Situated on the south end of Copacabana Beach lies a piece of Brazilian military history, the Copacabana Fort. Built just before the First World War, the fort is strategically located on a thin strip of rock that juts into the ocean and was designed to protect Rio de Janeiro from attack. On the headland, there are two turrets that each hold two massive Krupp cannons, the largest being 305 mm, capable of firing a 980-pound (445-kg) shell up to over 14 miles (23 km) into the ocean.
The area houses the Museum of the History of the Military, which details the early days of Portuguese colonization, the Brazilian military’s involvement in international conflicts and the modernization of the Brazilian army in current day. There are also several centuries-old artillery items on display outside, including a six-foot (1.8-meter), 152.4 mm gun made in 1918 and a five-barrel quick-firing gun from 1876.
This area not only offers an interesting insight into Brazil’s military history, but also has a lovely, oceanfront avenue where visitors can stroll and take in panoramic views of Copacabana Beach. The famed Confeitaria Colombo, a traditional café and bakery located in the city center, also owns a quaint café located within the walls of the fort. Visitors can stop for breakfast, lunch or a snack and enjoy a peaceful view of the famous shoreline.
The Copacabana Fort is located at Plaza Coronel Eugênio Franco nº 1 in the Copacabana neighborhood. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the exterior area, shops and cafés are open the same days until 7:30 p.m. The entrance fee can only be paid in cash and costs R$6 for adults, R$3 for students and seniors over 60 (with ID), and free for seniors over 80 and children under 10. The fort is accessible from bus lines 121, 126, 127, 484 and 455 and from either the Cantagalo or General Osório metro stations.