Just outside of Rio de Janeiro city center is one of the most famous areas of the city – for a few days a year. Sambódromo Marquês de Sapucaí is where thousands of revelers from all over the world flock to for the annual Carnaval. The Sambódromo was constructed specifically for the event in 1984 by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
The capacity of the Sambódromo is over 90,000. It consists of grandstands on either side of Rua Marquês de Sapucaí with a 700m stretch of the street as the main parade route. Outside of Carnaval season, the venue is used for concerts.
The parade route ends at Praça da Apoteose, a plaza for revelers to gather as the parade ends. Our guide told us that the structure represents a woman bending over in a bikini while the shape of the Sambódromo from above is phallic. He said it was Niemeyer’s intention to make the design something sexual and nobody caught onto it during the construction. Whether this is true or not is up for debate as I haven’t found any piece of information regarding this story. See the map below and you can judge for yourself.
For those who want to get into the Carnaval spirit, there are some small shops where people can try on Carnaval outfits for souvenir photos or buy Carnaval-related souvenirs. Our guide told us these shops often supply costumes for the annual event.