Rio de Janeiro is full of amazing places to visit. Some of them connected with nature and some with architecture like Christ the Redeemer or Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro or others. But one of the places that tourists must visit while staying in Rio de Janeiro is not a nature wander or intricate architecture, it is the result of an accident. The place that I am talking about wasn’t meant to be a great tourist attraction. It is known as Escadaria Selarón mosaic steps.
Jorge Selarón is an artist that one day decided he doesn’t like how his neighborhood looked like and he needed to do something about it. He thought that to add colors would be a great solution to this problem. Since the street where he lives is very steep and it is made of steps, colorful tiles became the perfect tool. One day the work began, and Jorge Selaron started placing differently sized tiles on the steps, making one big mosaic.
The steps have just three colors: blue, yellow and green, just like the flag of Brazil. Why is that? Jorge Selaron once said that his true love is Rio and Brazil in general, so as a tribute to Brazilian people he used these three colors.
The sides of the Escadaria Selarón are made of the red tiles and other painted ones from different countries. After people realized what the artist was trying to do, they started bringing tiles from their countries.
The Escadaria Selarón is a 125-meter mosaic of colorful tiles. There are more than 2,000 tiles that cover the entire staircase. If you are looking up the stairs on the left side, you will see a picture of Selaron himself. He looks like a pregnant woman who holds a flag with a sign “Brazil, I love you, Selaron”. When one of the reporters asked Selaron why he pained himself as a pregnant woman, he answered that this is how he feels himself.
Nowadays Escadaria Selarón mosaic steps is another iconic sight of Rio de Janeiro and an example of street art that is famous around the world. The good example is that from nothing something great can be created.
There is no reason to say that the place is always crowded, and you will have to wait for a long time to get your perfect shot. But people are respectful and follow the line, as well as will gladly take your picture if you ask.
The easiest way to get to Escadaria Selarón is by Uber. It will cost you around R$25 (≈ $5,6) if you depart from Copacabana and the ride will take just 20 minutes.
I wouldn’t recommend this way, but if you like the adventure, walking and not being scared of getting robbed then it is for you. The walking takes an hour and 40 minutes from Copacabana.
If you are in Copacabana you will first need to get to “Siqueira Campos” subway station and exit “Cinelandia” station. From there it will take about 10 minutes walk to get to the mosaic steps.