Photo by Sávio Martins
Cais do Valongo
These ruins, rediscovered in 2011, are a fundamental part of Rio and Brazil history (and indeed that of humankind itself). In its unearthed stones, open to the public, slavery has left its mark; this was South America’s largest slave port at which, between 1811 and 1831, it’s thought between a half-million to a million captured Africans were disembarked for subsequent sale. Buried in 1843 to make way for a different wharf, its blot on history was accidentally effaced (at least for a time) but came to light once more as the neighborhood was being fixed up for the Olympics. It was named a World Heritage Site in 2017 and merits a visit, if only in atonement for the tragedy it represents.
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