The Wonderful Sights of Brazil
Brazil is the largest country in South America; it covers about half of the continent. Much of the country is tropical with expansive rainforests full of exotic plants and animals.
Lined with golden, sandy beaches, the 7,400-kilometre-long Atlantic coast holds countless sights for you. Brazil’s architecture reflects the former Portuguese presence in the country. Besides the decorative arts and glazed tiles in the churches and monasteries, the language is another remnant of the former Portuguese colonial power.
Brazil is extremely diverse and delights the heart of every traveler who visits. In this article, we will introduce you to some of Brazil’s most beautiful and breathtaking sights. So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find what wonderful sights of Brazil await you!
What to Expect from Brazil?
The first thing that will await you upon arrival is a tropical paradise. Brazil is famous for its rich culture and there are many sights and attractions for any taste. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a relaxing holiday on an idyllic beach, you want to go on an adventure in the Brazilian jungle, or you are planning a city trip and want to experience the world-famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro
The Statue of Christ the Redeemer
The city’s landmark is a colossal Art Deco statue. The Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa completed this masterpiece in 1931.
The monument sits on the summit of Corcovado, more than 700 metres above the city. From there, the Statue of Christ watches over Rio de Janeiro and the bay. Its most striking features are the outstretched arms, which look like they are trying to embrace all mankind.
The hill and the statue are part of Tijuca National Park. The top of the hill, where a wide plaza surrounds the 30-metre-high statue, is accessible from the city via a cog railway.
With its rounded peak, Sugarloaf Mountain is another easy-to-recognize sight in Rio de Janeiro. It juts out from a tree-covered promontory and rises 394 metres above the beaches and the city.
The top of Sugarloaf Mountain is usually one of the first places tourists visit in Rio de Janeiro, and for good reason. The view of the city and the harbour from the top is spectacular. In addition, a thrilling cable car ride will take you from Sugarloaf to Morro da Urca, a lower peak. From there, you can use a second cable car to descend the rest of the way into the city.
The most famous stretch of Rio’s city centre is probably the Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana. Four kilometres of white sand line one side of the street; the beach is separated from buildings and traffic by a wide promenade. The promenade is paved with a black and white mosaic in wavy patterns, reminiscent of the streets of Lisbon.
Along the Copacabana, there are restaurants, shops, cafés, and beautiful old buildings. Among them is the famous Copacabana Palace, which is a national heritage site. Most of these buildings date back to the time when Rio was the Brazilian capital.
The Brazilian Carnival
Few shows can match the extravagance of the Brazilian Carnival. It boasts loud colours, action, and exuberance – an event unlike any other in the world!
The most prominent of these carnivals takes place in Rio de Janeiro. It is a carefully orchestrated spectacle; a stadium was specially built for the parades of samba dancers.
This stadium is the Sambódromo, designed by none other than Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s most celebrated architect. The long rows of grandstands offer a great view of the 700-metre parade ground, where dancers and musicians in dazzling explosions of brilliant costumes show off their skills.
But the carnival isn’t just celebrated in Rio. The parades in Salvador, Recife, and other Brazilian cities are just as colourful.
Brasília, the Brazilian capital, was carved out of the wilderness and completed in less than three years. In 1960, it released Rio de Janeiro as the capital.
The city was built according to the ambitious plans of Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer. Today, many consider Brasília a unique example of modern urban planning and avant-garde architecture. It is one of the few cities in the world with one consistent architectural style throughout all of its buildings.
Without the usual blend of residential and commercial districts, the entire government section consists of great architectural landmarks. Some of the most prominent surround the Praça dos Três Poderes (Three Powers Plaza). These include the Presidential Office, the Supreme Federal Court, the National Congress, and the Historical Museum.
Salvador is also a former capital city of Brazil, dating back to the colonial era in the 17th and 18th century. The city district Cidade Alta still presents an extraordinary collection of colonial buildings from that time, probably the most beautiful ensemble of its kind in South America. For this reason, Cidade Alta was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most beautiful churches and convents in Salvador are located in the old quarter of Pelourinho. The religious buildings were financed by the abundance of gold in the area, which was also the reason for Portugal’s interest in the region and the source of their wealth.
São Francisco is the most beautiful and opulent of the churches. Built in the early 1700s, there are many intricate, gold-covered carvings. In the choir and cloister, you will be able to admire excellent examples of typical Portuguese tiled panels called azulejos.
Next to São Francisco is the Church of the Third Order of Saint Francis. It is impossible to miss the richly carved façade, covered with statues and intricate decorations. The interior is equally ornate, surpassing even the Portuguese Baroque with its lush details.
São Paulo is home to some of the best collections of fine art in Latin America, and often, the buildings of museums are landmarks in their own right.
The Museu de Arte displays is a modernist landmark designed by Lina Bo Bardi. It houses the most extensive collection of Western art on the continent. Its collection includes significant works by artists from the Renaissance to the modern era, but focuses on works from the mid to late 20th century.
The Museu de Arte is located in Ibirapuera Park, and the Pavilhão da Bienal de Artes is also close by. Here, you can see an exhibition of more than 8,000 works by Western artists of the 20th century, including Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky, Miró, Modigliani, and important Brazilian painters.
If you’re into street art, be sure to check out Batman’s Alley. This is an open-air gallery by local and international artists.
You can find Batman’s Alley in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood. In this area, you’ll also come across art galleries displaying works by well-known as well as emerging Brazilian artists.
Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state Minas Gerais, was the first city to commission buildings from the outstanding Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. To this day, these early buildings attract tourists and fans of modern architecture to the city.
One of the most significant landmarks and his first major work, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, set him apart from conventional architects. The parabolically curved church can be found on the shores of a lake in the Pampulha district.
On the hill above it, the former casino now houses an art museum. The church and the museum are connected via gardens designed by the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
Edificio Niemeyer, a winding residential building, overlooking the large Praça da Liberdade in the city centre. It is one of the most famous early works by the renowned Brazilian architect. The borders of the city park are marked by clear geometric lines of one of Niemeyer’s later works, the Palácio das Artes. This houses the Minas Gerais Craft Center, where you can admire works by contemporary artists.
Another of Belo Horizonte’s many attractions is the postmodern Rainha da Sucata. Inside this imposing building created by Éolo Maia and Sylvio Podestá is the Mineralogy Museum.
Brazil is a wonderful country and definitely an amazing destination, thanks to its many sights. The country covers almost half of the continent of South America and boasts numerous rainforest areas and fantastic cities.
The most visited city in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro, especially known for its world-famous carnival with countless samba dancers. The Copacabana, the Statue of Christ, and Sugarloaf Mountain also attract tourists to this city.
Brazil’s other cities also feature cool sights. While the capital, Brasília, impresses with its modern architecture, the city of Salvador takes you back in time to the architecture of the colonial era. You can visit numerous museums in the cities.
Have we convinced you to travel to Brazil? A stunning country with lots of diversity is waiting for you. In our opinion, Brazil is one of the destinations that should be on everyone’s travel list.