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Rio’s Jubilant Escadaria Selarón

“I will only end this mad and singular dream on the last day of my life.” – Jorge Selarón

The Escadaria Selarón in Rio de Janeiro, are Chilean born artist Jorge Selarón’s jubilant “tribute to the Brazilian people.”

The 215 steps along Rua Manuel Carneiro, in Selarón’s own neighbourhood of Lapa, are covered with more than 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries. He began by covering the stairs in a mosaic of blue, green and yellow to match the Brazilian flag, but eventually expanded to include mirrors, donated ceramics and 300+ tiles of a pregnant African woman he painted himself.

As flamboyant as the staircase himself, Selarón, with his sweeping handlebar moustache, could often be found chatting and posing with tourists who had come from all over the world to visit his famous steps.

In 2013, the year after we visited the Escadaria ourselves, Selarón’s body was mysteriously discovered on the very stairs he had dedicated his whole life to decorating. He was 65 years old.

How to Get There: The closest Metro station is Cinelandia. Once there, ask a local how to get to the Escadaria Selarón. It’s a 5 minute walk away.


Have you been to Rio de Janeiro? Did you visit the Escadaria Selarón? Would you be happy if your neighbourhood became a tourist attraction?

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’ve always heard and seen about the vibrant Rio; maybe someday I’ll go there. Love the colorful photos; make me want to see more of your work.

    Following you now. Have a great day! 🙂

    May 23, 2016
    • Welcome! 🙂 Rio is one of our favourite places in the whole world. It’s so naturally beautiful with friendly people, good food and lots to do. Would definitely love to go back and visit again one day.

      May 24, 2016
  2. I love the cute cats on the steps!

    May 23, 2016
    • There were so many cats hanging out on the steps…one with these incredibly beautiful blue eyes. I loved taking pics of them…and the colourful stairs were an amazing backdrop. 🙂

      May 24, 2016
  3. I’ve never heard of these steps or the artist, but the staircase is awesome – the definition of jubilant! I’m going to google him now and see what might have happened to him … my curiosity is piqued.

    May 24, 2016
    • I’m not sure if they ever really discovered what happened, but I read he was receiving death threats in his final days. Scary and sad. 🙁 Do you remember the song “Beautiful,” by Snoop and Pharrell? The stairs are featured in that music video.

      May 24, 2016
      • I just saw that in my massive Google-fest on this topic! So sad for him, but what a beautiful legacy.

        May 24, 2016
  4. brilliant colours, very Brazillian

    June 1, 2016

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