FAVELA-RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Although no longer the capital of Brazil, it remains the leading commercial and tourist center in these parts attracting hundreds of investors and tourists from across the globe every year.
Rio for short lies on the southwestern shore of Guanabara Bay and is equally the main focus of Brazil’s social and cultural life. At the entrance of the bay stands one of the city’s illustrious leading lights, the SugarLoaf Mountain. The summit of the sugar loaf can be reached by a cable car and this commands a magnificent view of the city. Additionally, there are numerous parks, museums, zoological gardens, churches, schools, and many skyscrapers. To the Cariocas, as the occupants are fondly called, Rio de Janeiro is passionately called ‘the Cidade Marvilhosa’ (marvelous city).
In sharp contrast to the city’s luxurious palaces and modern buildings, are its several slum pockets called favelas. A Favela is a low middle-income neighborhood located in the outskirts of Brazil. The first favela found in Rio de Janeiro was found by a group of soldiers who had nowhere to live following the Canopus war in the late 19thCentury. As a result of urbanization, many people began to move from the rural areas of Brazil into Rio de Janeiro. Unable to find employment and due to the housing crises, these migrants could not cope with the high standards of living that existed at that time, they had no choice but to settle in favelas.
The list of favelas in Rio de Janeiro is inexhaustible, but it is important to note that these favelas are all unique in their own way. They are mostly box-shaped and flat-roofed houses clustered on top of each other on a hillside with very beautiful colors. These houses comprise of 3 to 4 story linked by alleyways and hundreds of small steps. Many people had tagged the favelas as slums, but recently these favelas have become attraction sites to many tourists.
Favelas are now a safe haven following the massive pacification project that was started in Rio de Janeiro in 2008. Pacifying Police Units have been implemented in about 107 favelas, and therefore there is no cause for alarms when it comes to security in these favelas. (Stay out of the alleyways, stick to the main roads)
Though there are several favelas in Rio de Janeiro, it is safer to visit the ones that have been pacified. Some of them include;
This the largest favela in the city and is considered to be one of the safest. It has a population of about 100,000 people making the most populated in the city. It is more of an urban ghetto, with houses made of concrete and it has access to electricity, banking, and medical services, etc. You don’t want to miss the Rio Carnival Samba which is a dance performed by the inhabitants themselves.
- Santa Marta.
Santa Marta is home to more than 5,000 inhabitants. This is no doubt the most famous favela all thanks to the Michael Jackson statue which was erected after he shot his music video ‘they don’t care about us’ there. It is one of the pioneer favelas to undergo pacification rendering the favela safe for tourists. Its blue skies are just breathtaking. It has football pitches, a samba school, and the houses are painted in rainbow colors. The people of Santa Marta are very welcoming and the community life is awesome.
This favela is made up of about 20,000 residents. It has a popular bar known as ‘Gilda No Cantalago where live jazz music is performed on Sunday nights. You can also enjoy great views of Ipanema and Copacabana since it is situated on the hill in between these two cities. There is also a museum known as ‘Museu de Favela’. This is a community initiative group whose goal is to value the favela’s life and to support local cultural life. This one is peculiar in that it is not a building, but a territorial museum in context. That is, every house, person or street becomes part of the archive. Isn’t it interesting?
It is considered one as one of the favelas to have undergone pacification successfully. One of its hallmarks is the Favela Experience which is a popular hostel in the place. If you feel hungry, make your way to ‘Bar Lacubaco’ where you will enjoy rice and beans and meat. Feel like taking a sip? ‘Bar de Laje’ will serve you cocktails. Alto Vidigal hostel offers all night parties with reggae music, it also offers a lovely sunrise, while sunsets are glorious in Vidigal.
Visiting the favela is a marvelous experience. It is important to witness the rich culture and strong sense of community.
Rio is popular among its visitors as an unforgettable place for both business and pleasure.
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