According to businesscarriers, Rio de Janeiro [ rri ː o de ʒ a ne ː ro, Brazilian rriu di ʒ a ne ru, “January River”], is the capital of the eponymous Brazilian state, the port at the Guanabara Bay (one of the largest and best natural harbors in the Earth), (2018) 6.69 million residents (called »Cariocas«; 1799: 43,000, 1821: 113,000, 1849: 226,000, 1890: 523,000, 1914: 1 million, 1950: 2.335 million, 1970: 4.252 million); the urban agglomeration (12.6 million residents) includes, among others. the neighboring cities of Duque de Caxias, Nova Iguaçu and Niterói. The population has only increased slightly since the 1990s.
Rio de Janeiro is the seat of an archbishop; State University (founded in 1920), Catholic University (founded in 1940), State University (founded in 1950), private university (founded in 1972), scientific academies and institutes, Goethe Institute, National Archives, National Library, National Museum (in the former imperial summer residence Quinta da Boa Vista; important natural history collections), National Historical Museum, National Museum of Fine Arts, etc. Museums, zoological and botanical gardens.
After São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro is the most important commercial, financial and industrial center in Brazil. The port is the country’s main import port; In terms of exports and total throughput, it is only surpassed by Santos. Important economic sectors are the food and luxury goods, textile and clothing, leather, shoe, paper industry, metal processing, mechanical engineering, electrotechnical, chemical, pharmaceutical industry, manufacture of glass, ceramics, car tires and furniture, shipbuilding, railway repair workshops; Publishing houses and printing houses. The bathing beaches, the most famous of which are Copacabana (5 km long, on the Atlantic in the Copacabana district) and Ipanema, are among the major tourist attractionswest of the rocky promontory are Arpoador, and the annual street carnival. The Maracanã football stadium (since 1950; more than 180,000 seats; after renovation in 2013 only around 75,000 seats) is the most famous of its kind. The city is connected to the hinterland by four railway lines; it has two airports (Galeão on the Ilha do Governador for international, Santos Dumont for domestic and military traffic) and, since 1978, a subway. A 13.9 km long bridge over the Guanabara Bay connects the city with Niterói.
From the humid, formerly swampy coastal plain of the Baixada Fluminense, on which Rio de Janeiro lies, the highest peaks of the sunken coastal clod protrude as individual mountains (Morros) and small mountain ranges (Maciço da Tijuca, up to 1,021 m above sea level) made of gneiss and granite steep up. The bell shape of the Sugar Loaf (Brazilian Pão de Açúcar, 395 m above sea level) at the western entrance to the Baía de Guanabara (cable cars to the summit, which carries a forest), was created by peeling. To the west of the Sugar Loaf lies the Corcovado, 704 m above sea level in the Serra da Carioca, also a bell mountain (forested western slope), on whose summit (road and cog railway) G. D. Vargas 1931 had the 38 m high statue of Christ (concrete) erected (declared a place of pilgrimage by the Catholic Church in 2006). Constricted between the Atlantic Ocean, Baía de Guanabara and mountains, Rio de Janeiro can hardly expand any more.
The old town was redesigned several times in the 20th century through renovations, demolitions, new buildings and large road openings (Avenida Rio Branco, Avenida Presidente Vargas) -75 forced resettlement in social housing), mostly on the mountain slopes (high risk of landslides), slums (favelas). About 2 million people live in the 350 favelas, mostly on illegally occupied land. H. almost a third of the city’s population (1950: 8.5%). On the coast along the bays of Flamengo and Botafogo, multi-lane roads lead to the elegant residential and bathing districts of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Rio de Janeiro has only a few examples of colonial architecture: Church of the São Bento monastery (1910–20, furnishings from the previous building, 1693 to 1720), the Carmelite monastery and the Franciscan monastery of Santo Antônio from the 17th century, the churches of Nossa Senhora da Glória (1771) and Nossa Senhora de Candelária (1775-1811). The old cathedral (founded in 1761, often rebuilt) is characterized by its wall and ceiling paintings; the modern cathedral in the shape of a truncated cone 80 m high was built in 1964–76. One of the secular buildings of the colonial era is the Arcos da Carioca aqueduct (1750; two-story with monumental arched arcades) has been preserved. The Opera (opened in 1909) is a scaled-down replica of the Paris Opera.
In Rio de Janeiro, the Ministry of Education and Health Care (today Palácio da Cultura, 1937-43) was the first groundbreaking building of modern architecture in Brazil, the building ideas of Le Corbusier were decisive, well-known Brazilian architects were involved: L. Costa, O Niemeyer, A. E. Reidy, from whom the Pedregulho settlement complex (1947–52) and the Museo de Arte Moderna (1954–58) also come; Reception hall of Santos Dumont Airport (1938–44; Roberto brothers), residential buildings at Parque Guilen de Costa (1948–54). Design of the Parque do Flamengo (1955–65) by Reidy and the garden architect Roberto Burle-Marx (* 1909, † 1994). Among the more recent projects, the new building of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói by O. Niemeyer (1996) stands out. In 2012 the extremely varied cultural landscape of Rio de Janeiro from the coast to the mountains in the hinterland was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.