Maracana Stadium

Maracana Stadium is one of the most well-known soccer venues in the entire world. Built in time to host the World Cup in 1950, this stadium in Rio de Janeiro has seen more than its fair share of big time matches. Unfortunately for Brazil soccer fans, the 1950 World Cup saw the nation's beloved national team lose to then rival Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium. This incident, if you will, is still looked upon with disdain by Brazilians, though the national team would rebound nicely, capturing a handful of World Cups in the following decades.

Maracana Stadium
Maracana Stadium

These days, the Estadio do Maracana, as it is known in Portuguese, still hosts major soccer matches, the bulk of which are played by the main teams in Rio, but those aren't the only events that you can attend. Other Maracana Stadium events include other sports competitions, such as volleyball games, and more than one big ticket performer has put on a big concert there. Past musical Maracana Stadium events include a 1983 concert by KISS, a 1980 performance by Frank Sinatra, and a few concert festivals that featured an array of popular artists, to name a few. In 2014, it is worth noting, the Estadio do Maracana will play host to more World Cup games, as Brazil is the host country, and in 2016, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Games will also put the famous stadium to use.

Macarana Stadium Rio
Macarana Stadium Rio

For the final match of the 1950 World Cup, nearly 200,000 people crammed into the Maracana Stadium to see Brazil take on Uruguay. Interestingly enough, the stadium wasn't yet completed at the time. In fact, it wasn't until 1965 that work on the stadium was finished. Since then, renovations have been made to the Estadio de Maracana, and today, its seats can accommodate just over 82,000 people. The elliptical framework of the stadium is still in place, making the stadium easy to recognize, and once inside, visitors will notice the different colors of the various seating sections.

Macarana Stadium Seating Chart
Macarana Stadium Seating Chart

When Maracana Stadium events aren't going on, it is possible to get a look at the inside of the venue on a tour. English-speaking guides are in place for the tours, and should you be interested in enjoying one, you'll get to explore all the of the floors and the dressing rooms. You'll also get a healthy dose of info on Brazilian soccer, which soccer fans will especially appreciate. The stadium is essentially a living museum, and even if you aren't a major soccer fan, the behind-the-scenes tours should prove rewarding. If nothing else, you can say that you've explored one of the world's main soccer temples. Other major world stadiums that are among the biggest soccer temples include England's Wembley Stadium and Spain's Santiago de Bernabeu Stadium.

When you're not hanging out at a beach, heading up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, or enjoying any other number of fun pursuits on a Rio de Janeiro vacation, visiting the Estadio do Maracana is an attraction that is worth adding to the itinerary. If you can get tickets to a soccer game, then all the better, though the tours are enjoyable enough as well. The Maracana Stadium is essentially found in the heart of the city center, and since every local knows it well, you won't have trouble getting directions. Many people who are heading to a game or planning on taking a tour of this largest stadium in South America use the metro to get there. The metro station of choice is aptly known as Marcana, with gate 16 being the optimal place to exit.

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