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The Centre corresponds approximately to the old city and is referred to as Cidade (Portuguese: “City” or “Downtown”).However, few colonial-era buildings or monuments remain, owing to a series of remodeling and modernizing efforts.In March 1975 the two states were fused as the state of Rio de Janeiro.The city of Rio de Janeiro became one of the 14 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, or Greater Rio, and was designated the capital of the reorganized state.After the city was relegated to being a state capital in the mid-20th century, however, a new regional consciousness began to develop.While São Paulo became entrenched as Brazil’s economic heartland and Brasília strengthened its position as the political hub, residents of Rio increasingly prided themselves on being the country’s cultural centre and Brazil’s most salient symbol to the rest of the world.Despite loss of the status, funding, and employment it had enjoyed as Brazil’s capital, Rio de Janeiro not only survived but thrived as a commercial and financial centre, as well as a tourist magnet.Area city, 485 square miles (1,255 square km); Greater Rio, 2,079 square miles (5,384 square km). (2000) 5,857,904; Greater Rio, 10,894,156; (2010) 6,320,446; Greater Rio, 11,875,063.
These mountains and hills are offshoots of the Serra do Mar to the northwest, an ancient gneiss-granite mountain chain that forms the southern slopes of the Brazilian Highlands.
The Centre (Centro), the core of Rio, lies on the plains of the western shore of Guanabara Bay.
The greater portion of the city—commonly referred to as the North Zone (Zona Norte)—extends to the northwest on plains composed of marine and continental sediments and on hills and several rocky mountains.
Perhaps at no time is the city’s festive reputation better displayed than during the annual pre-Lenten Carnival, which enlivens the city night and day with music, singing, parties, balls, and street parades of brilliantly costumed dancers performing to samba rhythms.
Rio is also an important economic centre, however, with activities ranging from industry and national and international trade to administration, banking, education, culture, and research.