Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil, and is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere! There are 191million people in Brazil (it is the 5th largest country by population), and there are approximately 11 million people living in Rio de Janeiro.
According to the 2000 Census, 73.57% of the population is Roman Catholic. However, despite the large Catholic population, in recent years Protestantism (particularly Pentecostal Protestantism) has risen in Brazil, while the proportion of Catholics has dropped sharply.
The official language is Portuguese, which is virtually the only language used in all newspapers, TV, radio etc. Those travelling to Rio de Janeiro will need to learn a few basic Portuguese phrases, as a very small proportion of the population can understand English.
The most famous image of Rio de Janeiro is the Christ the Redeemer statue that stands on the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado Mountain, watching over the city. The statue officially became part of the Brazilian landscape on Oct. 12, 1931, and has just celebrated its 80th year standing on 12 October 2011. At the statue's feet is a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Apparition. Blessed John Paul II blessed Rio from the site in 1980, and Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the statue.
Rio de Janeiro will be hosting three international events over the next five years - the FIFA World Cup in 2014, the Summer Olympics in 2016, and of course World Youth Day, which will be held in July 2013.
The theme for WYD13 is: "Go and make disciples of all peoples" (Matthew 28:19).