| Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2016

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City Guide

Below you will find information about the cities in Brazil. In addition to Rio de Janeiro, the football competitions during Rio 2016 Olympics will take place in the following cities. Read about the overview and the rich soccer history:

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular tourist destination in Brazil. The city is the heart of Brazilian soccer and also boasts beautiful beaches and cultural attractions. Rio, Cidade Maravilhosa, is the second most populous metropolis in Brazil with over 6.3 million inhabitants.

The city is located between majestic beaches and the tropical forest. A popular destination is the neighborhood of Copacabana, the site of the most famous beach in the country. It is home to many hotels and a great place to interact with locals and play beach soccer. The Christ the Redeemer statue is also a world-famous attraction. The statue opened in 1931 and is located on the Corcovado mountain. It is 130 feet tall and at its site offers a beautiful panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro. Other popular areas to explore are Centro, the downtown area of the city, and Lapa, a bohemian neighborhood, which both home many interesting places to visit.

Soccer in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has a very rich soccer history. It is the birthplace of many of the country’s greatest players including Zico, Romario and Ronaldo. The city is also the home of four of Brazil’s largest soccer clubs: Fluminese, Vasco da Gama Botafogo and Flamengo. The latter club is the country’s best supported team with over 30 million fans.

The famous Maracana stadium is based in Rio. It is the city’s second most popular tourist attraction. The stadium was originally used at the 1950 World Cup and hosted the final when Brazil lost to Urugay by a score of 2-1. The Maracana was the largest stadium in the world and holding crowds as large as 200,000 people, although it’s capacity has now been downgraded to seat 75,117 people.

Adapted from – Rio de Janeiro

Belo Horizonte

Founded in 1897 as Curral del-Rei, the city’s name was changed to Belo Horizonte, meaning beautiful horizon, in 1906. Today the city is often referred to as Beaga’ after the sound of the initials BH in Portuguese. Belo Horizonte contains 2.4 million residents, making it the sixth most populous city in Brazil. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the Brazilian state Minas Gerais. The city is home to Praca da Liberdade, the largest cultural complex in Brazil. The beautiful circuit includes the seat of the state’s governance as well as many museums. The city’s central market, with over 400 shops, bars and stalls featuring traditionals delights like linguica mineira and carne de sol (salted beef), is also worth a visit.

Soccer in Belo Horizonte

The main teams in Belo Horizonte are Atletico Mineiro, Cruzeiro and America Futebol Clube. The respective nicknames for the clubs are the Galo (rooster), the Raposa (fox) and the Coelho (rabbit). Atletico Mineiro won the first Campeonato Brasileiro in 1971. America Futbol Clube was the club where the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo began his career.

There will be six games played in Belo Horizonte including one of the semifinal matches. The stadium Governor Magalhaes Pinto, home to Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro, will act as the venue for the games. The stadium was inaugurated on December 5, 1965 but has undergone renovations to leave it at today’s capacity of 58 thousand people.

Adapted from – Belo Horizonte


Brasília is the capital of Brazil after replacing Rio in 1960. Construction began on the city in 1956 and it was founded four years later, making Brasília one of the nation’s most modern cities. As the capital, Brasília is the setting of the majority of the country’s federal administration and political activity. Brasília is a very unique city due to its urban planning. It’s the only city the world that was constructed in the 20th century that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Some of Brasília’s highlights include the Three Power’s Square, which hosts the executive and legislative branches as well as the headquarters of the Supreme Court, The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasília and Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge. The Paranoa Lake, an artificial lake used to water sports and leisure, is also a popular attraction.

Soccer in Brasília

Brasília is home to the Brasiliense Futebol Clube and Sociedade Esportiva do Gama. The club’s stadiums are respectively the Serejão and the Berezerrão, which was redesigned in 2000. A new stadium was built in Brasilia for the 2014 World Cup. The Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha is the second largest stadium during the World Cup and sat 68,009 spectators. The Mane Garrincha is environmentally friendly to keep with Brasília’s urban planning tradition. The venue hosted 7 matches.

Adapted from – Brasília

São Paulo

São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city and home to over 11 million inhabitants. The city is called “Terra da Garoa,” meaning Land of the Drizzle because it experiences frequent rainfall. São Paulo, located in the southeastern part of the country, is also the financial and business center of Brazil. The metropolis is Brazil’s most diverse city, hosting over 100 different ethnicities. It experienced an influx of immigrants during the 19th century who contributed to the city’s development. Today, São Paulo is solely responsible for 12 percent of Brazil’s GDP.

Soccer in São Paulo

São Paulo is the birthplace of Brazilian soccer. The city was home to Charles Miller, the Englishman who introduced the sport to São Paulo in 1894 and later rest of the country. Many soccer clubs are based in São Paulo including Corinthians, Palmerias and São Paulo. These powerful clubs have won a combined 14 Brazilian championships.

The city’s newest soccer stadium, the Arena de São Paulo, was built for the 2014 World Cup. The stadium hosted the opening match of the tournament and six matches in total. After the World Cup, the stadium will be home to the Corinthians soccer club.

Adapted from – Sao Paolo


Salvador was established on March 29, 1549 as the first urban area to be settled when the Portuguese wanted to colonise Brazil. Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia. Salvador is home for over 3 million residents. The city functioned as the main port for the slave trade and thus has lasting African influences. Salvador is home to the capoeira, a mixture of dance and martial arts that was brought to Brazil by African slaves. Salvador is nicknamed “Roma Negra” meaning Black Rome. The city is divided into the Low City and the High City which are connected by the Elevador Lacerda. Pelourinho is the historical center of Salvador and has been named a World Heritage Site. In Pelourinho, one can can find beautiful monuments, churches and art galleries.

Soccer in Salvador

Esporte Clube Bahia and Esporte Clube Vitória are the most prominent clubs in Bahia. They participate in a highly anticipated and contested derby, the Ba-Vi. Bahia, known as the Tricolor play in the Pituauça stadium while Vitória, the Leão play in the Barradão.

Salvador’s World Cup stadium is the new Arena Fonte Nava. The venue has a capacity of 52,048 and hosted six games. The Fonte Nova is modeled after the replaced Estadio Octavio Mangabeira, which hosted the Ba-Vi derbies.

Adapted from – Salvador


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