Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps

Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón) : A Tragic Love Story

Selarón Steps
Selarón Steps cc licensed photo by Rogério Zgiet

The steps of Selarón situated on Rua Joaquim Silvia Selarón Lapa are to Rio what the Spanish steps are to Rome. Beautifully tiled with mosaic tiles and mirror, these 250 steps, measuring 125 metres long, are a true artistic feat requiring years of hard work and dedication.

In order to complete the work of art as it now stands more than 2,000 tiles collected from more than 60 countries were used. Despite its immense beauty the Escadaria Selarón is about more than just an artistic feat. It is a love story that ended in tragedy very befitting the Latin culture of love and tragedy. These steps truly are a must see when visiting Rio.

The story of Escadaria Selarón starts with a Chilean artist named Jorge Selarón who settled in Rio in 1983. After travelling the world and visiting 57 countries, he decided to call Rio home. This artist decided to begin with renovating the steps close to where he lived on a whim as the area was extremely run down and the grey steps an empty canvas for someone with an artistic eye. In the year 1990 Jorge began work on the steps, not having the funds to begin such a project he began to collect old tiles from construction sites and many other places in the area. As he soon ran out of tiles he funded his project by selling his paintings and sculptures. As he continued his work he accepted donations from passers-by and foreigners in order to complete his work. Many times his friends who travelled would bring back tiles that they collected for him from different countries.

Though he was first mocked by the people in the area for his use of greens, blues and yellows, the colours of the Brazilian flag he kept working on his solitary art piece which he called his tribute to the Brazilian people. What started out as an idea turned out to be an all-consuming passion, a labour of love for the country he had come to call home.

The steps soon became a tourist attraction as people came to see the artist working day and night on these steps. The work lasted more than 20 years before his dead body was found on the very steps named after him. Although an official cause of death has not been established it is speculated that he committed suicide brought on by depression.

Take a moment to look at the steps and speculate on Jorge's passion for the Brazilian people.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Address: R. Joaquim Silva, S/N - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20241-110, Brazil

Official Website: Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps

Directions

Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 - GreenGloria10 Minutes

How to get to Escadaria Selarón | Selaron Steps by Metro

Exit Gloria Station and walk north along Rua da Gloria which becomes Rua da Lapa. When you get to Rua Teotonio Regadas go left and follow it straight to the Selarón Steps which you should now see at end of the road.

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Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5

5 Star Rating Very close to "Arcos da Lapa" escadaria Selaron is a place absolutely interesting to visit in Rio. The art is at every single step of the long way stairs in the traditional bairro da Lapa. Worth to spend some time reading the special tiles and draws that came from different countries and now garnish the long way up the stairs.

Leandro Guimarães - 5 days ago

5 Star Rating Located next to the chamber music theatre Sala Cecília Meireles, Lapa Steps (Selarón’s Staircase) is a must-see on any walking tour of Rio's historic city centre. It is the work of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. Today this colourful tiled stairway is a world-famous attractions in Rio.

Claud C - 9 days ago

5 Star Rating The most famous stairs in Rio. The artist first only used tiles from Brazil, but then let people from all over the world donate tiles, mirrors, and ceramics so he could keep working on it. Go in the morning when it's not too hot! The area is not the nicest, so don't go there at night!

Ruben Glatt - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating This place is definitely worth visiting. It's a somewhat hidden alley, which makes it very authentic! You should go there early though (during the day) because it's not in a very nice area. Just be mindful of that (not worried), and enjoy!

David Tanamachi - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Where: Escadaria Selaron - Rio De Janeiro What: Decorated steps How was it: The steps were part of a personal project. Jorge Selaron, a Chilean born artist built this place one tile at a time. He tried to make this a better place and in our opinion was very successful. He was still alive when we went and we hoped to catch a glance. We were told that he would show up unannounced and make silly faces. Unfortunately we never saw him and found out that he passed away some years ago. His memory and legacy will live on. Such a nice place to visit. Grade: Eli = 5, Serge = 5+ Recommend: Yes, it's really cool to visit this place !

Discovering Destinations - 3 months ago

Video


Taking a close look at the famous Selarón Steps in Rio de Janeiro

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