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Brazil’s original jet-set destination prepares to become a global host.

 

BY MARK CHESNUT

 

If anything symbolizes the rebirth of Rio de Janeiro, it’s the construction site on Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana. On a prized beachfront corner of real estate, where prostitutes once click-clacked across the stone sidewalk in front of a legendary discotheque called Help, neatly dressed guides now greet visitors with details about the Museu da Imagem e do Som (Museum of Image & Sound), a soaring new piece of architecture that is to be completed next year.

 

This is one very visible example of how Rio is recasting itself as a tidy, culturally rich host for two massive global events: The 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. With billions of reais pouring into new hotels, attractions, infrastructure, transportation and safety-related projects, it may be difficult for visitors in the coming years not to notice the changes.

 

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