The construction of a large stadium in Rio de Janeiro's city center was decided to host the 1950 World Cup. The stadium was initially called 'Municipal'. Construction got approved by the President of the Republic 'Eurico Gaspar Dutra' and was greatly supported by the journalist 'Mário Filho' to whom the stadium was officially dedicated in 1964. However, the stadium has always been nicknamed 'Maracanã'. This nickname derives from a small river in the stadium's neighborhood which is subsequently derived from a typical Brazilian parrot.
The Maracanã Stadium got into global soccer history after the incredible 1950 World Cup final which Uruguay surprisingly won against home team Brazil in front of 200 000 fans, both official and unofficial (many people succeeded to illegally run into the stadium). This figure represents the largest crowd ever to attend a soccer match in history. After the game, desperation ruled all over the country and several people even committed suicide!
After it was constructed, the Maracanã Stadium was the biggest stadium in the world and today it is still famous for its imposing elliptical framework which is almost circular. The stadium is characterized by two large rings of tiers laid down around the entire playing field. During the fifties, it was not only one of the most luxurious stadium in the world, but it was also well known for its functionality and security. Two large external flights connect the upper tiers of the stadium with the surrounding park and guarantee a fast evacuation of the stadium.
The stadium was projected by the architects Rafael Galvão, Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos, Orlando Azevedo and Antônio Dias Carneiro. From outside, the stadium doesn't look as imposing as one would expect. The maximum height is only 24 meters (78 feet). However, the facades are characterized by a solid and reinforced concrete structure that contains 60 big pillars in 'Y' shape. These pillars follow the stadium's elliptical perimeter and heighten to sustain the supporting beams.
Although the Maracanã Stadium was greatly renovated at the end of the nineties with the consequence that the total capacity dropped significantly, the stadium still remains as one of the most important temples in the world of soccer.
© by Angelo Spampinato