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Tijuca National Park

Tijuca National Park (36)

Tijuca National Park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991 because of how beneficial it is for the environment and how it helps protect the city from pollution and natural disasters.

Tijuca National Park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991 because of how beneficial it is for the environment and how it helps protect the city from pollution and natural disasters.

In the early years of colonial rule, the Portuguese felled much of the forest in order to grow sugar and coffee. The plantations caused major flooding and it was not until 1861 that, thanks to Pedro II, reforestation began. The improvement and growth of the lost vegetation took over 13 years and today its lushness and impeccable state is a clear example of the perseverance, love and care of the people of Rio towards one of the most important and significant natural parks in Brazil.

Although it is one of the natural smallest parks in Brazil, with 3000 hectares, it is considered the largest urban forest in the world. This paradise in the heart of Rio is home to countless plant and animal species, and although its vegetation includes some species that were introduced by humans and that didn't grow here before, Rio's Atlantic Forest characteristic dominates these kilometres of lush forest.

The biggest asset of Tijuca National Park is its natural fountains and breathtaking waterfalls, and it also boasts some of the most significant rock formations in the world. Within this vast expanse of plant and animal life, you'll find the famous Pico de Tijuca, the Cerro Corcovado, the Mayrink Chapel and the world's largest coastal monolith, the Pedra da Gávea, so named for its resemblance to the shape of a topsail, a type of sail, which rises up to 842 metres. But there's something strange about it. Don't you feel like you're looking at the face of a person? Erosion and the passage of time have created this "face", which many have come here to photograph.

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