—  Municipality  —
The Municipality of Niterói
View of Icaraí Beach


Nickname(s): Cidade Sorriso (Smile City)
Location of Niterói
Coordinates: 22°52′58″S 43°06′14″W / 22.88278°S 43.10389°W / -22.88278; -43.10389
Country Brazil
Region Southeast
State Rio de Janeiro
Founded 22 November 1573
Incorporated 1835
 – Mayor Jorge Roberto Silveira (PDT)
 – Municipality 129.38 km2 (50 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2010)[1]
 – Municipality 487,327
 – Density 3,684.4/km2 (9,542.6/sq mi)
 – Metro 11,620,000 As part of the Rio de Janeiro City's metropolitan region
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
 – Summer (DST) UTC-2 (UTC-2)
Postal Code 24000-000
Area code(s) +55 21
Website Niterói, Rio de Janeiro

Niterói (Portuguese pronunciation: [niteˈɾɔj])is a municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro, southeast region of Brazil. It has an estimated population of 487,327 inhabitants (2010) and an area of 129.375 km (80.39 mi) ², being the sixth most populous city in the state and the highest Human Development Index. Integrates the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro. The city has the nicknames of Niquiti and the Smile City. Studies by the Getulio Vargas Foundation in June 2011 classified Niterói as the richest city of Brazil, owning 30.7% of the population included in class A. Considering the classes A and B, Niterói also appears in the first place, with 42.9% of the population entered in these classes. The word "Niterói" comes from the Tupi language and means water that hides. This city was founded on November 22, 1573 by the Tupi Amerindian chief Araribóia (who later was converted to Roman Catholicism and given the Christian name of Martim Afonso, after the Portuguese explorer Martim Afonso de Sousa). It makes Niteroi the only Brazilian city to have been founded by a non-Christian, non-assimilated Brazilian Amerindian.[2]

The Brazilian Niterói class of naval frigates is named after the city.



Following the expulsion of French settlers from Rio de Janeiro in 1567 by Estácio de Sá (the so-called France Antarctique episode), the Portuguese crown began noticing that the bay of Rio de Janeiro would make a strategic scale for the Atlantic route of ships from Portugal to its colonies in Africa and Asia, as well an important advanced bridgehead for the defense of South Brazil. Fortresses were built and an alliance was formed with nearby native Tupi-Guarani tribes to defend the settlement against other European invaders.

Araribóia, the chief of one of these allied tribes - the Temininós - requested from the Portuguese General-Governor of Brazil, Mem de Sá, a tract of land; his request was granted, and he was rewarded with the region called "Banda D'Além" (the land beyond), in the eastern side of the bay, from River Marui to the Red Barriers between Gragoata and Boa Viagem beaches.[3] This area corresponded to what is nowadays the northwestern part of the county of Niterói, which includes the central and northern zones of its urban area. There, in the "Land Beyond", Araribóia founded the Village of Saint Lawrence of the Indians (in Portuguese, Vila de São Lourenço dos Índios), the embryo for the future city of Niterói, a Tupi name that means "Hidden Waters".

The village was visited by the king of Portugal, John VI, in 1816, who also decreed its emancipation from Rio de Janeiro on May 10, 1819 and gave the new-created county a new name, Vila Real da Praia Grande (Royal Village of Long Beach).

In 1834, the city of Rio de Janeiro, capital of the newly established Empire of Brazil, was detached from the rest of the province of Rio de Janeiro; Vila Real da Praia Grande was then chosen as the new capital of that province, while the city of Rio de Janeiro itself was converted into a neutral county, following the Ato Adicional. Niteroi served the function of capital till the year of 1975 - except for the period between 1894 and 1903 when it was temporarily transferred to the city of Petrópolis).

Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed to Niterói on March 6, 1835 after the Tupi Nictheroy (hidden waters). This old spelling persisted until the mid-20th century, when the current spelling - Niterói - was adopted.

In 1890, the Brazilian provinces began being called states and the neutral county (Rio de Janeiro city) had its status changed to Federal District (or simply DF, the Brazilian acronym for Distrito Federal). Following the transference of Brazil's capital to Brasilia DF in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro was made into a small, one-county state, named state of Guanabara. This state was finally absorbed by the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1975; since then, Niteroi lost its condition of the state's capital in favor of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

A circus fire in the city killed 323 people in December, 17 1961; the fire was later found to have been deliberately set by disgruntled circus employees.

