Once having been the capital of Brazil, in 1959 Rio lost this status but is still one of the centers of the country – with the offices of the large corporations, the first airport in Latin America and, of course, its carnival!
The city is separated into two parts – the north and the south. The southern part is inhabited by the rich white people. White, beautiful building rise above the golden beaches... It's separated from the north by the hills Tijuca and Pedra-Branka. The north is populated, as you probably guess, by poor black people. There are no Chinatown, no little Italy in the city.
The event, Rio-de-Janeiro is famous for is its annual Carnival, the most renowned Carnival in Brazil and, may be, in the whole world. The origin of the carnival lies in the ancient African and Portuguese traditions. The incomparable fusion of these two traditions led to the birth of the Brazilian Carnival. In the beginning of the XX century the first samba schools appeared and in 1916 the first samba was created especially for the carnival.
Nowadays Rio Carnival is the most impressive and the best-organized carnival in Brazil. The 100-thousand enchanted crowd watch the parade of the samba schools. Each school devotes its performance to one theme – politics, nature, sport, art, music – all the themes should be Brazilian. The school creates its own song, costumes and choreography. The rehearsals began several months before the carnival. Rio Carnival – beautiful carts, a lot of musicians, bright costumes and the harmony of music and dance. Beside samba schools the groups united by the district or theme, or something else take part in the Carnival.
The Carnival begins with the performance of 10 best schools, then come different groups. Some of the groups perform in suburbs. The category of the school can be decreased depending of the performance results. The procession begins on Sunday at 19.00 with the performance of the first-category schools. At first you see the name of the school, then come the members of the schools and the celebrities in the carnival costumes, after that – the thousands of dancers and the hundreds of the museums.
Carts are decorated with plumes; in carts there are VIP-persons and 8 allegories statues or big puppets. The height must be less then 10 meters. Nearby dance the so-called passistas, elite dancers almost without clothes. The procession stretches up to half a kilometer. The last school finishes its performance by 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning.
Rio is very famous for its beaches, too. They are very different from each other:
• Flamengo is situated in the Guanabara gulf and isn't very clean.
• Botafogo is dirty too and is not often visited.
• Urca – nice, pleasant beach, especially in the morning.
• Leme, Copacabana – notorious names, three kilometers of paradise. The only disadvantage is strong stream.
• Arpoador – the utmost point of Copacabana. Swimming here is a risk. Big waves, a challenge for the surfers.
• Ipanema, Leblon look like Copacabana. Popular place among well-to-do people.
• Pepino Sao Conrado – big, picturesque beach. Good for surfing.
• Barra da Tijuca – located near favelas (ghettos). Nothing to add.
• Recreo dos Bandeirantes – surfer's beach separated from the city by the rock.
• Grumari – one of the most beautiful beaches.