Barra da Tijuca is one of Rio de Janeiro's most lucrative real estate zones and where the future Olympic Village will be built. Just near the Olympic site sits Terra Encantada, "Enchanted Land," an eerie abandoned amusement park. On a trip to study the legalization of street art in Rio de Janeiro, I got a chance to explore the park. In addition to the rides, the crumbling faux Main Street facades include a replica of Paris' Pompidou Centre, making for an explorer's delight.
Opened in 1998, the park closed after a 61-year old woman was killed after being thrown from a ride and an investigation uncovered multiple engineering and maintenance failures. Terra Encantada has been empty since. But it won't remain in this state for long -- the site is ripe for redevelopment in preparation for the Olympics. According to a source, the developer plans to build hotels, hospitals and residential buildings. The rides will be sold to other theme parks. Until then, Terra Encantada will stand as a marker of a past Barra da Tijuca.