Foreign tourists are familiar with Ipanema and Copacabana Districts, but Belavista-Rio knows that Rio de Janeiro is much more than that. This is why we decided to compose a true Rio district on-line guide, focusing in the cultural, natural and bohemian aspects of each major neighborhood of the wonder city. Flamengo district is the first Rio neighborhood we will be describing.
Flamengo district is a vibrant upper middle class neighborhood located between the Rio center and Botafogo. Home to many embassies and art-decó buildings, nowadays it is mostly a middle-class residential neighborhood. Its main streets are Senador Vergueiro, Marquês de Abrantes, Paysandú, in addition to the expressways of the Flamengo Park, that link the southern zone to the centre of the city. Flamengo district is built around the Guanabara Bay shore and has an incomparable view of the Sugar Loaf. The district highlights are centered in four areas. First, this charming Rio neighborhood hosts the Flamengo Park, the largest urban park in Brazil adjacent to the beach. The second major attraction would be its architecture, with many Art-Déco and eclectic buildings.. The third reasons to discover this amazing Rio district are the many cultural centers located there. The neighborhood is home to more than 10 cultural centers and museums. The fourth district highlight would be its cool and relaxed nightlife, with nice restaurants and classic bars.
Flamengo Park – “Parque do Flamengo”
In Rio, if you think of the Flamengo district, you immediately associate the neighborhood with its famous Flamengo Park that could be considered as one of the historic landmarks of Brazil. The park features gardens designed by well-known Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx..Officially named as Eduardo Gomes Park, it has 1.2 million m² of lawns, flowering shrubs and trees is one of the loveliest and most important landscape areas in the city. Its creation is credited to Lota Macedo Soares descendant from an elite family of Rio de Janeiro State.
She did not have a degree in urbanism or architecture but was a pupil of the Brazilian painter Candido Portinari and acquired by herself knowledge of architectural aesthetics and botany. To fill the area with dirt, the Santo Antonio hill, in the center of Rio, was taken down with water jets. The same machine that dredged the Panama Canal took sand from the sea to create Botafogo Beach.. Lota had the idea to illuminate the landfill at night to allow night walks throughout the park. The sports courts were also her idea. They are in use every day and night of the year; by teams of all sorts of associations.
With the support of the Rio de Janeiro governor Carlos Lacerda she summoned a group of distinguished friends, the landscaper Roberto Burle Marx, the botanist Luiz Emigdio de Mello Filho, and the architects Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Sérgio Bernardes and Jorge Moreira. They formed a work group under her leadership. The green carpet that covers this immense area led to many disagreements among the members of the group and also with the urban officials of the time who fought with her about the freeways crossing the park. In the end, she won the argument, as she believed 2 freeways were most suitable for the park. From the rubble came 11.600 trees of 190 species, native and exotic.. Among the 4.400 palm trees of 50 species are the rare “talipot” (Corypha umbraculifera) that flourishes only once during its lifetime and dies right after. Besides being this giant urban park, it has special characteristics, like hosting groups of plants of the same species and the use of Brazilian plants that were not usually employed in landscaping - like the “abricó-macaco” and the “pau-mulato” ( The Eduardo Gomes Park has several species that are considered to be “wildlife in Rio de Janeiro and was informally inaugurated on the 12th of October of 1965, Children’s Day in Brazil.)
That occasion marked the birth of one of the most popular leisure areas in the wonder city; with 4 all sports courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, an amphitheater and a skate track. There is also a restaurant and kiosks, the Marina da Glória and the Rio Museum of Modern Arts-MAM which we will describe later. The park was merged into the city landscape, and has become surely one of the most famous landmarks of Brazil, like the Sugar Loaf and the Corcovado Mountain.
That was Lota’s dream. Running along the shoreline from the Rio´s airport Santos Dumont to Botafogo Bay, the Flameng Park offers a wide array of attractions, including Carmen Miranda Museum, Monument to Estácio de Sá, and several other sculptures and structures all the way to the Marina.
An interesting spectacle on the first Sunday of each month is the changing of the guard by all three Armed Forces, at the Monument to World War II Soldiers. On Sundays and holidays, this park is closed to traffic, offering the public numerous recreation options.
