The most famous gateway to the Amazon and its river is the city of Manaus. A city known for its opera house, it was once one of the richest cities in the world and during the rubber boom — between 1890 and 1920 — was responsible for nearly all the rubber produced in the world. Many of the trappings from that period, including the Teatro Amazonas, can still be seen and admired throughout a city that was considered at the time to be the “Paris of the jungle.”
Such is the size of the Amazon River that although it is located over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the Atlantic, Manaus is still a regular port of call for the world’s largest cruise ships, ships that also stop along the way at Belém and Santarém. And while Manaus is just 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Belem by river, should you chose to drive, the distance by road will be 3,330 miles (5,434 km).
Over 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil and it covers nearly half of the Brazilian territory. It is responsible for supplying over half of the planet’s oxygen and for hosting a tenth of the world’s 10 million living species and over 30 per cent of all known plant and animal species, including an estimated 1,800 species of birds, 250 different mammals and a similar diversity of animal and insect life. The river itself is home to an estimated 2,000 different types of fish.
For all of that, the Amazon, one of Brazil’s most iconic destinations, still remains relatively uncharted and untouched. It is a place where new discoveries are still being made on a regular basis.
One thing missing in Manaus, until now, was a decent stadium. The 42,000 seater Arena Amazonia has been built especially for the World Cup with an appearance of a straw basket typical of the region. The new stadium, which has been designed to attract major concerts and shows after the World Cup, will host four games during the tournament including one of the picks of the group stage, England x Italy.
Arena Amazonia – Schedule:
Saturday, 14 June, 18.00 (England x Italy)
Wednesday, 18 June, 18.00 (Croatia x Cameroon)
Sunday, 22 June, 18.00 (Portugal x USA)
Wednesday, 25 June, 16.00 (Switzerland x Honduras)