Sugarloaf Mountain (Portuguese: Pão de Açúcar pronounced [ˈpɐ̃w̃ d͡ʒi aˈsukaʁ]) is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 m (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. It is known worldwide for its cableway and panoramic views of the city and beyond.
|Elevation||396 m (1,299 ft)|
Location in Rio de Janeiro
|Location||Rio de Janeiro|
The mountain is one of several monolithic granite and quartz mountains that rise straight from the water's edge around Rio de Janeiro. Geologically it is considered part of a family of steep-sided rock outcroppings known as non-inselberg bornhardts.
The mountain is protected by the Sugarloaf Mountain and Urca Hill Natural Monument, created in 2006. This became part of a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2012.
Origins of the name
The name Sugarloaf was coined in the 16th century by the Portuguese during the heyday of sugarcane trade in Brazil. According to historian Vieira Fazenda, blocks of sugar were placed in conical molds made of clay to be transported on ships. The form of the peak reminded them of the well-known resulting "sugarloaf" shape, and the nickname has since been extended to be a general descriptor for formations of this kind.
A glass-walled cable car (bondinho or, more formally, teleférico), capable of holding 65 people, runs along a 1,400 m (4,600 ft) route between the peaks of Sugarloaf and Morro da Urca every 20 minutes. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972–73 and in 2008. The cable car goes from a ground station, at the base of Morro da Babilônia, to Morro da Urca and thence to Sugarloaf's summit.
Reaching the summit
To reach the summit, passengers take two cable cars. The first ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca, 220 m (722 ft) high. The second car ascends to Pão de Açúcar. The Swiss-made bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360° views of the surrounding city. The ascent takes three minutes from start to finish.
- 1907 – Brazilian engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos had the idea of linking the hills through a path in the air.
- 1910 – The same engineer founded the Society of Sugar Loaf and the same year the works were started. The project was commissioned in Germany and built by Brazilian workers. All parts were taken by climbing mountains or lifted by steel cables.
- 1912 – Opening of the tram, first lift of Brazil: The first cable cars were made of coated wood and were used for 61 years.
- 1973 – The current models of cars were put into operation. This increased the carrying capacity by almost ten times.
- 2009 – Inauguration of the next generation of cable cars that had already been purchased and are on display at the base of Red beach
Visitors can watch rock climbers on Sugarloaf and the other two mountains in the area, Morro da Babilônia and Morro da Urca. Together, they form one of the largest urban climbing areas in the world, with more than 270 routes, between 1 and 10 pitches long.
Appearances in media
- Flying Down to Rio (1933) Starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The beachside Hotel Atlântico has views across the bay looking toward Sugarloaf Mountain.
- Now, Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis.
- In the 1979 James Bond film, Moonraker, the villainous henchman Jaws (played by Richard Kiel) attempts to kill 007 (Roger Moore) and the agent's ally, Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), on a cable car. However, Bond and Goodhead escape and Jaws collides with the building at the bottom of the cable car route, demolishing the building, but escaping unscathed.
- Herb Alpert recorded a song titled "Sugarloaf" for his 1982 album Fandango.
- In The Simpsons episode "Blame It on Lisa", Homer's kidnappers meet with the rest of the family for the exchange between two cable cars.
- In the Hey Arnold! episode "The Journal", Arnold's parents Miles and Stella are traveling on the cable car up to the mountain's peak when one of the cables snaps. The couple works together to help save the lives of fellow tourists.
- In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, this mountain can be seen on the "Favela" map.
- In the Nintendo Wii version of Need for Speed: Nitro, a drag race takes place near this mountain.
- In the film Rio, the mountain can be seen several times throughout the film.
- Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), starring Jason Statham. At the beginning of the film Arthur Bishop (Statham) is attacked at a restaurant on Morro da Urca and escapes on the roof of a cable car.
- Monumento Natural dos Morros do Pão de Açúcar e da Urca (in Portuguese), SMAC: Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente, retrieved 2017-01-15
- Allaby, Michael (2010). A Dictionary of Ecology (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-19-956766-9.
- Lonely Planet: Rio de Janeiro, page 76, Ricardo Gomes, John Maier Jr et al., 2006, Lonely Planet Publications, ISBN 1-74059-910-1
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sugarloaf Mountain.|
- Official website
— (in Portuguese) (in English) (in Spanish)