As we mentioned in the introduction, this charming Rio district is loaded with cultural activities. In this section we will describe some of the cultural centers and museums located in this intellectual Rio neighborhood. Some of our highlights include Rio Museum of Modern Art, OI Futuro Cultural Center, and Catete Palace. This vivid Rio neighborhood also has many movie theaters like São Luiz, with one of the best sound system in the city. Please read below some of Flamengo´s cultural listings we prepared for you.
Our first cultural suggestion is the Catete Palace, definitely one of the most famous places in Brazil to visit. The Catete Palace was the seat of Brazil's Republican Government from 1897 to 1960 and scene of activities of eighteen Presidents, and has seen some of the most important events in Brazil's political life, including the Declaration of Brazil's entry into World Wars I and II and the suicide of President Getúlio Vargas in 1954. Transformed into a museum when Brasília became the nation's capital in 1960 one of the most important facts about Rio de Janeiro, and closed for restoration from 1983 through 1989, the Republic Museum reopened with a broad-ranging cultural program that includes exhibitions, concerts, plays, movies, videos, boutiques, restaurants and a book-store. The gardens of the Museum acquired new lighting, with the replacement of 71 forged iron posts - in the eclectic style - with other posts with contemporaneous designs made of steel. Today, on the ground floor, the Entrance Hall and the Ministerial Room still retain the solemn atmosphere of capital meetings and decisions regarding the nation's destiny. Two long-standing exhibits present historical information about the first occupant of the Palace and his descendants and about the inauguration of the Republic Museum. The remaining rooms hold temporary exhibits that represent varied aspects of Republican Brazil.
Above, frontal view of Catete Palace by Jorge Brazil.
On the second floor, known as the "noble floor", luxury and thematic diversity stand out. The Chapel room and the Blue, Noble, Pompeian, Venetian, Moorish and Banquette rooms show off their vintage Brazilian and French furniture, paintings from artists such as Baptista da Costa, Gustavo dall'Ara, Décio Vilares, Rodolfo Amoedo, Henrique Bernardelli, besides sculptures, chandeliers and porcelain from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The third floor highlights the reconstruction of President Getúlio Vargas' room. The remaining rooms are devoted to the display of objects, text documents and photographs from the Republic Museum's own collection. The complex also hosts one of my favorite movie theaters in town. The theater is especially known for its art movies and is named "Cinema Museu da República". You can check the theater's schedule in any newspaper in town.
Additional Information on the Catete Palace: Address: Rua do Catete, 153 - Catete Open Hours: Tues-Thurs-Fri, noon-5pm Wed, 2pm-5pm- Sat-Sun-Holidays, 2pm-6pm. Free admission Sundays and Wednesday to the Catete Museum. Phone: (21) 3235-2650 the garden within the Catete Palace is opened for visits until 10 p.m .
OI FUTURO Cultural Center
Our next cultural suggestion for this lovely cultural district is the OI FUTURO Cultural Center located at Rua Dois de Dezembro, 66. The Center is maintained and supported by major telecom player in Brazil OI (http://www.oi.com.br/index.html ) and has been receiving many grants since its foundation, to enhance its cultural assets and infrastructure. OI FUTURO is housed in a building that was built in 1918 and has just been remodeled, resulting in a gain of over two thousand square meters of internal space. The building's façade was preserved. There are four floors, interposed among the building's eight levels, connected by glass stairways and elevators. Each floor presents different exhibits throughout the month.
OI FUTURO's varied program includes activities related to music, videos and plastic arts. Visitors will also find an up-to-date library with an abundance of research material: magazines, newspapers and on-line computers as well as exhibition rooms. A full multi-use theater with 180 seats presents regular plays every week, at popular prices. A very charming Wi-Fi connected bistro is located at the upper floor of the Cultural Center, which leads to the terrace of the building. From the terrace, you can see part of the Flamengo beach and Guanabara Bay.
