Estádio do Maracanã, or Maracanã Stadium, was first opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, in which Brazil, ironically, lost 2-1 to Uruguay in the final match. In it's heyday, the stadium capacity was about 160,000, but for this particular match it reached 199,854! I managed to wander into the stadium when the attendance was three, with me and my two friends having our run of the place for the afternoon. Having been to many professional stadiums in the US, I thought that I had seen 'big' places. However, I was not prepared for the epic expanse of Maracanã Stadium. Currently, it is in the midst of major renovations in preparation for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. While the new capacity may be a mere 85,000, the sheer magnitude of the venue will undoubtedly make it feel like many more.
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
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Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, Portão 3 - Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20271-130, Brazil
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