World Cup Brazil city guide: Rio de Janeiro

BBC Brazil's Camilla Costa offers an insider's view of the 12 cities hosting matches in this year's Fifa World Cup tournament.

Rio de Janeiro

Map of Rio de Janeiro
Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro Cable cars have connected Sugarloaf mountain and the city since 1912

Rio de Janeiro, on Brazil's Atlantic coast, was the country's capital between 1763 and 1960 and it is the country's second largest city.

Along with stunning views, beaches and urban forests, its historical buildings are a key attraction.

However, poverty and poor housing are widespread. A policy of "pacification", which sees police attempting to wrestle back control of shanty towns from drug gangs, has been dogged by controversy and setbacks.

The number of robberies and homicides remains high.

Stadium Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Stadium Maracana. Capacity: 76,935


  • 15/06 23:00 GMT - Argentina v Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • 18/06 20:00 GMT - Spain v Chile
  • 22/06 17:00 GMT - Belgium v Russia
  • 25/06 21:00 GMT - Ecuador v France
  • 28/06 21:00 GMT - Group C 1st place team v Group D 2nd place team
  • 04/07 17:00 GMT - Quarter-Finalist 5 v Quarter-Finalist 6
  • 13/07 20:00 GMT - Semi-Final 1 Winner v Semi-Final 2 Winner

The legendary Stadium Maracana was built to host the 1950 World Cup, when Brazil lost in the final to Uruguay. The shock defeat silenced the 200,000 spectators at the match and thousands more following the game across the country.

The stadium has witnessed many historic moments in Brazilian football, including Pele's 1,000th career goal and an emotional memorial service for Garrincha, one of Brazil's greatest and most loved football players.

The venue was fully refurbished for the tournament in 2014, when it will again host the final match.

Culture and cuisine
A bowl of acaia Acai is extracted from a species of palm tree and served in pulp form

Cariocas - the residents of Rio - are known for being able to party anywhere, even under a viaduct, where Rio's most famous black music parties happen. There is also no shortage of samba in the city.

Rio also has its own unique food and drink. Its spin on a drink made from acai fruit has a milkshake-like texture and can be mixed with guarana extract - a popular ingredient in energy drinks - as well as granola, fruit and even milk powder.

One of the area's famous foods is the feijoada - a traditional bean and pork meat stew.

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