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

Open Now: Yes! Some attractions may restrict entry prior to their closing time.

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours
  • Sunday: Open 24 hours

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

Phone: (21) 96437-2680

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

2 Star Rating It's beautiful looking, and a cool concept with a rich interesting history. But at the end of the day it's just a pretty staircase. The surrounding neighborhood feels a little intimidating if you're a foreigner, and it's a bit out of the way. Good photo opportunities.

Jacob Carewick - 12 days ago

5 Star Rating I loved this place! Is a huge mosaic of Seleron! There are a lot of people and you have to be alert to win a turn and take a photo on the stairs. It is advisable to go in hours where there are sun and people.

José Crespo - 13 days ago

5 Star Rating I have so much love for this place. The quality of work that went into the steps. I respect the person responsible. Lovely and colourful event happening here. It's a must visit for anyone in Brazil. Easy to get here by buses and quite affordable. Wear flag shoes. It's a bit of a walk.

Sizakele Majola - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating The story behind this work of art is itself so beautiful that makes the visit all worthwhile. Make sure to pay attention to each tile if you can and you will understand how important this monument is. Truly remarkable. Just don't go up too late at night and don't mind the odd pot smoker.

Thiago Bertolo - 2 months ago

Video


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

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