Additional Information on the OI Futuro Cutural Center: Venue: Rua Dois de Dezembro, 63 – Flamengo; Open Hours: Tues-Sun. 11am-8pm; Phone:(21)3131-3060. Free Admission for several exhibits, with the exception of theater plays. You can check OI FUTURO's monthly cultural program and schedule in English at their website.
Our next stop is the city's Modern Art Museum, one of Belavista-Rio´s favorite spots.The Modern Art Museum in Rio has a privileged location on Eduardo Gomes Park alongside Guanabara Bay, with the landscaping designs of Burle Marx. The Museum started its construction in 1954, and is perhaps architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy´s most striking design: rows of angled concrete ribs support and enclose the gallery space. Inaugurated in 1958, the Modern Art Museum has a very unusual history; after a tragic fire in 1978 burned most of its collection, and damaged the structure of the building, a tremendous reconstruction effort put the museum back on its feet, and today the permanent collection has over 2,000 pieces by Brazilian and international artists. Art patron Gilberto Chateaubriand with a private collection of 4,000 pieces, made a major contribution. An interesting program of art shows and exhibitions keep the museum as an excellent attraction throughout the year. An impressive collection of the works of Picasso, Max Ernst, Rodin, Brancusi and other artists from Brazil and elsewhere is housed in this concrete and glass building at the Eduardo Gomes Park.
Above we see a great night picture from Betão of Rio´s Modern Art Museum.
Our fourth cultural selection is the Folklore Museum, set up in two residences dating from the end of the 19th century, and whose architectonic structure belongs to the National heritage through the Institute of National Historical and Artistic heritage (IPHAN). The Edison Carneiro Folklore Museum was created in 1968, although its collection has been mounted from the 1980s through the Defense of Brazilian Folklore Campaign. Its permanent exhibition, set up again in 1994, contains about 1,400 objects that tell of the many possible histories of Brazilian man and is organized in five theme units: Life, Technique, Religion, Feasts & Art.
Additional Information on Edison Carneiro Folklore Museum in Rio: Venue: Rua do Catete, 181; Catete. Phone: (21) 2285-0441; open Hours: Tues-Fri 11am - 6pm - Sat, Sun and holidays, 3pm - 6pm .
Our fifth cultural listing is the Castelinho do Flamengo, or Flamengo´s Little Castle. Designed in 1916 by Gino Copede, it had its plan signed by Francisco de Santos, since Copede was Italian. Originally, it was the residence of the Portuguese Joaquin da Silva Cardoso. The building, showing an eclectic style and Italian tendency, stands out through its decor and its high, slate roof-tiled tower.
Abandoned for several years and damaged from a fire, the building was restored by the City and from 1993 on, this Rio little Castle has held the Cultural Center
Additional Information on Oduvaldo Vianna Filho Cultural Center : Venue: Praia do Flamengo, 158 – Flamengo. Phone: (21) 2205-0276 / (21) 2205-0655 Website: http://firstname.lastname@example.org Open Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-8pm - Sun, 10am - 6pm.
Monument to the Brazilian Soldiers in the World War II
Within the Eduardo Gomes Park-Flamengo Park, you will find one of Rio´s most distinguishing structures. This is the monument built in honor of Brazilian participation of World War II. The effort gained life when Army Marshall João Baptista Mascarenhas de Moraes, general who led Brazilian troops in Italy, sponsored one of the landmarks of Rio landscape, the “Monumento Nacional dos Mortos da Segunda Guerra Mundial” or World War II National Monument. Architects Hélio Ribas Marinho and Marcos Konder Neto designed the monument. Finished in 1960, it occupies a building ground of 6.850 m², and 10,0000 m² of gardens within the Flamenggo Park. The monument is divided between three floors: the underground holds the tombs of the fallen soldiers, the first floor, with the war museum and the lake; and the second floor, where may be found the statue of three soldiers – by Alfredo Ceschiatti – and the metallic sculpture – by Julio Catelli Filho – the former representing the three Armed Forces and the latter the engines of aerial warfare.
