Instituto Moreira Salles
Follow the winding road out of the top of Horto and after a 20-minute drive a sharp hairpin reveals the striking form of a Chinese-style pagoda and a breathtaking view out towards Sugarloaf and the Lagoa enjoyed in equal measure by stoners, young couples, old romantics and a hefty dose of cyclists and downhill skateboarders. Built in 1903, the name derives from the Chinese immigrants who were brought to the city to help get the nascent tea farming culture off the ground. The industry, intended to produce another lucrative source of trade with Europe, died something of a death after the tea's flavour was roundly dismissed, and a second attempt at a plantation in Santa Cruz also failed.
Today the point is merely one of natural beauty, a rich source of inspiration for photographers and artists, as well as a popular route for the more extreme-minded skater. Safety has improved considerably over the last few years, but it is still worth remembering that thieves have been known to take advantage of the isolated spot to find potential targets.
27 Mar 2013.