Discover Rio’s fascinating reinvented docklands
Explore the museums, galleries, walkways and street art in the refurbished docklands of Rio.
As is the case in London and Cape Town among other coastal cities which have had a huge role to play in international trade, Rio de Janeiro had a vast area of cityscape devoted to port activities. With the advent of container shipping and the shrinking of ship-building, these became redundant, and the shoreline was littered with abandoned docks and warehouses. But like the other named cities, Rio has invested hugely in redeveloping the docks area and reclaiming it for leisure use, accommodation and other facilities better fitting to the modern world.
This work started in thr 90s but was further stimulated by the advent of the Olympic games in Rio in 2016. The vast squares around Praça Mauá and Praça Quinze have been transformed from shadowy, derelict and somewhat dangerous neighbourhoods into sunlit, inspirational zones where pedestrians can stroll among state-of-the-art museums such as the space-age interactive Museum of Tomorrow, spruced up loft apartments and shops and some wonderful street art celebrating human diversity across the globe. The area is walkable from the commercial centre but there is a new tram service travelling the city’s main thoroughfare, leafy Avenue Rio Branco, passing highlights such as the ornate National Theatre and baroque Candelaria church.