In case you need to park your yacht or speedboat, this amazing Rio neighborhood also has the perfect spot: Marina the Gloria is Rio’s largest in-city Marina. Located in the downtown area, between Santos Dumont airport and the World War II Monument, within the Eduardo Gomes Park, the Marina serves sportsmen and visitors alike. It occupies a 105,000 square-meter area, has a floating dock and a main dock, as well as a supporting infrastructure for tourist and sports vessels, in addition to restaurants and private parking.
Telecommunications Museum - OI FUTURO Cultural Center
Another cultural attraction of this cultural neighborhood, this museum takes up a 210 sq. meter area, on the 6th floor, and includes history, science and entertainment within the OI Futuro Center. The revolutionary concept of the exhibition tells of the adventure and history of human communication, not only with museum-type objects such as telephones and telexes but also by means of plasma screens, LCD and state-of-the-art computers. On arrival, visitors are given a portable apparatus that allows for interaction with the installations. There are more than 200 pieces and several curiosities such as the “Moog Theramin”, an instrument that reproduces sounds from space simply by the heat from the hands and a Time Line, where visitors can select an era by turning a large dial. The highlight is a 1930 phone booth where you can travel through time by means of films. There are also digital phone books, which give the address of renowned Carioca citizens.
See below a radiant picture from Leonardo Martins, of the entrance of the Telecommunications Museum.
Additional Information on the Telecommunications Museum in Rio: Venue: Instituto Oi Futuro - Rua Dois de Dezembro, 63 – Flamengo Phone: (21) 3131-3060 Open Hours: Tues-Sun, 11am-5pm.
Carmen Miranda is one of Brazil's most famous personalities and is also part of this charming Rio District. Since 1976, some of her most important costumes, jewelry, and photographs have been on display at the Carmen Miranda Museum. The museum is located at the Eduardo Gomes Park-Flamengo Park, not far from the Museum of Modern Art. The collection has over 3,000 pieces including performance and dress clothes, accessories, shoes, photos, decorative objects, trophies, advertising material, caricatures, videos, contracts, scripts and records. Nevertheless, the Museum is below Carmen Miranda’s standards, and everything she represented for to Brazil and Hollywood.
The museum is located in a concrete structure in front of the Sugar Loaf, within the Eduardo Gomes Park, with almost no marketing or promotional signs. Inside what should be a replica of a banana bunker, however, the small collection does a decent job illustrating Carmen Miranda's star along with smaller photos showing the story of her career, including her Broadway musical Streets of Paris, done in 1939. The Carmen Miranda Museum also shows the original outfit used by her during the 1941 OSCARS Academy Awards ceremony. Examples of her trademark tall fruit hats, jewelry and accessories, are also on display. The museum also has a large collection of video documentaries, biographies, the movies she starred in, and a compilation of her songs. Considering all the pros and cons, if you are staying at the Flamengo-District, the Carmen Miranda’s Museum is worth a visit.
Additional Information on the Carmen Miranda Museum in Rio: Venue: Parque Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes – Flamengo Park - (in front of number 560 Av. Rui Barbosa Avenue) – Flamengo Phone & Fax: (21) 2299-5586 Open Hours: Tues-Fri, 11am-5pm - Sat-Sun, 1pm-5pm.
Flamengo´s District architecture is probably one of the most interesting and eclectic at the wonder city. Within the district’s limits, the passerby will be able to find Art-déco, art nouveau, eclectic, classical, and even modern constructions. This charming Rio district hosts designed buildings, houses, and skyscrapers where architecture lovers stop by for photo shoots. In this section, we will describe some of these architectural gems within this charming Rio district Perhaps the most well known building at the neighborhood is definitely the Biarritz Building, located at number 268 of Flamengo´s Beach. It is considered as the definitive art-deco masterpiece in town and had its construction finalized in the beginning of the 40´s, being a copy of an existing building in Paris, on Montaigne Avenue.
This art-déco landmark was designed by French architects Auguste Rendu and Henri Paul Pierre Sajous, who designed two other art deco structures in the neighborhood: the Tabor Loreto Building and the Saint Trinity Church (located at Senador Vergueiro Street ) built in 1938.
See below picture of the Biarritz Building by Leonardo Martins.
