Even watching this parade can’t prepare you for the breath-taking spectacle of Carnival

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The Marquês de Sapucaí Sambadrome

Samba for everyone!

It’s difficult to imagine this place empty. Its popularity is thanks to one season of the year, when more than 50,000 spectators fill out the stands to watch the city’s best Samba Schools show off their talents. For the rest of the time it is a pretty soulless building, more than 500 metres in length, designed by the multifaceted Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It was unveiled in 1984 and included the incorporation of a Carnival Museum. This museum contains a tremendous amount of photographs, which look back at the history of the Samba Schools and their famous parade. Also known as the Samba Museum, it explains, amongst many other things, that the schools are named after their community and are, themselves, responsible for organising the participation of their members in the Carnival. It also looks at the logistics of the parades that take place in the Sambadrome. These normally last more than one hour, always sticking to the same order: with the members of the school at the front, then the float, the ceremony master, the flag bearer and finally the singers. In some cases, the size of this procession can exceed 5,000 members.

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