Rio de Janeiro, known as Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvellous City), has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Five natural, 20 cultural and one mixed site (both natural and cultural) were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List this year, which now stands at 962 sites across the world.
The status was granted on 1 July in recognition of the city's urban, coastal and mountainous landscapes. UNESCO said this unique geography "encompasses the key natural elements that have shaped and inspired the development of the city: from the highest points of the Tijuca National Park’s mountains down to the sea”.
The carnival capital is known for its beaches, mountains, football, music and its well-preserved tropical rainforests. Its most famous landmark is Christ the Redeemer, the world’s largest Art Deco statue. It stands at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, with arms outstretched over the city.
Other landmarks include the cone-shaped Metropolitan Cathedral, located in downtown Rio and Sugarloaf Mountain at the mouth of Guanabara Bay.
Rio will host the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 -- so it’s a great time to start planning your trip to party with the cariocas.