The iconic Lapa Steps lead from downtown to Santa Teresa — Photo courtesy of Claire Taylor
Most visitors to Rio de Janeiro come to the city with a checklist of 'must-visit' sights, which is sure to include the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana as well as the legendary Christ Statue and the iconic Sugar Loaf mountain. Here´s another must-see sight to add to that checklist. In the downtown neighborhood of Lapa, a colorful stairwell winds up to the artsy hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa, and has been painstakingly decorated with murals and colored tiles from across the world.
The artist behind this elaborate outdoor installation was the Chilean painter Jorge Selaron, who had been decorating the stairs as an 'homage to the Brazilian people' for more than two decades when he was found dead at his home nearby in 2013 (a murder investigation was ongoing at the time of this writing).
The sad final act has added to the allure of this unique attraction, which had already become a focal point for visitors in Centro at the time of Selaron´s death. It may also be recognizable to fans of hip hop music - it was the setting for many of the scenes in the video of Snoop Dogg and Pharell´s hit song "Beautiful."
Make like the rappers and pose for a picture on this legendary staircase, before climbing the steps up towards scenic Santa Teresa.