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The core of the city of Rio de Janeiro is the Centre, and the core of its large metropolitan area is the South Zone.
The North Zone is a heavily populated industrial centre, while the now-accessible West Zone is the site of much of the city’s more recent growth.
It is located on the Atlantic Ocean, in the southeastern part of the tropical zone of South America, and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting urban centres.
Although Rio de Janeiro continues to be the preeminent icon of Brazil in the eyes of many in the world, in reality its location, architecture, inhabitants, and lifestyle make it highly unique when compared with other Brazilian cities, especially the country’s capital of Brasília or the much larger city of São Paulo.
Along the coast, the breeze, blowing alternately onshore and offshore, modifies the temperature.
The temperature varies according to elevation, distance from the coast, and type of vegetation.
But it is mostly in summer that strong showers may provoke catastrophic floods and landslides.
The mountainous areas register greater rainfall since they constitute a barrier to the humid wind that comes from the Atlantic.
The large West Zone (Zona Oeste), long cut off by the mountainous terrain, had been made accessible by new roads and tunnels by the end of the 20th century.
Although the region’s climate is generally tropical, hot, and humid, the climate of Greater Rio is strongly affected by its topography, its proximity to the ocean, and the shape of the Southern Cone of South America.