Rio de Janeiro ("River of January", English pronunciation: /ˈriːoʊ deɪ ʒəˈnɛəroʊ/; Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈxiu dʒi ʒaˈneiɾu]) is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1822 during the Portuguese colonial era, and from 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation. It is also the former capital of the Portuguese Empire (1808–1821). Commonly known as just Rio, the city is also nicknamed A Cidade Maravilhosa, or "The Marvelous City."
Rio de Janeiro is famous for its natural settings, its carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova and hotel-lined tourist beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, along with its favela slums. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ, known as Christ the Redeemer ('Cristo Redentor') atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a giant permanent parade stand used during Carnival and Maracanã stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and will be the first South American city to host the event and the second in Latin America 48 years after Mexico City hosted in 1968.
The city also boasts the largest and second largest urban forests in the world: Floresta da Tijuca, or "Tijuca Forest." and (almost connected to the first) the forest in Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, or White Stone State Park. The Galeão-Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport, commonly known simply as Galeão connects Rio de Janeiro with many Brazilian cities and also operates several international flights.
Despite its charm and beauty, Rio is reputed to be one of the most violent cities in the world and motivated movies such as Bus 174, City of God and Elite Squad portraying severe social issues. Much of the violent crime is concentrated in the favelas or shantytowns but it also spills into middle- and upper-income neighborhoods.
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