North Zone Information
Home field for the Botafogo Football Club, Engenhão Stadium, whose official but largely obsolete name is Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, is located in, and named after, the lower to lower-middleclass Engenho de Dentro neighborhood. The stadium opened in 2007, with the building cost coming in at R$ 380m – a whopping 533% over original estimate. It doubles as a venue for various athletic tournaments and concerts with a current capacity to hold 44,000 spectators, but this number will be increased to 60,000 in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Maracanã Stadium is currently closed for refurbishments and won’t be hosting any football games until January 2013, in time for the 2014 World Cup which will be hosted by Brazil. (However, the stadium is still open for guided tours including the "Walk of Fame" highlighting various football memorabilia). It’s located in, and named after, the Maracanã neighborhood, and opened in 1950 to host the World Cup. At this time, it could hold a staggering 200,000 spectators, but this number had now been dramatically reduced to approximately 85,000 to accommodate better seating and stadium amenities. Maracanã neighborhood is mainly middleclass and has a strong sporting tradition.
The highlight of this traditional neighborhood in Rio’s North Zone is the Quinta da Boa Vista (‘Park of the Nice View’), which once formed part of the gardens of São Cristovão Palace, which in turn has now been transformed into the National Museum. The park is simply spectacular - a green haven of mature palms, wide lawns and pretty lakes. It’s also home to the Zoological Gardens, which first opened in 1888 and are now home to an abundant collection of animals from around the world, including reindeer, snakes, apes, elephants, lions, tigers, hippos and a huge variety of birdlife. The National Museum houses a frankly daunting 287,000 items which include cannons, artifacts, religious art and coins. Another must-see in this neighborhood is the Pavilion - this once disused iconic structure is now home to the Feira do Nordeste – one of the best markets in the city.
This is a very traditional neighborhood mainly inhabited by middleclass families, but also the location of numerous favelas, including Borel, Casa Branca, Formiga, Salgueiro and Turano. Dominating the district is Cocovado Mountain, on top of which stands the gargantuan statue of Christ the Redeemer, the ultimate icon of Rio de Janeiro which is accessed through Cosme Velho. Wrapped around and spreading out at the feet of the mountain is the hand-planted Tijuca Forest, which is the largest urban forest in the world and, since 1961, a national park. The forest boasts over 30 waterfalls, over 100 animal species and a plethora of tropical vegetation, and with its abundance of mountain climbing and hiking trails makes for a brilliant day of exploration. This district is also home to Pedra Bonita (‘beautiful rock’) and Tijuca Peak, which at 3350 feet is the second highest in Rio.
Check out the Virtual Tour - Christ the Redeemer Statue
There are five different views of the magnificent Christ the Redeemer Statue and its breathtaking surroundings. Viewers are treated to multiple views from each side of the statue that offer panoramic views of the Lagoa, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Tijuca Forest atop Corcovado as well as the marvelous city and ocean below. Source: AirPano.com
When you launch this virtual tour, open to the full screen, you will then be presented with a map (top right) with multiple Virtual Tour viewing points. To find the tours associated with the Christ the Redeemer Statue and the Tijuca Forest, choose the points encircled in red as demonstrated in the picture on the left side of this page. You can scroll over the map points to find the tour of your choice.
As you can probably tell from studying the map, (adjust size as necessary), the North Zone is quite large and a bit remote from the tourist section of the South Zone. However, it is very easy to get to the Quinta da Boa Vista Park, National Museum and Zoo in São Cristovão as they are all located at the same spot. Just take the subway (Green Line, #2) to the São Cristóvão Station Stop. Cross the bridge to the left and you are there. There is also a subway stop for the Maracanã Stadium. If you want to do some climbing or hiking in the Tijuca forest, there are guides for hire who will supply transportation and any equipment that you might need.
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