On April 8, 2010; the mudslide triggered due to heavy rainfall cost at least 200 lives. At least 11,000 people were forced to flee homes due to further mudslides.[4]

See more information about Niterói History on [1]


Itacoatiara Beach.

By the time of its emancipation, the urban area of Niteroi corresponded to its central zone and São Domingos only. The south zone - Icarai, Santa Rosa, Vital Brazil - began being urbanized in 1841, when the Santa Rosa farm was divided into estates, while Jurujuba evolved from an old fishermen colony. São Francisco and Charitas, sites named after the Catholic Church built in honor to Saint Francis by the Jurujuba cove, remained sparsely populated till about 1940. As for the northern zone of Niteroi, its urbanization began in the late 19th century, when a tramway was inaugurated, allowing the expansion of the city to north and northeast, as well boosting the urban growth of the neighbour county of São Gonçalo do Amarante.

The realm of Itaipu - a former vast zone of farming lands and forests west to Niteroi - was annexed to the county in 1943. It has lost its countryside traits and its urban population has grown fast since the late 1960s.

In the early 20th century, Niteroi started its industrialization boom.


Night view.

Niteroi is a modern city, with modern buildings and four main shopping malls. Its economy is centered on its trading and commerce services, like imobiliary corporations, graphic design, web design and publicity. It also hosts industries of food (especially seafood), clothes, caldle, marine objects; its negative point is that its transports depend on a small port and scarce options of roads, if compared to Rio de Janeiro.

The city is located 25 minutes away from Rio de Janeiro's downtown region. Niteroi boasts the title of second richest city in the state, after Rio.[5]

The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the city's main landmark, was designed by the famous Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. The landscape of the central urban area of the city is dominated by a high cylindric building though, the Niterói Tower, that hosts different professional offices and belongs to the Niterói Shopping Mall.

Niteroi has other three big shopping malls besides the Niterói Shopping Mall: the Plaza Shopping, the Itaipu Multi Center and the Baymarket. This last one occupies the former area of the Sandiz department store, demolished in the mid-1990s.


Museum of Contemporary Art.

Niteroi is 14 km (8.7 mi) distant from Rio de Janeiro city, to which it is linked by the Rio-Niterói bridge and two ferry-boat services. The quality of life in Niteroi is considered one of the best (3rd place) among 5,600 Brazilian cities, according to UN indexes.


Niteroi is the seat of the Fluminense Federal University, one of the most important research centers in Brazil.[6] It does have other colleges such as ISE La Salle and Candido Mendes University.

Catholic schools, mainly La Salle Institute and São Vicente de Paulo, are the most traditional elementary and high schools of the city. Other important schools are Pedro II, Assunção, Gay Lussac, the Salesian High School, ETE - Henrique Lage (a.k.a. Faetec), pH, MV1, Colégio M3 and Oswaldo Cruz Institute.

Niterói has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) and best level of literacy in the State of Rio de Janeiro.[7]


São Francisco Beach.

Current mayor of Niterói is Jorge Roberto Silveira of the Democratic Labour Party was elected in 2008 for a four-year term.

Administrative divisions

The Administrative Regions of Niterói (pre-1990)

From 1943 to the late 1970s, the county of Niteroi comprised two districts only: the district of Niteroi (original area) and the district of Itaipu (acquired in 1943), which barely had an urban continuity or even proper road links to each other and were considered apart areas. The fractioning of Itaipu's farms into real estates as well its imobiliary boom after the building of the Rio-Niterói's bridge demanded a better integration between the two sides of the county which led to the improving of the roads and urban facilities and a reformation on the make up of Niteroi's administrative division. The county was reorganised into five districts. In the early 1990s, the administrative division of Niterói was altered once again, being the county now divided into twelve administrative, further subdivided into 48 neighborhoods.

  • Piratininga
  • Ponta d'Areia
  • Rio do Ouro
  • Santa Bárbara
  • Santana
  • Santa Rosa
  • São Domingos
  • São Francisco
  • São Lourenço
  • Sapê
  • Tenente Jardim
  • Várzea das Moças
  • Viçoso Jardim
  • Vila Progresso
  • Viradouro
  • Vital Brazil

Notable people from Niterói

Indian Rock.
Santa Cruz Fortress.


Gymnastic formation squad of Niteroi

External links

Coordinates: 22°53′00″S 43°06′13″W / 22.8833333°S 43.10361°W / -22.8833333; -43.10361

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