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Facts about Rio de Janeiro for Kids


Rio de Janeiro, commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas, and 26th in the world.

  • Rio de Janeiro has become a home of a World Heritage Site named “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea”, as granted by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 in the category Cultural Landscape.
  • The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation.
  • Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.
  • The 2016 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American or a Portuguese-speaking nation hosts the event.
  • The Centre (Centro), the core of Rio, lies on the plains of the western shore of Guanabara Bay.
  • The greater portion of the city, commonly referred to as the North Zone, extends to the northwest on plains composed of marine and continental sediments and on hills and several rocky mountains.
  • These mountains and hills are offshoots of the Serra do Mar to the northwest, the ancient gneiss-granite mountain chain that forms the southern slopes of the Brazilian Highlands.
  • The population of the greater metropolitan area is estimated at 11–13.5 million.
  • Rio has a tropical savannah climate (Aw ) that closely borders a tropical monsoon climate (Am ) according to the Köppen climate classification, and is often characterized by long periods of heavy rain from December to March.
  • Until the early years of the 20th century, the city was largely limited to the neighborhood now known as the historic Downtown business district, on the mouth of Guanabara Bay.
  • The city will host the World Youth Day in 2013, the second World Youth Day in South America and first in Brazil.
  • The North Zone (Portuguese: Zona Norte) begins at Grande Tijuca (the middle class residential and commercial bairro of Tijuca and its surrounding neighborhoods and favelas), just west of the city center, and sprawls for miles inland until Baixada Fluminense and the city’s Northwest.
  • The International Airport of Rio de Janeiro, the main campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro at the Fundão Island, and the State University of Rio de Janeiro, in Maracanã, are also located in the Northern part of Rio.
  • After independence from Portugal, Rio de Janeiro became a destination for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Portugal, mainly in the early 20th century.
  • The airport is located in the district of Baixada de Jacarepaguá, within the municipality of Rio de Janeiro approximately 19 mi from the city center.