Niterói: Wikis


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—  Municipality  —
The Municipality of Niterói
View of Icaraí Beach


Nickname(s): Cidade Sorriso (Smile City)
Location of Niterói
Coordinates: 22°52′58″S 43°06′14″W / 22.88278°S 43.10389°W / -22.88278; -43.10389
Country Brazil
Region Southeast
State Rio de Janeiro
Founded 22 November 1573
Incorporated 1835
 - Mayor Jorge Roberto Silveira (PDT)
 - Municipality 129.38 km2 (50 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2006)[1][2]
 - Municipality 476,669
 Density 3,684.4/km2 (9,542.6/sq mi)
 Metro 11,620,000
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
 - Summer (DST) UTC-2 (UTC-2)
Postal Code 24000-000
Area code(s) +55 21
HDI (2000) 0.886 – high
Website Niterói, Rio de Janeiro

Niterói is a municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro, southeast region of Brazil. This city was founded on November 22, 1573 by the Tupi Amerindian chief Araribóia (who later was converted to Roman Catholicism and given the Christian name of Martim Afonso, after the Portuguese explorer Martim Afonso de Sousa). It makes Niteroi the only Brazilian city to have been founded by a non-Christian, non-assimilated Brazilian Amerindian.[3]

The Brazilian Niterói class of naval frigates is named after the city.



Following the expulsion of French settlers from Rio de Janeiro in 1567 by Estácio de Sá (the so-called France Antarctique episode), the Portuguese crown began noticing that the bay of Rio de Janeiro would make a strategic scale for the Atlantic route of ships from Portugal to its colonies in Africa and Asia, as well an important advanced bridgehead for the defense of South Brazil. Fortresses were built and an alliance was formed with nearby native Tupi-Guarani tribes to defend the settlement against other European invaders.

Araribóia, the chief of one of these allied tribes - the Temininós - requested from the Portuguese General-Governor of Brazil, Mem de Sá, a tract of land; his request was granted, and he was rewarded with the region called "Banda D'Além" (the land beyond), in the eastern side of the bay, from River Marui to the Red Barriers between Gragoata and Boa Viagem beachs[4]. This area corresponded to what is nowadays the northwestern part of the county of Niterói, which includes the central and northern zones of its urban area. There, in the "Land Beyond", Araribóia founded the Village of Saint Lawrence of the Indians (in Portuguese, Vila de São Lourenço dos Índios), the embryo for the future city of Niterói, a Tupi name that means "Hidden Waters".

The village was visited by the king of Portugal, John VI, in 1816, who also decreed its emancipation from Rio de Janeiro in May 10, 1819 and gave the new-created county a new name, Vila Real da Praia Grande (Royal Village of Long Beach).

In 1834, the city of Rio de Janeiro, capital of the newly-established Empire of Brazil, was detached from the rest of the province of Rio de Janeiro; Vila Real da Praia Grande was then chosen as the new capital of that province, while the city of Rio de Janeiro itself was converted into a neutral county, following the Ato Adicional. Niteroi served the function of capital till the year of 1975 - except for the period between 1894 and 1903 when it was temporarily transferred to the city of Petrópolis).

Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed to Niterói on March 6, 1835 after the Tupi Nictheroy (hidden waters). This old spelling persisted until the mid-20th century, when the current spelling - Niterói - was adopted.

In 1890, the Brazilian provinces began being called states and the neutral county (Rio de Janeiro city) had its status changed to Federal District (or simply DF, the Brazilian acronym for Distrito Federal). Following the transference of the Brazil's capital to Brasilia DF in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro was made into a small, one-county state, named state of Guanabara. This state was finally absorbed by the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1975; since then, Niteroi lost its condition of the state's capital in favour of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

A circus fire in the city killed 323 people in 1961; the fire was later found to have been deliberately set by disgruntled circus employees.


Itacoatiara Beach.

By the time of its emancipation, the urban area of Niteroi corresponded to its central zone and São Domingos only. The south zone - Icarai, Santa Rosa, Vital Brazil - began being urbanized in 1841, when the Santa Rosa farm was divided into estates, while Jurujuba evolved from an old fishermen colony. São Francisco and Charitas, sites named after the Catholic Church built in honor to Saint Francis by the Jurujuba cove, remained sparsely populated till about 1940. As for the northern zone of Niteroi, its urbanization began in the late 19th century, when a tramway was inaugurated, allowing the expansion of the city to north and northeast, as well boosting the urban growth of the neighbour county of São Gonçalo do Amarante.

The realm of Itaipu - a former vast zone of farming lands and forests west to Niteroi - was annexed to the county in 1943. It has lost its countryside traits and its urban population has grown fast since the late 1960s.

In the early 20th century, Niteroi started its industrialization boom.


