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Places to Visit in Brazil, America
Lapa Neighborhood
Located in the downtown section of Rio known as Centro , the Lapa neighborhood was once the citys red-light district. Today, the area is known for its vibrant nightlife. Lined with samba and choro bars, the music and dancing spills out into the street on weekend nights. Most of the neighborhoods architecture dates back to the 1800s, providing a scenic backdrop to all the festivities. Its the perfect place to meet up with friends and cariocas to sample local cuisine and to sip caipirinha, the national cocktail made with sugarcane hard liquor and lime. Escadaria Selar n, a set of famous steps connects both the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods.Lapa is a neighborhood in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. It is located in the centre of Rio and is famous for its historical monuments and nightlife.The neighborhood is home to the Arcos da Lapa, an impressive aqueduct constructed in the mid 18th century by colonial authorities. Another important historical attraction is the Passeio P??blico, the first public park of the city, built in the 1780s.

Since the early 1950s, Lapa has been known for its lively cultural life, concentrating many restaurants and bars where Brazilian artists and intellectuals used to meet. It was, and still is, famous for its many restaurants, bars and clubs where the various forms of Brazilian music can be appreciated, like the Asa Branca bar and the Fundio Progresso. The Sala Cec???lia Meirelles, an important venue for chamber music, is also located in Lapa.The most bohemian of Rio de Janeiros neighborhoods, vibrant Lapa is best known for its eclectic music scene, with an abundance of bars, clubs and venues hosting local samba and forr bands. After dark, the main streets of Rua da Lapa or Rua Joaquim Silva come alive, with dancers spilling onto the streets and top clubs like the Rio Scenarium, Arco Iris and Asa Branca teeming with locals and in the know tourists.Even in the daylight hours, Lapa is a colorful district to explore, with the striking colonial buildings now home to a string of vintage shops and cafs frequented by Rios creative types. The area is also home to two of the citys most iconic landmarks, most notably the Lapa Arches , an enormous 18th-century aqueduct that towers 64 meters over the central square. With the 42 grand arches dramatically lit at night, the arches make a popular meeting place for cariocas, as do the brightly painted steps of the Selaron Ladder, a short walk away. The masterpiece of Chilean artist Jorge Selar n, the 215 steps of the Selaron Ladder are richly decorated with over 2,000 tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag and mark the way into the neighboring district of Santa Teresa.IN the whitewashed bohemian outpost of Santa Teresa, far from the Rio de Janeiro of tourist mythology, the beach hedonism of Zona Sul neighborhoods like Ipanema and Copacabana seems almost irrelevant. Here, local artists have claimed 19th-century hilltop villas that are sandwiched between squatter slums and offer stunning views of the coast.At lunch in unpretentious Bar do Mineiro, a grizzled artist offered advice on how to spend an evening out in Rio.

There is no soul in the Zona Sul,he said. If you are going out, you must only go to Lapa. He was talking about Santa Teresas neighbor, which shares the same historic architecture and still-dubious reputation as Santa Teresa. The two are linked by the bonde, a precarious but unforgettable tram that passes over Lapas aqueduct, and by the stairs connecting the Convento de Santa Teresa to Rua Joaquim Silva in Lapa.Lapa offers an alternative to the slick, soulless clubs of the Zona Sul, whose anxiousness to convey international style exclusivity cannot allay the nagging feeling that Rios real action lies elsewhere. Revitalization has begun to take place farther afield, in places like Lapa, the scene of a rebirth of samba, where spontaneity and history commingle.The moment were living in will be remembered as a historical one in the history of Rio samba, and a great part of that is because of Lapa,the samba musician and singer Nilze Carvalho, 37, told me.The exodus of middle-class night life even concerts and bars to glittering shopping malls in Rio probably reflects security concerns as much as it does creeping Americanization. But for the traveler, this isnt just boring, its depressing.Luckily, not all Cariocas, as residents of Rio are called, are into fortress socializing. Considering the options, Cristiano Nogueira, the 31-year-old author of the guidebook Rio for Partiers,said I want the fear. I want the drama. I want the sweat. Lapa offers all three in spades. Getting to Lapa 20 minutes and a 25-reais cab ride from the Zona Sul can seem like a trek, but if it were any closer to shore, it would doubtless be spoiled, as Copacabana has long been, beset by overexposure, seediness and Disney-like garishness. As it is, Lapas charm exists in the gentle mildewing of its colonial-era architecture, in its sense of unfolding transformation.At the neighborhoods heart is the Arcos da Lapa aqueduct, which, despite having been built in 1723 by slaves, is curiously modernist in its starkness. At night, it is surrounded by blithe, raucous activity. On one side of the aqueduct, fans line up for the sweeping tents of Circo Voador, a semi outdoor music club; on the other, the square is jammed with revelers and vendors selling bottles of Skol beer. Cobblestones and sidewalks receive the scuttle and strut of impromptu samba.

Gaggles of musicians swing cavaquinhos, the diminutive guitars that give samba music its characteristic tink, sidling up to drinkers slumped in plastic chairs in the street.In the early decades of the 20th century, Lapa was a rowdy neighborhood of ill repute, of the best sort. Known as the Montmartre of South America, its streets were studded with cabarets, brothels and casinos, until the dictator Getulio Vargas put his foot down in the 1940s.That era lives on in two narratives that of the malandro, the shiftless but debonair seducer immortalized in a pop opera by a Rio native son, Chico Buarque, and the tempestuous black bisexual drag queen Madame Sat, subject of an eponymous 2002 movie.In Madame Sat,Lapa is more than a backdrop it is a character in a drama of marginality, the apotheosis of feverish creativity and full-throttle pageantry.Before rebirth came decay. The new cult of beachgoing moved Rios center of action to the shore, and in 1960, when Rio lost its crown as the nations capital to Bras???lia, deterioration in Lapa and the surrounding area accelerated. Marco Ara??jo, 40, the manager of the pioneering samba house Carioca da Gema, put it bluntly: Lapa was dead, but musicians from Rio still remembered it as their symbol of samba.Later, samba, commonly recognized as the Brazilian national art, also fell out of vogue, said Mr. Ara??jo. Young people preferred to go to clubs and discos,he said. But when they came here to Lapa, they rediscovered the samba that was their childhood.He compared it to the resurgent popularity of cacha?a, the potent sugar cane liquor that provides the national cocktail, the caipirinha, with its kick. Cacha'a and samba walk together on the same road,he said.

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