Copacabana Fort

Copacabana Fort is one of the top attractions in Rio de Janeiro for those who are interested in military fortifications and architecture. Built in 1914, this massive fort at the southwest end of Copacabana Beach is a joy to explore, and when you're not checking out the cannons and structure, relaxing with a beverage and maybe even a snack at the onsite café is always an option. Wonderful views abound at the Forte de Copacabana, as it is known locally, and this is just one more reason to drop by for a look.

The Copacabana Fort sits on a 28-acre promontory of rock that can be found at the southwest end of Copacabana Beach. This promontory juts out into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and was chosen because of its proximity to the city's harbor. Thanks in part to the big guns that the fort is largely known for, no record of any engagements at the Forte de Copacana can be found. The guns, as is true of the fort itself, were put in place by Krupp, which is an arms maker that hails from Germany. On Copacabana Fort tours, you can play with the cannons if you please, and you can also head to the bunkers below to check out a stockpile of deactivated shells.

While exploring the inner realms of the Copacabana Fort, another thing that visitors can expect to see is an underground bunker that features latrines, various officers' quarters, and an infirmary. There is also a museum at the fort that offers insight into the role that the country's army played in the history of Brazil prior to the 1960s. In fact, the whole structure is basically a museum. Among the most interesting things at the Forte de Copacabana are the cannons and the structure's thick walls. The cannons include a 305 mm gun and a smaller 190 mm version. Before the guns were decommissioned in 1987, the larger one could reportedly fire its shells fourteen miles out to sea. As for the walls, they are a formidable 39-feet thick.

The Copacabana Fort tours are self guided, and it should take you about an hour and a half to enjoy them if you really want to see the place. When you're not checking out everything inside the fort, take a walk along its turrets. The fort basically separates Copacana Beach from Arpoador Beach, and the views of these beaches are quite amazing. Other things that you can see from the fort's privileged vantage points are Sugarloaf Mountain and the nearby city of Niteroi. Niteroi, it is worth noting, sits directly across from Rio on the Guanabara Bay.

It doesn't cost a lot to enjoy Copacabana Fort tours, and when you're tour is over, the onsite café, or restaurant if you prefer, can make for an excellent place to break for some food and drinks. The views from the café are scintillating, and most agree that the sandwiches, pastries, and cakes that are on offer are of considerable quality. While the Copacabana Fort is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, the café is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. You will have to pay the fort's admission fee to enter the café, but the fee is reasonable.

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