Night view.

Niteroi is a modern city, with modern buildings and four main shopping malls. Its economy is centered on its trading and commerce services, like imobiliary corporations, graphic design, web design and publicity. It also hosts industries of food (especially seafood), clothes, caldle, marine objects; its negative point is that its transports depend on a small port and scarce options of roads, if compared to Rio de Janeiro's.

The city is 25 minutes from the center of Rio de Janeiro's city, the state's capital, and most populous, although Niteroi boasts the title of the second richest of the state.[5]

The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the city's main landmark, was designed by the famous Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. The landscape of the central urban area of the city is dominated by a high cylindric building though, the Niterói Tower, that hosts different professional offices and belongs to the Niterói Shopping Mall.

Niteroi has other three big shopping malls besides the Niterói Shopping Mall: the Plaza Shopping, the Itaipu Multi Center and the Baymarket. This last one occupies the former area of the Sandiz department store, demolished in the mid 1990's.


Museum of Contemporary Art.

Niteroi is 14 km (8 miles) distant from Rio de Janeiro city,which once was the capital, to which it is linked by the Rio-Niterói bridge and two ferry-boat services. The quality of life in Niteroi is considered one of the best (3rd place) among 5,600 Brazilian cities, according to UN indexes.


UFF - Federal University.

Niteroi is the seat of the Fluminense Federal University, one of the most important research centers in Brazil.[6] It does have others colleges such as ISE La Salle and Candido Mendes University.

Catholic schools, mainly La Salle Institute and São Vicente de Paulo, are the most traditional elementary and high schools of the city. Other important schools are Pedro II, Assunção, Gay Lussac, the Salesian High School, ETE - Henrique Lage (a.k.a. Faetec), pH, MV1 and Oswaldo Cruz Institute.

Niterói has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) and best level of literacy in the State of Rio de Janeiro.[7]


São Francisco Beach.

Current mayor of Niterói is Jorge Roberto Silveira of the Democratic Labour Party was elected in 2008 for a four-year term.

Administrative divisions

The Administrative Regions of Niterói (pre-1990)

From 1943 to the late 1970s, the county of Niteroi comprised two districts only: the district of Niteroi (original area) and the district of Itaipu (acquired in 1943), which barely had an urban continuity or even proper road links to each other and were considered apart areas. The fractioning of Itaipu's farms into real estates as well its imobiliary boom after the building of the Rio-Niterói's bridge demanded a better integration between the two sides of the county which led to the improving of the roads and urban facilities and a reformation on the make up of Niteroi's administrative division. The county was reorganised into five districts. In the early 1990s, the administrative division of Niterói was altered once again, being the county now divided into twelve administrative, further subdivided into 48 neighborhoods.

Current administrative division of Niterói
  • Piratininga
  • Ponta d'Areia
  • Rio do Ouro
  • Santa Bárbara
  • Santana
  • Santa Rosa
  • São Domingos
  • São Francisco
  • São Lourenço
  • Sapê
  • Tenente Jardim
  • Várzea das Moças
  • Viçoso Jardim
  • Vila Progresso
  • Viradouro
  • Vital Brazil

Notable people from Niterói

Itapuca Stone.
Santa Cruz Fortress.


Gymnastic formation squad of Niteroi

External links

Coordinates: 22°53′00″S 43°06′13″W / 22.8833333°S 43.10361°W / -22.8833333; -43.10361


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Itacoatiara Beach: Surf on the sea or on the rocks... the choice is yours!
Itacoatiara Beach: Surf on the sea or on the rocks... the choice is yours!

Niterói (476,000 inhabitants) is a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nicknamed "The Smile City" (Cidade Sorriso), it is just a short ferry ride from downtown Rio across Guanabara Bay. In fact you may encounter plenty of reasons to smile about: many beautiful beaches (within the bay or facing the open ocean), historic forts and a world-class museum. Besides, Niteroi is schedule to become in a near future the place with the largest number of works from renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer - second only to the entire Brazilian capital, Brasilia.

Itaipu Lagoon
Itaipu Lagoon
Sunset in Camboinhas Beach.
Sunset in Camboinhas Beach.
Sossego, due to its hard access it is one of the most secluded beaches in Niterói.
Sossego, due to its hard access it is one of the most secluded beaches in Niterói.

Get in

By boat: The ferry between Rio and Niteroi is a pleasant and affordable trip. It takes between 10 and 20 minutes to cross the bay, depending on the fare for a slow or fast boat from adjoining terminals at Praça XV.

By car or bus: From Rio you just drive through the longest bridge in Brazil,Ponte Rio-Niterói; just like the name says it connects both cities. It´s 13 km (8 mi) in length and there is a toll of R$ 3,20 (you pay 1 way only, coming from Rio).

