RIO, January Bloom

Rio em flor de janeiro - Rio in the bloom of January

“A gente passa, a gente olha, a gente pára
e se extasia.
Que aconteceu com esta cidade
da noite para o dia?
O Rio de Janeiro virou flor
nas praças, nos jardins dos edifícios,
no Parque do Flamengo nem se fala:
é flor é flor é flor,
uma soberba flor por sobre todas,
e a ela rendo meu tributo apaixonado.”

Carlos Drummond de Andrade 

We pass by, we look, we stop, and are entranced.
What happened to this city overnight?
Rio de Janeiro has become a flower
Our squares, our balcony gardens,
Not to mention the Parque do Flamengo
is a flower, is a flower, is a flower
A glorious flower over everything
And to her I pay passionate tribute.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade 

images of the natural and urban landscape of Rio de Janeiro

Rio em flor de Janeiro - Rio in the bloom of January

Living in Rio de Janeiro means being one of the Earth’s privileged souls who can pass his days surrounded by perfect natural scenery. In Rio one finds oneself among mountains, hills of exaggerated curves, and waters that venture luxuriously and sinuously inside the city limits. Lush forests cover the land next to Rio’s sixty favelas and modern skyscrapers. Lagoons contend with the sky for the beauty of their reflections, and islands and beaches attest to a larger universe.  urban natural landscape Rio   

In 2012 Unesco decided to make Rio de Janeiro the first city to be declared a World Heritage site in the category of cultural and urban landscapes. Until that time, cultural landscapes were confined to rural and agricultural areas, and historical gardens, but never before to an urban space.  

Unesco declared: “The development of the city of Rio de Janeiro has been shaped by a creative fusion between nature and culture. This interchange is not the result of persistent traditional processes but rather reflects an interchange based on scientific, environmental and design ideas that led to innovative landscape creations on a major scale in the heart of the city during little more than a century. These processes have created an urban landscape perceived to be of great beauty by many writers and travellers and one that has shaped the culture of the city.The dramatic landscape of Rio de Janeiro has provided inspiration for many forms of art, literature, poetry, and music.”  urban natural landscape Rio   

Rio is a city where urban life is so integrated with nature that it has given rise to an outdoor culture with open spaces, public parks, gardens, and waterfronts, all of which are integral parts of its inhabitants’ daily lives.    

Rio de Janeiro’s sea and nature, as UNESCO declared, have inspired the work of musicians, poets, urban planners, and many artists.  

An iconic landmark of the popular Rio neighborhood of Lapa has a colorful history with a sad ending but a symbolic meaning. 

Jorge Selarón, born in Chile, settled in Rio de Janeiro after traveling around the world. In 1990 he began to shape the steps that would bear his name. Considered by Selarón as a “living and mutant” work, the staircase is 125 meters high with 215 steps, and is completely covered with ceramic mosaics of different colors, sizes, and shapes. Selarón liked to sit on his steps, and was always flattered by the admiring tourists who loved to be photographed with him, of which I was one. Sadly, in January 2013 he was found dead on his famous staircase, his masterpiece, and so entered his eternity with it. urban natural landscape Rio 

Rio de Janeiro is an eternal union between the exuberant nature created by God that surrounds and pervades it, and the art created by man in gratitude for this beautiful place. With open arms over the Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer is the watcher over this solid and inseparable union.                         

Pablo Munini  © São Paulo, May 2015  urban natural landscape Rio 

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