The Beauty of World Cup Host Brazil in Photos

Gearing up for the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, get a glimpse of the people, places and culture of the host city.

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A performer from the Unidos de Vila Isabel samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Rio de Janeiro's samba schools vied for the title of the year's best in an over-the-top, all-night-long Carnival parade at the city's iconic Sambadrome. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
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Residents and tourists play soccer on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
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With all eyes on Rio de Janeiro as it gets set to host the FIFA 2014 World Cup, take a look at the places, people, and culture if this spectacular city. Perhaps most iconic to Rio de Janeiro is its magnificent "Christ The Redeemer" statue, right, pictured here beside the Sugar Loaf mountain, right back. Click through for more photos.
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From 1931 until 2010, the "Christ the Redeemer" statue was the largest Art Deco statue in the world, eclipsed in 2010 by Poland's "Christ the King Statue.
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A giant replica of a Brazilian national soccer team's shirt, that reads in Portuguese 'The 2014 World Cup is ours', hangs from one side of the Sugar Loaf mountain, left, in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil was confirmed by FIFA's executive committee as host of the 2014 World Cup, returning the showcase event to the soccer-mad country that held the tournament in 1950 and has captured the title a record five times.
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Rio's Carnival, a city-wide festival held in the days before Lent is one of Rio's best-known traditions. A performer from the Unidos da Tijuca samba school parades on a float during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro.
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Carnival attracts locals, tourists, and also the occasional star. Brazilian-born global celebrities include Homeland actress Morena Baccarin, Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio, and perhaps Brazil's most famous supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, seen here dancing on a Vila Isabel samba school float during carnival celebrations in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.
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Another famous Brazilian beauty, Camila Alves, seen with Matthew McConaughey at the carnival parade at the Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, 2009.
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Another top model from Brazil is Adriana Lima. The FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, right, welcomes Lima, a draw assistant during the draw for the 2013 soccer Confederations Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2012.
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Dancers of Sao Clemente samba school parade during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome.
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A performer from the Sao Clemente samba school is tossed in the air during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome.
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The 'Alto Vidigal' guest house in the Vidigal slum in Rio de Janeiro. Rio is one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world, and travelers often seek alternative accommodations in some of the city's pacified shantytowns.
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The bridge at Parque Lage is a half-mile away from the also-gorgeous but not free Jardim Botanico, or Botanical Gardens.
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People are shown outside of the Beco do Rato bar in the Lapa neighborhood of Rio.
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Hotels and apartment buildings line the Copacabana beach shore.
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A view of the cobblestones on "Rua do Ouvidor", or Ouvidor street, one of the best preserved examples of the Portuguese colonial architecture in Rio de Janeiro. The two little cobblestone streets in the area, Rua do Ouvidor and Rua do Rosario, are among the best preserved examples of the Portuguese colonial architecture.
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The entrance of the Paco Imperial or Royal Palace, the home where the Portuguese royal family settled when they fled Europe just ahead of Napoleon's advancing troops.
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Lightning lights up the the sky over Sugar Loaf mountain.
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People enjoy jumping into the water from Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro.
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A sunset view of the Vista Chinesa, or Chinese View, inside the Parque Nacional da Tijuca, or Tijuca national park.The most visited national park in Brazil, this nearly 10,000-square-acre expanse of forest embedded in Rio de Janeiro is what allows this densely populated city to breathe. There are trails of various lengths and levels of difficulty carved through the forest, leading up to peaks with stunning views of the city below.
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Men play a popular local game known as 'altinho' on the Barra de Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 2, 2014. Altinho is played with a soccer ball on the beach. The goal is not to let the ball drop, but passing to other players while keeping it airborne.
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A couple enjoys walking along the Ipanema beach at night in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
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An aerial view of England's national soccer team training session in progress at the Urca military base near Copacabana beach is seen, Monday, June 9, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. England play in group D of the 2014 soccer World Cup.
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Pictured in this scenic view from the Morro Dois Irmaos or Two Brothers Mountain are Ipanema beach, right, the Lagoa neighborhood, center, and the Corcovado Mountain, left, where Christ the Redeemer statue stands, as the day begins to dawn in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, May 17, 2014.
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A man washes the sand off his foot in Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema beach, Brazil, Monday, June 9, 2014. The 2014 Word Cup soccer tournament is set to begin in just a few days, with Brazil and Croatia playing in the opening match on June 12.
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Argentines play soccer at Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema beach, Brazil, Monday, June 9, 2014. Argentine soccer fans began arriving to Rio, where their national soccer team will play the first match on June 15 against Bosnia.
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German street artist Florian Timm, 27, creates giant soap bubbles on the Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
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Tourists enjoy the sun set on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
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