If you are coming from Búzios or Cabo Frio you take the highway called "Via-lagos".

Get around

On Saturdays and Sundays the "Linha Turismo" (Tourism Line) operates on schedule leaving the Arariboia Square (@ the Fery Station) at 10AM, 12:30PM and 2:30PM and making 7 different stops along Niteroi's main attractions from downtown to the Fortress (R$10 for a round-trip all day hop in and out ticket). To get to the Oceanic Area you'd better have a car, otherwise take a municipal bus at the Bus Terminal next to the Ferry Station. Look for the specific Beach name sign on the bus(30~40~50 minutes ride from downtown to Piratininga/Camboinhas ~ Itacoatiara ~ Itaipu respectively ).

Itapuca Rock, Museum and Corcovado Mountain across the bay
Itapuca Rock, Museum and Corcovado Mountain across the bay
  • Beaches - Niteroi has a wonderful unique view of Rio and one of the state's most beautiful beaches, Itacoatiara, which can be reached by bus number 38. It is considered a surfer's paradise (actually it takes part of a world circuit of Surfer's Competition). Expect a young and beautiful crowd, have a snack at one of the healthy cabana-bars along the shore or yet, take trails to climb the mountains and watch a uniquely crazy sport: "Rock Surfing".

Not further from here you can find the "lost in time" Itaipu Beach, a fishermen's colony surrounded by sand dunes, a lagoon, a canal, a white church on a hill and some colonial era ruins. It is probably one of the best sunsets you can see over Rio's shoreline (Copacabana, Ipanema & Barra on the horizon). Also worthwhile is a visit to next door Camboinhas Beach (it's easier and faster to hire a fisherman's boat to cross the canal than driving around the lagoon to get there). Other beaches include: Piratininga, Prainha (cliff diving from the Whale Rock) and Sossego, all on the Atlantic side. Boa Viagem, Inga, Icarai, Sao Francisco, Charitas, Jurujuba (fishermen village, not proper for bathing)and Adao & Eva, all along the Bay starting at downtown and ending at the Fortress.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art (1996) - Mirante da Boa Viagem. Tel. (21) 2620-2400. Tue-Sun, 10am - 6pm (or 7pm during Daylight Saving Time (mid Oct to late Feb). Get bus 47B from the bus terminal on your left when you exit the ferry station. Admission R$ 4. This intriguing contemporary art museum looks like a flying saucer jutting out over the sea and is worth the visit to Niteroi alone.
  • Teatro Popular (People's Theatre)- Opened in 2007 this is the new addition to the Caminho Niemyer (Niemeyer Way), a series of Architectural buildings along Niteroi's Bayside. The theatre is located beyond the Bus Terminal to your left as you exit the Ferry Station.
  • Parque da Cidade - An amazing view of Rio de Janeiro (city). Watch the sunset from there is a 'must do' if you are in Rio... It is in the top of a mountain in the neighborhood 'Charitas'. You can go there by car / taxi.
  • Fortaleza de Santa Cruz (1555)- located at the Guanabara Bay entrance, this is a big fortress with a close-up view of the Sugar Loaf Mountain from an entirely different angle.(R$4 guided tours) Thu~Sun 10AM-5PM -> To get here on the weekdays you will need a car/taxi, but on Sat and Sun you can take a tourist open bus (called Jardineira)in downtown Niteroi at the Ferry Station. It runs all the way along the bayshore and stops at the town's main attractions and neighborhoods.
  • Barao do Rio Branco(1555), Imbui(1863/1901) and Sao Luis(1715/1775) Forts - enter at Rio Branco Fort in Jurujuba for a guided tours of this and the other 2 forts and ruins overlooking the bay with a splendid view of the surrounding mountains of Niteroi and Rio. (R$6 each Fort) Al. Mal. Pessoa Leal, 265 - Sat. & Sun 9:30AM-4PM
View from the Parque da Cidade (City Park) in Niterói, start off point to the hang-gliding jump that lands on the beach sand down bellow.
View from the Parque da Cidade (City Park) in Niterói, start off point to the hang-gliding jump that lands on the beach sand down bellow.
  • Shopping - Icaraí is where the upper midlle class lives. So there are plenty of nice shops for all tastes. "Moreira Cesar" (1st street parallel to the beach)is the most popular shopping street in town. Here you will find exclusive and expensive boutiques such as Animale, Agilita, H.Stern, Salinas (beachware) all the way down to little t-shirt shops. There are plenty of exotic juice bars and little restaurantes here as well. Don't leave town without tasting Acai, a Brazilian fruit from the Amazonas which is served very cold and has a very special flavor. .

