocean. A tram runs between the two peaks of Sugarloaf Mountain. This cable car is capable of holding over seventy people and the route between the peaks can be covered in about twenty minutes. For sports fans, Rio de Janeiro offers its visitors the Estádio do Maracanã. Estádio do Maracanã is an open air stadium that was opened to the public around 1950. It was originally built to host the FIFA World Cup. Since then it has hosted many football matches between the various football clubs of Rio de Janeiro. This stadium can currently seat over eighty-eight thousand spectators and is scheduled to host the World Cup Final in 2014.
Rio de Janeiro is also known for its world class beaches and beach neighborhoods that attract a large diverse cross section of the population. One of the most famous neighborhoods is the Ipanema neighborhood. This neighborhood is lined with bicycle paths and kiosks. During the day it is a favorite among bicyclist and joggers. During the evening it supports an exciting nightlife, as the beach bars come alive. Other popular beach communities in Rio de Janeiro include the Copacabana and Leme. One thing not to miss during any visit to Rio de Janeiro is the samba parades, street parties and festivals that always seem to be happening in the city. One of the most popular, among both residents and tourist is the Rio Carnival. This is a pageant of dancers, performers and floats that are not to be missed.