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Barra da Tijuca
—  Neighborhood  —
Aerial view
Nickname(s): Barra
Country Brazil
State Rio de Janeiro
 - Total 174,353
 - Estimate (2010) 220,000

Coordinates: 22°59′57.84″S 43°21′56.75″W / 22.9994°S 43.3657639°W / -22.9994; -43.3657639 Barra da Tijuca is a famous neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, located southwest of the city on the Atlantic Ocean. Affectionately called "Barra" by the locals, this place is known as the hottest new neighborhood, blessed with beautiful rock formations and a beach blanketed with some of the planet’s sexiest bodies. This booming outpost of luxury condos and large office complexes 10 miles west of Copacabana Beach is emerging as the playground of Rio’s trendy and affluent. Barra is well known for its beaches and American-influenced lifestyle, and is commonly seen as the Brazilian Miami Beach. Sports like surfing, kite surfing, and body boarding are often practiced, and are taught in numerous schools in the area. Championships (national and international) are also held at Barra da Tijuca. The neighborhood is classified as one of the richest places in the country and it has one of the highest HDI's (0.959) in Brazil. It is believed to be the safest of Rio's upper class neighborhoods due to its lack of ghetto's and plentiful private and public security. With big mansions and luxury condominiums, Barra da Tijuca, is known as the neighborhood of the Brazilian high society, celebrities and football stars.



The name Barra da Tijuca can be roughly translated as 'Swamp Sandbank'. Barra means port entrance or sandbank, and Tijuca is a word originally from the Tupi ty-yúc and means putrid water, mud, swamp, puddle, clay or clay-pit.


The neighbourhood area was originally a sandbank, composed of white sand dunes covered by shrubby vegetation. In its central sand stripe extends the Avenida das Américas, a section of BR-101 motorway, along which the neighbourhood started to grow.

In 1969 the neighbourhood's pilot plan project began, elaborated by Lúcio Costa. The project foresaw the construction of two avenues, Avenida das Américas and Avenida Ayrton Senna, beside a regulation to the Barra da Tijuca and adjacent neighbourhoods, with the limitation of the buildings' maximum height and the creation of conservation areas. In the middle of the 1970s, there were already some isolated enclosed condominiums in the middle of the predominant vegetation, with some small- and medium-sized business organizations.

During the 1980s Barra da Tijuca had a population explosion, with virtually all the ground plots along its avenues being occupied by large residential areas, parks, supermarkets, shopping malls, schools and hospitals. The avenues were duplicated and received traffic signs. At this time there was an emancipation movement of Barra da Tijuca and its bordering neighborhoods, but the plebiscite result was unfavourable.

Today, the region has established itself as the most important of the city's high society real estate areas, which adopted a lifestyle based in blocks of flats, mansions, fancy condos, imported cars and shopping centres. Due to the degradation of Rio's city center, Barra also attracted an increasing number of companies, most of them in the petroleum sector.


Península - Winner of the award of the best condo of Brazil.

As the most recent neighborhood, built only about thirty years ago, Barra introduced a new concept of life in the country. A concept characterized by big condominiums with a large leisure infrastructures (golf courses, sports courts, pools, private groves and lakes...), private services (Spas, gyms, cinemas...) and high security and privacy. The condominiums of Barra are also known as eco-condos, they are environmentally friendly. The most famous projects are the condos Rio2 and Península, this last one won the award of the best condo of Brazil.


Several universities have a campus in the neighborhood, including Universidade Estácio de Sá, Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Universidade Gama Filho, Universidade Veiga de Almeida and Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais. The neighborhood also has the best private schools of the city.

Shopping malls

New York City Center

The neighborhood is home to many fancy, modern and mega-malls, the most notable being the BarraShopping (the largest mall in Latin America with nearly 700 stores, restaurants, cinemas and bowling), the New York City Center, the Via Parque Shopping and the 'Downtown'. List of the most important malls:

  • BarraShopping
  • New York City Center
  • Via Parque Shopping
  • Downtown
  • Cittá América
  • Casa Shopping
  • Rio Design
  • Barra Square
  • Barra Garden
  • Barra Point
  • Barra World
Sign BarraShopping


There are many kinds of entertainment like, kart, bowlings, cinemas, theme parks, beaches and more. However, Barra is well known by the right place to have a night life. With many clubs filled with young good-looking boys and girls opened the whole night, Barra is the choice for the brazilian youth. Night life in Barra can feel even more Miami-like than Miami, with thumping techno emanating from clubs dotting its main drag. (You need to be 18+ to enter in the night clubs)


Barra has not only architectural influences. The influence of the whole world, especially from Europe and Asia, can be easily found by the presence of restaurants of many different countries. Find somewhere to eat in this neighborhood is not the hardest thing to do, the only problem is to decide where to go, and of course, be able to pay a lot of money in those one which are the best but also the most expensive restaurants of the city. There are restaurants from Italy, Japan, China, Portugal, Germany, Saudi, Australia, Finland, Austria, Spain, Mexico, France, India, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand and more.