Meanwhile in Downtown (Centro), the Plaza Shopping is the largest shopping mall in town and is conveniently located across from the ferry Station (Estacao das barcas). Here you will find basically all the stores that you would find in any mall in nearby Rio de Janeiro. Niteroi Shopping is also a mall in downtown (Rua da Conceicao). Eventhough this is not at the same level of Plaza Shopping is a landmark, very easy to find, since it is the tallest round building you can see.

  • Icaraí is to Niteroi what Copacabana is to Rio's residents: the most traditional neighborhood with excellent shopping opportunities and great restaurants. Great for jogging and biking with a view of Rio's main landmarks across the Guanabara Bay (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world): the Sugar Loaf and the Corcovado. How can you ask for more?
  • Nightlife - "São Francisco" the adjacent neighborhood is filled with lively bars, pubs and restaurants especially on the ocean front. There are not many discos in Niterói as people prefer to go to Rio to dance.
  • Hang-glide from Parque da Cidade (see above)
  • Windsurf in Charitas and Sao Francisco
  • Cliff Diving in Prainha dew Piuratininga
  • Guanabara Bay Tour - 2 hour Bay cruise on a ferry where a camera is a must. Showcases Rio and Niteroi's postcards (narration is in Portuguese only, but the view is worth a thousand words) . Sundays only, departs @ 9:30AM from the Main Ferry Station in downtown. R$12


Souvenirs from Niteroi, like T-shirts and magnets, can be bought at the Tourist Information Office. There's a cabin located right at the ferry station exit. Here you can get brochures, maps and tourist tram schedule also. If you go to Sao Francisco neighborhood the main office is located to your left right after the tunnel and before you reach the beach.

  • do Museu - Museum of Contemporary Art underground restaurant. Varied Cuisine and a fantastic view.
  • Porcao Probably the most traditional restaurant in town. Non-stop parade of meats brought on skewers to your table. Huge salad bar with all kinds of delicacies. This is the typical Brazilian Bar-b-que It is a meat-lovers paradise - Av. Quintino Bocaiuva, 151 @ the beginning of Sao Francisco Beach.
  • Olimpo - Charita's Ferry Station @ the second floor. Just look for a modern building (blue neon lights at night) right over the beach sand adjoining the pier. Food is varied; the buiding is a work of art by Oscar Niemeyer and the view is dramatic and romantic.
  • Familia Paludo Gourmet - Not to be missed! The food is displayed in a very elegant buffet, exceptional quality and amazing variety and purchased by kilo.
  • Gendai - A very popular Japonese restaurant with an incredible selection of Japanese dishes. You can either order a la carte or choose to pay a fixed price and eat as much as you want including anything on the menu. If you like Japonese food you will love this restaurant.
  • Tratoria Torna - One of the most traditional Italian restaurant with excellent food and a typical Italian environment.
  • Torninha - Consider one of the best Italian gastronomies in town. Once a month offers a thematic dinner with special wine tasting.
  • Gruta de Santo Antonio - A family owned Portuguese restaurant located in downtown Niteroi. Cozy atmosphere, excellent service and delicious food. One of the best wine cellars in the city.
  • Caneco gelado do Mario - Very rustic fish restaurant in the center of the city. Recommended by all of the travel guides as a restaurant not to be missed. Open only for lunch.
  • A Mineira - Av. Quintino Bocaiuva, 353 @ the end of Sao Francisco Beach. Open flame regional cuisine of Minas State in a cozy chalet style restaurant. Very affordable and lots of food for the money.

All restaurants are reasonable priced compared to American and European standards, all are highly recommended.


Try the Brazilian Caipirinha made with Kiwi, Passion Fruit or some exotic tropical fruit at Familia Paludo, a restaurant (painted Red) located in Sao Francisco Beach. Have a Coconut Water at any beach-stand and enjoy a cold Brazilian Beer or Chopp (Draft) anywhere with a view. Relax and Smile! This is Niteroi !


Although this is a small city there are several options when thinking about staying overnight.

  • The Orizzonte Apart Hotel offers excellent accomodations with spectacular views of the Guanabara bay. This is a perfect option for someone looking for tranquiity and peaceful rest. You will need a car to move around since this hotel is located in the top of a hill standing by itself.
  • Solar do Amanhecer - Located in Charitas beach, this small and cozy hotel is nearby Sao Francisco beach with all the restaurants and shops that you might desire. It has ocean views and it is a walking distance of the new ferry boat station that connects Niteroi with Rio de Janeiro.
  • Tio Sam Hotel - This resort is situated in Camboinhas beach. It a new structure with comfortable rooms, swimming pools, gym, tennis courts... Steps to one of the most wonderful oceanic beaches of the city.
Routes through Niterói
Vitória ← Guaraparí ←  N noframe S  Rio de JaneiroSantos
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