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 5Escadaria Selaron Star Rating

5 Star Rating Nice place a longer then i thought the actually go quite high and the is a nice wall painting of the Brazilian flag at the top. There is also side steps blocks with different designs on the walls on each side of the steps. Definitely worth a stop. Also try to go around 5pm as is the middle of the day there is way to many tourists it will be hard to get a nice picture there.

Samuel Frost - 9 days ago

5 Star Rating Cool place for tourists. The artwork is quite unique and it's interesting to look at everything as you walk up and down the stairs. While Rio is by no means the safest place on earth, I felt totally safe at the Lapa stairs.

Colin Shaw - 12 days ago

4 Star Rating The steps itself are awesome especially when you understand its history. Too bad the artist was killed and his body was found on the said steps. Now, be careful when going here. The neighborhood is SKETCHY to say the least. If you are traveling alone, make sure there are people around. Also, to beat the crowds go early like around 7am. I'm general, it is worth seeing but be careful.

Kiki Badru - 30 days ago

3 Star Rating Very unique to this location. The area gets vary crowded so make sure you get there early. Parking around or nearby is also not so convenient. It is best to get here using the public metro network which is pretty good. Just be careful with your valuables when going around nearby streets. The steps themselves are very colorful, its a short steep climb but nothing too fascinating except for seeing a representation of many different cultures from around the world on a tile among the many steps.

VJ - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating A must visit place when you are in Rio. You can walk up and down the streets and admire the countless mosaics or you can visit one of the neighborhood bars/restaurants. It's a clearly unique and clearly "Carioca" place. Come here early and prepare to wait to get your photo taken as you will be in the company of many others like you :)

Awesome Sauce - 1 month ago

Video


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

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