Eyesore and Landmark in One

Rio's Maracana Stadium is a sight to behold but to reach it, fans will have to cross a building known as the Aldeia Maracana and this is not a sight at all.

updated: June 15, 2014 20:29 IST
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Rio de Janeiro: Rotting, crumbling, covered in graffiti, overrun by weeds, the hulking wreck of a building known as the Aldeia Maracana would make an unsightly addition to any neighborhood.

But it happens to stand next to Rio's Maracana Stadium, the soccer cathedral that will host some of the World Cup's most important matches, including the final. To get to the stadium, tens of thousands of fans will have to pass the Aldeia Maracana's ruined walls, now unattractively shielded by a 10-foot mesh fence. If the Maracana is the celebrated face of Brazilian soccer, the Aldeia Maracana is the scab on its nose.

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Why, those fans might wonder, has the building, whose name means "Maracana Village" and which has been, among other things, a grand residence, a government office building, a museum dedicated to indigenous people, and a home to vagrants and squatters, not been demolished by now?

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