Anybody in the midst of a tour of South America would be remiss if they did not visit Rio de Janeiro. The second largest city in Brazil, Rio has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent. With a city that big, there are countless landmarks to see, but you should make a point to explore Rio's famous Centro district to get a taste of its rich history and cultural appeal.
Upon entering Centro, the first thing you're sure to notice is the number of old, beautiful churches. The historic center of the city, the district is home to some of the oldest structures in Rio, including the Candelária Church. This building dates back to 1775, and features beautiful architecture that draws from Baroque and neoclassical influences.
While it is the oldest section of Rio, Centro has more to offer than historic churches. It is also home to a number of popular museums. Among the most regularly visited is the National Museum of Fine Arts, which was built in the 1930s and contains more than 20,000 pieces of artwork. You should also stop in the National Historical Museum, which includes the largest coin collection in Latin America.
As you're getting ready to leave Centro, you should visit the Saara shopping district, which includes 11 streets throughout the area. The open air market is home to around 1,200 businesses and has been operating since the 19th century. Today, it is certainly a great place to pick up a memento remind you of your South America tour. Even if you don't purchase anything, the bustling hub attracts around 70,000 people each day and is a great way to enjoy a uniquely Brazilian experience.
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