Below, an image of Maracanã in 1950; as shown, the Brazilians attended matches in the stadium even before it was completely ready. Original capacity of Maracanã was 166,369, and current is 114,145.
Maracanã is a name of Indigenous origin. Maraca is a rustic musical instrument (basically, small stones in empty coconut shelves, which produce sounds when shaken) used by the indigenous. Maracanã means “sounds like maraca”, which was given by the Indigenous to a small river which runs across the area, from there to the neighbourhood, and from the neighbourhood to the stadium.
The official name of Maracanã is Mário Filho, a journalist who was very vocal in supporting the building of the stadium.
Maracanazo is just one of the reasons why Maracanã will be the stage of the the final match of the 2014 World Cup; other cities – namely Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte – are disputing the right to stage the opening match, but nobody in Brazil dares to consider a place other than Maracanã for the final.
Other reasons for the uncontested supremacy of Maracanã are: gathered the biggest crowd ever for a football match (nearly 200,000 people in the final of the 1950 Cup); gathered the largest audience for an artistic show (Paul McCartney, 1991, 184,368 people – not to be confused with the largest rock concert of all times, performed by the Rolling Stones in the nearby Copacabana beach to 2,000,000 people in 2006); historical performances by Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Madonna, Prince, the Stones; historical meetings called by Pope John Paul II; several of the most memorable matches of Brazilian football (including Pele’s 1000th goal).
Below, an image of Maracanã today. The arena is Maracanãzinho (little Maracanã), used for indoor sports. The swimming pool is Aquatic Park Julio Delamare, which used to be the most important venue for aquatic sports, but no longer - a new complex called Maria Lenk replaced it (there are discussions about whether or not Julio Delamare should be demolished for the expansion of Maracanã).
The new Maracanã will have the capacity reduced to 90,000 people. Below, an artistic image of new Maracanã, produced by the architects hired by the government of Rio to prepare to project to be presented to FIFA.
Below, an image of the neighbourhood of new Maracanã. The stadium is situated in a populated area of Rio, and building the infrastructure of access to and dispersion from the stadium will be a major challenge.
In the project below, catwalks (in orange) will be built linking the stadium to a large train station to be built; besides, the stretch of railway near the stadium will be roofed, and parking spaces will be built on those roofs.