Some of the reasons for Biarritz building´s elegance and fame include its rounded balcony with its yellow awning and imposing marble entrance hallway. The Biarritz has 2 apartments per floor and a unique winter garden designed with a lovely water fountain.
The second architectural gem at this charming Rio neighborhood is the Seabra Building: Designed by Italian architect Mário Vodret, from the Instituto Profissionalizante de Roma, the Seabra Building, a.k.a. the Carioca Dakota, was finalized in mid 30s, the second building at Flamengo Beach.. The Seabra Building is considered as one of most “ghostly” buildings in Brazil, with its eclectic architecture mixing the Moorish, the Gothic and Tuscan elements. Experts identify Seabra building’s lines with Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. The building has 4 apartments per floor and a facade that greatly resembles the famous Dakota building, John Lennon’s home in New York.
Below we see a detail by another shot by Didi Rodrigues of the Seabra´s entrance gate.
A legend says the Portuguese Commendatore Gervásio Seabra commissioned Vodret to design the building after falling in love with the architecture of a castle in Tuscany. The building’s psychodelic entrance was built to haunt: floors with several designs made of Italian marble, different wall paintings finished with whale oil and immense iron luster. Below we see a detail by Didi Rodrigues of the Seabra´s entrance gate.
These are only some of Flamengo´s architectural gems. Other art buildings in the neighborhood include the Modern Art Museum, Julieta de Serpa Teahouse and the outstanding twin buildings Itaíuba and Micatu. If you are careful enough, you will be able to find an architectural pearl in every walk, in addition to the neighborhood natural beauties.
Below, another great shot by Leonardo Martins, capturing all the Julieta de Serpa´s night lights and magic.
Flamengo is definitely a Gourmet district. Some of the finest restaurants in town can also be found in this charming Rio neighborhood. Belavista-Rio selected a few of these Gourmet restaurants in Flamengo that you wont want to miss. Most of them are well rated by prestigious dining guides like Frommer´s and The New York Times. Below is a small summary we prepared of Porcão Rio, Alcaparra, and other delicious dining settings in Flamengo.
PORCÃO RIO´S FLAMENGO
A mass carnivorous orgy, Porcão Rio´s is where you go not to sample or taste or nibble, but to munch and stuff and gorge yourself on some of the best beef the world has to offer -- in this case served up with some of the best views in the world.
Porcão is a “churrascaria” (a chain, in fact; there are several in Rio, but this one has the best view) operating on the rodízio system. It's one price for all you can eat (dessert and drinks are extra), and once you sit down, onslaught of waiters comes bearing all manner and variety of meat (steak cuts, roast cuts, filet mignon, chicken breast, chicken hearts, sausage of diverse kinds, and much more) which they slice to perfection on your plate. The "stop sign" card you receive is supposed to regulate this serving army -- green means go ahead, and red says no more -- but considering how little respect Cariocas have for red lights in general, it's hardly surprising that waiters keep coming no matter how abjectly you wave your little red surrender sign.
Oh, and don't forget the nonmeat dishes: Included in your meal is a buffet with dozens of antipasto items, hot and cold seafood dishes, and at least 15 different kinds of salads and cheeses. Alas, no doggy bags allowed.
Emporio Santa Fé
This lovely two-story restaurant overlooking the Flamengo Park is one of the best restaurants at this charming Rio district. The ground floor has a small wine bar and a few tables but you really want to head upstairs and, if possible, grab one of the window tables in the elegant L-shaped dining room. The chef's forte is pasta; all dishes are made fresh and combine some creative flavors. We loved the ravioli with prawns in a leek sauce with mushrooms as well as the Tortele Tricolor, pasta rounds stuffed with smoked ricotta, figs, and Parma ham. Steak lovers have plenty to choose from, including filet mignon medallions with grilled Brie and potatoes, or grilled tournedos in a balsamic jus, served with rice and mushrooms. Empório Santa Fé´s wine list is probably one of the largest in Rio, and has over 400 options covering most of the world's regions, many reasonably priced (under R$60/US$25).
Tues-Sun noon-4pm; dinner Tues-Sat 7pm-midnight.