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Built in 1762 as an arsenal, the Museu Histórico Nacional was also a military prison until 1922, when it was converted into an exhibition center for the celebration of 100th anniversary of the independence from Portugal. Here you will find objects and models that retrace the history of Brazil since its discovery, with special attention to the slavery period and the sugar cane industry.
Located in Catete and finished in 1866, this museum is housed in the palace that was home to Brazilian presidents from 1896 to 1954. Restored to its original grandeur with stained-glass windows and marble floors, the collection contains artwork, furniture and memorabilia from the Republic years. There is also an art gallery, a multimedia area, a theater and a great restaurant set in an enclosed terrace that overlooks the gardens. The permanent exhibition includes an audio tour in English and Spanish.
Fort Copacabana was built in 1914 to defend Guanabara bay, and now offers many attractions for its visitors. The fort houses Museu Histórico do Exército, a good source of information on Brazil's military history. Outside of the fort you'll get a lovely view of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, which are the two most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro.