Niteroi, the “Smile City” as it is called has several fascinating attractions for tourists and locals in Brazil. Niteroi is just 13 kms away from the Capital of Rio State. The city is connected with Rio de Janeiro by an amazing bridge which is the longest in the Latin America. The city is also famous for having the 2nd most works designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Niteroi was declared as the richest city of Brazil in 2011 and it is currently the fifth most populous city of Brazil. The city is also famous because of successful industries like shipbuilding, metal, machinery, textile, pharmaceutical and food processing plants.
History of Niteroi Brazil
Niteroi has a very interesting history. It used to be a village under the control of French and a prohibited place for Portuguese in 1955. Villegaignon, who commanded the control of the area was called in France to explain his prejudice against the Calvinists who had immigrated from France to the village. Finding the opportunity from the absence of the French leader, the Portuguese attacked and destroyed the French fort and expelled the French from the area in 1560.
Niteroi was founded in 1573 by Arariboia, head of the Tupi Amerindians after occupying the right side of the entrance to Guanabara Bay. It was declared as a separate area from Rio de Janeiro in 1819 and was named as Vila Real da Praia Grande. In 1834, when Rio de Janeiro city was separated from the state of Rio de Janeiro, this city served as the capital of the state. The city was re-named as Nictheroy in 1835 which meant “Hidden Waters”. With the passage of time, Nictheroy became Niteroi. When Niteroi was capital of the state, a lot of industries shifted here bringing many business and job opportunities. In 1960 when Brasilia became the capital of the Country. Rio de Janeiro city became the capital of the state instead of Niteroi.
12 Amazing Attractions in Niteroi Brazil
Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum
Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum is a saucer-shaped structured which has become a famous landmark of Niteroi. The amazing structure was designed by the famous Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. The museum hosts many modern art exhibitions of local and international artists. This museum is the largest and most significant institution in Brazil. One of the beautiful things about the building is the view of the bay from the observation room. You can see amazing views of the city and the mountains. This museum displays the art collection, which is collected by Joao Sattamini, who has the largest private art collection in the world.
Joao Caetano Municipal Theater
Joao Caetano Municipal Theater is an integral part of the Brazilian culture. The theater was originally built in 19th century and was renovated between 1992 to 1995. The neoclassical architecture is very well preserved in the theater. The theater is named after a famous Brazilian Stage actor, Joao Caetano.
Fortaleza de Santa Cruz da Barra
Santa Cruz da Barra Fortress was built in 1955 on the orders of Nicholas Durand de Villegaignon, who was the leader of the French village at that time. It was renovated by Portuguese many times and the building extension works continued after them as well. This fortress was also used as a prison in 18th century and many people were hanged here.
Today the fortress is a popular tourist attraction in front of the Sao Joao Fortaleza in the eastern park of Guanabara Bay. The fortress is controlled by the Brazilian Army. The fortress displays around 40 artillery pieces from the history. Visitors can see many dungeons, the hanging place of death and a wall of shootings. The fortress also has a sun watch which was built in 1820 and a chapel of Santa Barbara.
Niteroi Bridge is the longest bridge in Latin America. The bridge has reduced 87 kilometers of the distance between Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi. It used to be 100 kms before and now after the construction of Niteroi Bridge the distance is only 13 kilometers which is also the length of the bridge. The journey towards Rio de Janeiro from Niteroi at the sunset time is considered as a wonderful journey.
Caminho Niemeyer Niteroi
Caminho Niemeyer is a series of interesting buildings that are scattered along the Niteroi coastal area in a stretch of 11 kilometers. This area showcases the 2nd largest architectural artwork of Oscar Niemeyer in the world.
Basilica of Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora
Basilica of Nossa Senhorea Auxiliadora is a catholic church situated in Niteroi Brazil. The church is dedicated to “Our Lady Help of Christians”. The church is a blend of Salesians and Archdiocese architecture. One of the main attractions at the church is the largest pipe organ in the Latin America. The sounds of the large bells of the organ can be heard across the Niteroi.
Itacoatiara Beach Niteroi
Itacoatiara beach is also called as Itacoa by the locals and is a very famous beach for the surfers because of ideal wind conditions. The beach and area are very famous among the tourists as well. This beach is best accessed by the Ferry boats from Praca XV. The clean and blue water of the beach attracts a lot of swimmers. The beach is located in between two mountains which make it look really beautiful. Some people also come here to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the quite atmosphere around the beach.
There is also a wonderful hiking track near the beach that climbs up to 700 feet above the sea level from where you can have panoramic views of the beach and surroundings.
Camboinhas Beach Niteroi
Camboinhas beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Niteroi. The beach has more visitors from outside of Niteroi and tourists who love to come and see the beautiful views and water from the open sea.
Sossego Beach Niteroi
This is one of the beautiful, calm and quiet beaches of Niteroi. There will not be many tourists here and you can enjoy the beautiful views across this small beach in complete peace. The beach is 150 meters long only. This beach is very near to the Camboinhas beach.
Serra da Tiririca State Park
Serra da Tiririca State Park is a famous and protected park near Niteroi Brazil. The park is a wonderful home to the tropic flora and fauna of the Atlantic Forest. There are many beautiful hiking trails and rock-climbing areas in the park. The park was opened in 1991 with the aim to protect the Atlantic Forest Vegetation.
Campo de Sao Bento Niteroi
Campo de Sao Bento is also known as Parque Prefeito Ferraz. This place was a monastery before the park was built in 1908. The park was designed by Belgian landscape engineer Arsene Puttemans. This has become one of the most popular attractions for families and hikers. There is an amusement park with rides for kids and many beautiful flower beds. There are nice hiking paths around the park. The park also hosts local events on weekends. Organic and homemade products are promoted in these events.
Parque da Cidade
Parque da Cidade is famous because of a viewpoint that has one of the best panoramic views of the beaches of Niteroi, Guanabara bay, sugar loaf hill and the amazing peaks of Rio de Janeiro. The view is worth the steep hike to the top that is along a narrow path. The park is also famous among hikers, photographers and the paragliders.
The park was opened in 1976 is a wonderful environment preservation area in Niteroi. The park also has a nice café for an amazing breakfast.