By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Most people in Rio know Glória for its world-famous marina, however, a few steps away from the water and a charming neighborhood reveals itself. A collection of old-fashioned streets, a magnificent church, some world famous museums, picturesque parks and a palace: this is Glória.
For those looking for a cultural fix, the MAM, or Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (Museum of Modern Art) is both spectacular inside and out. Designed by Affonso Eduardo Reidy, with gardens by Roberto Burle Marx, and looking like a giant, space-age millipede, the building is an architectural gem, and one of the finest examples of modernist architecture in Brazil.
Inside, the museum contains works by Picasso, Max Ernst, and Rodin along with many South American artists. Also just next door to the museum is Vivo Rio, one of the premier concert venues in the city, which plays host to renowned international and domestic acts.
On the other end of the architectural scale is Glória’s eponymous church, Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro (Church of Our Lady of Glory on the hill) a wonderful example of 17th century Portuguese-inspired architecture. Walking up the hill to the church is worth the climb, as both the recently restored church and the accompanying view are breathtaking.
Something that residents seem to love about Glória is its unbeatable location. Claudio Muñoz Debia, a psychologist who recently moved to the neighborhood, commented, “It’s close enough to the city center and also within walking distance from the [Flamengo] beach, supermarkets, schools, banks and a market on Sundays where you can grab a nice tapioca for brunch.”
Glória’s Sunday market is one of the most renowned in the entire city, offering organic produce, freshly-cooked food and live samba music. Debia summed up the area as “a combination between family life and a bohemian-cultural way of life.”
Besides the excellent street market, culinary enthusiasts won’t be disappointed by Glória’s restaurants. Casa da Suica is one of the most original restaurants in the city, offering high-standard Swiss and central European food (including an excellent fondue) in a quirky, old-world setting. Severyna is another restaurant that serves expertly cooked food at reasonable prices, specializing in traditional North-Eastern Brazilian cuisine.
Security is always an issue in Rio and especially as one moves toward Centro and away from the wealthier, more policed areas. However Glória has benefited from the installation of a Public Order Unit (UOP) in 2012, which patrols the neighborhood as part of the Operação Choque de Ordem (Operation Shock and Order).
Through Rio’s recent real estate ups and downs, Glória has remained a less expensive option than the Zona Sul (South Zone) neighborhoods, and this remains true, with current prices at around R$8,950 per square meter to buy, and R$31.40 per square meter to rent.
R$680,000 will get a 75m² two-bedroom apartment on Rua Candido Mendes, complete with balcony, one parking space, plus access to a private swimming pool, sauna and children’s playground.
R$1,800 per month will be enough for a 49m² two-bedroom apartment with additional garage parking; this apartment is located on Rua Benjamin Constant, within close proximity to the Metro station.