Hey there, guys! What does morro mean in Portuguese? If you have ever visited Rio de Janeiro, you have probably been to a morro. So, let’s learn the word morro meaning and some famous morros in Rio de Janeiro: Morro da Urca, Dois Irmãos, Babilônia, Dona Marta, Pão de Açúcar e Corcovado.
What is the Meaning of Morro?
A morro is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain, but not very tall and not very steep. The difference between a morro and a mountain is its size and shape. The mountain is tall, and its shape is peaked, however, the morro is lower and has a smooth shape.
Although the geographical is straight forward, the usage in daily Portuguese isn’t. Many people use the word morro to refer to favelas, even though both terms are not synonyms. You might hear a Brazilian, for example, say “Eu sou do morro” (I am from the morro), which refers to the fact this person comes from a favela. So, even if not all morros are favelas, we can actually say every favela is a morro. Simple, right?
The most famous examples of morro here in Rio de Janeiro are Morro Pão de Açúcar and Morro Corcovado, where Cristo Redentor is. Did you know we have many activities in our RioLIVE! that can take you to these morros? It’s an easy and fit way to learn Portuguese with our amazing native teachers!
Examples of Morros in Rio de Janeiro
You must have heard about Morro Dois Irmãos where you can find Vidigal. Or you must have heard about Morro Dona Marta, where you can find Favela Santa Marta. Every morro in Rio de Janeiro has amazing views that are breathtaking. However, the most interesting part in all is who those views belong to: the poorer people in our city, the ones living in communities called favelas. Anywhere else in the world to have a house with such view would cost millions, but in Rio those people don’t pay much for it. Interesting reverse of roles, right?
Let’s check out more about some famous morros in Rio de Janeiro.
Morro da Babilônia
Morro da Babilônia is a morro located between the neighborhoods of Botafogo, Urca, Leme and Copacabana. It was named this way because the Portuguese during colonization thought that the view from this morro resembled the descriptions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This hill is home to two favelas: Babilônia favela and Chapéu Mangueira favela.
Morro da Urca
Morro da Urca in fact it is officially called Natural Monument of Morros do Pão de Açúcar and Urca. It is in Urca neighborhood, and is also home to Pão de Açúcar, which has a cable car with an incredible view of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It is one of those must-do tours when visiting the city. On the top of Pão de Açúcar, there are many stores and restaurants so you can enjoy the view while having some fun! Yu can visit both Urca neighborhood and Pão de Açúcar during our RioLIVE! activities!
Morro Dona Marta
Morro Dona Marta is a morro located between the neighborhoods of Botafogo, Flamengo, Laranjeiras, Cosme Velho and Silvestre. Favela Santa Marta is located in it. But why is the morro called Dona Marta? Around 1680, a priest named Clemente bought land in the region and named the morro in honor of his mother, Marta. But Dona Marta is notoriously known for being the background to Michael Jackson’s music video “They don’t care about us” in 1996. The music video brought much recognition to Dona marta, and impacted their community so much they raised a statue of Michael Jackson there!
If you want to know more, we have an incredible RioLIVE! that happens on weekends to get to know this incredible community that is Favela Dona Marta!
Morro do Corcovado
Morro do Corcovado is located in the Forest of Tijuca. It is probably the most famous hill in Rio de Janeiro since it contains the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of it. Did you know our Christ the Redeemer was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? If you are curious, Corcovado means hunchback in Portuguese. Why don’t you learn more about this city postcard in our RioLIVE!?
Morro Dois Irmãos
Morro Dois Irmãos, finally, is our last morro. It is located in Vidigal neighborhood and even taller than Pão de Açúcar! This morro is very famous for its hiking trail, which is also one of our RioLIVE! activities. During the hike, a very famous spot is a sculpture by Oscar Niemeyer, the most famous architect in Brazil’s history. The park’s vegetation includes endangered species, including orchids and various types of bromeliads. But the main aspect of this morro is the view: some might say it’s the most beautiful view you can have from Rio de Janeiro city. And it’s interesting to think how this view belongs to people from the favela, right?
Now we know the meaning of morro in Portuguese. So, are you ready to hike while speaking in Portuguese?
You’re all invited!