There are 3 main avenues in Barra: Avenida das Américas (which connects almost all Barra, Avenida Ayrton Senna (former Avenida Alvorada, which connects Barra to Jacarepaguá neighbourhood) and Avenida Sernambetiba (which passes along the beach). In all directions, the view includes lakes and mountains, or even the sea. The connection works of Barra with the rest of the urban network, transposing the Maciço da Tijuca (Lagoa-Barra highway and Via Amarela) are among the most expensive works already carried out in Rio, confirming the city's road transport choice. With a good transportation system, Barra, has many bus routes and now, in 2009, the Barra's subway is being built for the Rio Olympics Games in 2016.

Barra in sports

  • The 2007 Pan American Games took place for the most part in Barra.
  • Rio Olympics Games in 2016 will be held in Barra.
  • The football (soccer) club Barra da Tijuca Futebol Clube derives its name from the suburb, but its headquarters are located in neighbouring Recreio dos Bandeirantes.
  • The football club Vasco da Gama's training ground, called Vasco Barra, is also located in Barra.
  • Three major Associations' headquarters are located in Barra da Tijuca: the Brazilian Football Confederation, the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation and Brazilian Olympic Committee.
  • The Golden Green Golf Club provides three-par six-hole court greens open to outside players with illumination for night play.
  • Surf competitions, such as Rio Marathon Surf Internacional, Festival Petrobras de Surfe, Campeonato Velox Surf Amador and Circuito Petrobras are held in Barra. There are several surfing schools in the neighbourhood are evidence of the popularity of this sport with the locals.
  • The Aero Clube do Brasil provides parachuting experiences. The Rio Sport Center offers tennis courts to the public. Barrashopping and Barra Square are home to bowling alleys.
  • There are several places where beach and court volleyball are practised. The Bernandinho's School is located in Barra.
  • The famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy Gracie Barra, takes its name and originates from Barra.
  • The numerous condos also offer several others sports courts for its residents and sometimes for outsiders either.

The beach

The 18 km long beach is the largest Rio de Janeiro beach. Barra da Tijuca beach starts at Morro do Joá and ends at the Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighbourhood, in Pontal de Sernambetiba, beyond Avenida Sernambetiba. Most of its waters are clear and green, and have an uncommon wave formation. Barra da Tijuca beach is one of the most sought after beaches by surfers, windsurfers, bodyboarders and fishing enthusiasts. There is also a cycle lane along the beach.


Cidade da Música.
  • In Barra is the largest convention center in Latin America, Riocentro.
  • Largest beach of Rio de Janeiro.
  • As of 2005, a new Rio de Janeiro concert room is being built in Barra da Tijuca, named 'Cidade da Música' (Music City), inspired by the Cité de la Musique located at La Villette park, in Paris. The invited architect, Christian de Portzamparc, is the author of the original Cité de la Musique project. This music complex will be the largest one in America.
  • About 20 shoppings malls are located in the neighborhood.
  • The largest shopping center in Latin America is BarraShopping.
  • The Rio Olympics Games in 2016 will be held in Barra.
  • Almost 20% of the money collected by the municipal property tax is from Barra.
  • The network's main production studios of Rede Globo are located in Barra. The network is currently the largest in Latin America and the fourth (4th) largest in the world.


The influence from different countries is criticized by many brazilians especially about the 88-foot-high replica of the Statue of Liberty in the New York City Center. While Rio's traditional neighborhoods recall Lisbon, Rome or Paris, the atmosphere in Barra da Tijuca is more like that of American Sun Belt cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston or Miami -- and deliberately so. While that sort of thing may be common in the rest of Latin America, it has not always been so here. Brazilian elite society has traditionally had an ambivalent attitude toward the United States but adores all things French, which helps explain the profusion of luxury beachfront apartment buildings here that have names like Maison du Soleil and Chateau d'Amboise or that honor French cultural icons like Mallarme, Baudelaire and Degas. Actually, the neighborhood already has a pair of apartment buildings that resemble upright versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But to the guardians of established values in Barra, so blatant an imitation of and homage to the United States comes as an affront.

See also


  • Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent Portuguese-language Wikipedia article (retrieved August 19, 2005). However, one must realize that it is almost impossible to translate from Portuguese to English literally and therefore anything from Portuguese must be carefully scrutinized when translating into English and vice versa, ie, translating from English to Portuguese.

External links



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