This picture is an aerial view taken from the Great Christ of Rio de Janeiro; it belongs to an online art collection named Ilustraciones Gratis. The style of the picture is interesting due to its apparent relief and the contrast between clear and dark tones that allows to recognize the main elements of the city. Actually it is a picture than has been digitally modified in order to make it look like as a lumpy brush-stroke painting. As it can be seen, the image illustrates the city of Rio de Janeiro nowadays, with its main elements as the Great Christ, Copacabana Beach, etc.
Rio is placed in South America, Brazil, sitting on a plain surrounded by mountains and hills. The town rests in the western margin of the Bay of Guanabara, which covers the ground between the beaches of Copacabana and Itaipu, and some of its islands, as Governor and Paquetá. As a consequence of this irregular topography it isn´t possible to grow physically, but the population is very high, actually it is the second main city in Brazil, thus the high population density.
In the image we can appreciate that the town planning is quite different depending on the part of the city. This happens due to the topographic style, it is a big city which is borned in the cost and starts to grow inside the mountains and the hills. This city is one of the only cities between a huge mountain and the sea. On the bottom right corner we can see the favelas, which are a sanity city, which are really irregular. But close to them, in the centre of the picture, which also is the centre of the city, there is a Central Business District with an orthogonal layout.
The geographical area where the city is placed was discovered by Gaspar de Lemos in 1502. Due to the existence of a river, Lemos named it Rio de Janeiro, which is Portuguese and means “January´s River”. Since 1568, thanks to the support of the founder’s family (the dynasty Correia Sá) started the main grown in the history of the city, especially commercial. But when actually Rio become an important city was in the XVII and XVIII centuries because of the discovery of metals. Thus, the city was a point of union between Europe and America. In 1763 the dynasty went out and with them all the French people and the royalty arrived. During one hundred of years the royalty built lots of churches and a great palace, but in 1888 there was a coup and the country become a Republic until now. And the city achieved its most important moments between 1920 and 1950.
The main elements of the city are the following:
- The Great Christ: It is not only the main element in the picture; it is also the main element in Rio de Janeiro and in Brazil. It was planned to be a small Christ with a cross, but the final design established it as a cross itself. Located at 709 meters above the sea in the Corcovado hill, despite the popular thought it is not a European present, it was built (in 1931) by the donations of the current people.
- Copacabana: It is a beach which, obviously, is on the cost, on the suburbs of the city, between the beaches of Leme and Arpoador. It is one of the best beaches on the world; it has the clearest water and the best sand in the world. In the picture we can distinguish it in the entire top margin, from right to left.
- The Botanical Garden: Located behind the Jockey Club, near the “Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas”, it is a huge park which is much more than the sum of lots of estranges plants. It is the lung of a city that is growing and becoming even more industrialised. It is a wasteland where the fresh air invites you to relax.
- City centre: You can distinguish it just in the middle of the picture. The centre is different than the rest of the cities, because in the centre there is the Centre Business District and the old quarter, therefore in the mornings it is full of people, but when afternoon arrives it is quite different, it seems as a ghost city, and it is much more dangerous. In the centre you can see the old Rio de Janeiro, and a lot of elements such as the National Library, the Câmara Municipal de Vereadores, the old Supreme Court and the Palácio Monroe Municipal Theatre. Another important element is the Catedral Metropolitana, which has a conical format and 106 meters diameter.
Nowadays Rio de Janeiro is the most popular city in Brazil and the second one most habited, and it is a very important headquarter of the soccer world cup, and the next Olympic city. So we could say that Brazil is growing thanks of Rio, and Rio is becoming one of the most important cities in the world. The economy is also growing, and as any other city which is growing, the principal sector is the industry. It is based on the steel, in addiction in Rio it´s placed the National Steel Company (CNS), it is also important the car industry, the most important factory is Volkswagens industry. But the most important economic source is the tourism, it is the most visited city in Brazil and one of the most visited in the world.
To sum up I confess that I love this city and one of my dreams is to visit it, because there are a lot of places to see. It is a very contrasting city, where you can see people very reach and people very poor. I am sure that we are going to hear a lot about this city in these coming years.
Jaime Tamayo Sanz.