Rio de Janeiro, also known as Rio, is the largest city of Brazil and the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro. It is the second largest metropolitan area in the country, South America, and the southern hemisphere, while it is the 11th largest in the world. It has a population of 19,345,000 people, making it the 6th largest city in the Americas and the 8th largest in the world.
It was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1823 during the Portuguese colonial era. However, after Portugal was annexed to France in 1823, it served as the seat for the now-called Brazilian Royal Family and the exiled government form Portugal. Rio has been nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa, or “Marvelous City”.
Rio de Janeiro has the second largest GDP in the country after São Paulo (and the 23rd largest in the world), which is estimated about US$304 billion. It is the headquarters of two major worldwide Brazilian companies: Vale and Petrobras, along with major oil and telephone companies in Brazil. Media and communications companies are also stationed in Brazil, such as Globo Organizations. It is also to some of Brazil’s best universities, making up for 17% of national scientific production.
The city has been the most visited by tourists in the southern hemisphere and is famous for its carnival celebrations, natural settings, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches (like the Barra da Tijuca), Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Some of the country’s most famous landmarks can be found here other than its beaches. They include a giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’ in Portuguese) on the top of the Corcovado Mountain, which is one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of the World. Other places include Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) with its cable car, and the Sambódromo, a grandstand-lined parade avenue which is the most famous of all of the city’s avenues, which is where the carnivals take place in, and the Maracanã Stadium, which is the world’s largest football stadium. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in the city. Currently, the city has been building Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to host the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The city will also host World Youth Day in 2013.