Rio wins world heritage status
Rio de Janeiro's landscape, marked by soaring granite facades that drop into the ocean and white-sand beaches that go on for miles, is now an official world heritage site, Unesco announced.
The UN's Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation gave Rio the title in recognition of the unique way its exuberant natural setting blends with the urban landscape.
Rio has great waterfront open spaces, and one of the world's largest forested areas encompassed entirely within an urban setting: the Tijuca National Park.
The designation mentioned several key features that have shaped and inspired the city's development: the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain, the Botanical Gardens, established in 1808 by the Portuguese emperor, and Copacabana, a vast bay bracketed by granite hills and hemmed by a white-sanded beach.
These elements "have contributed to the outdoor living culture of this spectacular city", Unesco said, adding that "Rio de Janeiro is also recognised for the artistic inspiration it has provided to musicians, landscapers and urbanists".
Some of the elements mentioned in the decree have been well kept, but others, such as Botafogo Bay, at the foot of Sugar Loaf mountain, have been degraded by pollution over decades.