Goal.com takes a snapshot of Brazil's party capital as the South American nation prepare to host World Cup 2014
RIO DE JANEIRO
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro for World Cup 2014
Home to one of the most famous stadiums in world football, Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's second largest city and the party capital of South America well known for its carnival celebrations.
In Three Words
Sun, sand and samba
The city was first encountered by Portuguese explorers on January 1, 1502, hence the name Rio de Janeiro (River of January).
Rio was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as Brazil became it's only independent kingdom.
Where To Party
To eat - Bar Bracarense: Located in Rio's popular Leblon neighborhood, Bar Bracarense has been attracting residents and visitors alike for over 60 years. The bar's outdoor terrace is a popular dining and drinking spot offering delicious classic Brazilian snacks, such as the house specialty fried yucca shrimp balls.
To drink - Academia de Cachaca: Academia is the perfect place in Rio to sample a Brazil's most popular alcoholic beverage, cachaca. The bar offers over 100 varieties of the cane liquor, whether you'd like it straight with a dash of honey with lime or disguised in a fruity Caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail.
To dance - Rio Scenarium (Below): Rio has some of the best nightlife in the world but the place to go to practice your Samba moves is Rio Scenarium. Arranged over three floors of a dilapidated warehouse and stuffed with antiques and old movie props, it attracts a mixed crowd of all ages who come to practise their samba moves.
Rio is the birthplace to four of the most decorated players in the history of Brazilian football. Ronaldo, Garrincha and Romario have all enjoyed hugely successful careers with the Selecao, winning four World Cups between them while perhaps the greatest Brazilian to have never won the biggest prize in international football was born in Rio, Zico. Several youngsters who will be hoping to make the Brazil squad for World Cup 2014 also emerge from Rio including Wallace, Diego Mauricio and Rafael Galhardo.
Sugarloaf Mountain: Located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, the impressive peak earned it's name following its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. Visitors can reach the summit by taking two cable cars up the peak which offers passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city.
Christ the Redeemer (right): The 40 metre high statue of Jesus Christ is considered to be the tallest art deco statue in the world. Located at the peak of Rio's Corcovado mountain overlooking the city, the statue has become a symbol of Brazilian Christianity after being constructed between 1922 and 1931.
Copacabana: The Barrio (neighborhood) is renowned for it's world famous beach and is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in South America. The beach plays host to millions of visitors during the area's New Year celebrations while also acting as the official venue for the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup most years.
Did You Know?
Rio has the oldest operating electric tramway in the world called the Santa Teresa Tram, otherwise known as bondinho.
The city gave birth to one of the most iconic figures in South American music. Tom Jobim, the man recognised as the driving force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, was born and bred in Rio. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra both featured Jobim's songs on their albums while his song "The Girl from Ipanema" is one of the most recognised hits of all time.