Escadaria Selarón Mosaic Steps – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Atlas Obscura

Escadaria Selarón Mosaic Steps

A 125-meter long "tribute to the Brazilian people." 


Begun in 1990 this project, known as Rua Manuel Carneiro, consists of 250 steps topping out at 125 meters. Jorge Selarón, a painter and sculptor originally from Chile, arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1983. He began renovating the dilapidated steps outside of his home on a whim but it quickly became a consuming process for which he would sell his paintings to fund the mosaic. The steps themselves are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world.

Since their completion in the early 2000s, the steps have garnered international attention from magazines such as National Geographic and Time, and have become a major tourist attraction. For years, Selarón often could be found hanging around the steps in his trademark red clothes and hats, treating visitors to colorful anecdotes and unfazed by this worldwide popularity. Tragically, Selarón was found dead on his namesake steps under mysterious circumstances in 2013 at age 65, but his colorful and beloved legacy remains.

Know Before You Go

Running from Rua Joaquim Silva to Rua Pinto Martins. Walking distance from the Lapa neighborhood and the famous Arches

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