You may find it surprising when you visit Rio de Janeiro that people suggest you visit Escadeira Selaron. Why should someone visit some steps? Well, as you will see when visit, these are not simply a set of steps. They are a mosaic masterpiece which is quickly becoming an iconic piece of art representative of Rio. In fact, the walking tours of Rio have added this spot to their itineraries because of its popularity.
What Are They
The Selaron Stairs are a set of 215 stairs connecting the Rio neighborhoods of Santa Teresa and Lapa. As Lapa is a hub of artistry in Rio, it is fitting that these artistic steps lead the way into the neighborhood. Each step was crafted with colorful tiles by a Chilean artist, Jorge Selaron, who claimed Brazil as home. He started working on the stairs, which were dilapidated and not pleasant looking, in the early 1990s and continued to work on them until his death in 2013.
Why They Matter
Now, a popular tourist attraction, the Selaron Stairs are becoming a symbolic for Rio de Janeiro and have been featured on television multiple times. But, besides their unique qualities, the history of the stairs is why they matter to the community.
The artist, Jorge Selaron, lived at a house right beside the stairs. After he decided to beautify the stairs with tiles, it became his life’s work. He could be seen working on the stairs daily and would talk to those who visited about his life and his work. He even added in tiles to the mosaic that people brought him. As an artist, he struggled to pay his bills, but he never stopped working on the staircase.
The Selaron Stairs were an evolving piece of art until his death in 2013. The sad irony is that his body was found on the stairs. Since his death, the Selaron Stairs have only gain more attention leading to more free tours in Rio de Janeiro making stops to learn their special history.