São Cristóvão is a traditional neighborhood located in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro city.
The first inhabitants were the Tamoio Indians. After Brazil was discovered and colonized by Portugal, the Jesuits inhabited the place. In 1759, the Marquis of Pombal expelled the Jesuits, and the farms of the region were divided up to form small farms and quintas (residences located in rural properties). One of these was the Quinta da Boa Vista.
In 1810, King John VI of Portugal adopted the Quinta da Boa Vista as his official residence. Around it mansions and streets were built and electric light was installed. The local aristocracy moved to the neighborhood.
During the 19th century, several meters of land were reclaimed from the sea, and the swamps were drained. Pedro II of Brazil, who was the country's second emperor, was born and bred in the neighborhood and from there he ruled the country for almost half a century. During his reign the neighborhood was modernized and industries were installed. He was deposed by a military coup on November 15, 1889 and the Quinta da Boa Vista became a museum in 1893.
In 1940, Avenida Brasil, the most important road to transport the neighborhood's production, was inaugurated.
Especially during the 1950s and the 1960s, the industrialization of the area attracted migrants from several different regions of Brazil, particularly from the Northeast.
São Cristóvão is the home of São Cristóvão de Futebol e Regatas, which is a traditional Rio de Janeiro football (soccer) club. The club's stadium, Estádio Figueira de Melo, commonly known by its nickname Figueirinha, is also located in the neighborhood.
The neighbourhood has several historical buildings, some of which are historical museums like the Museu do Primeiro Reinado and the Museu Militar Conde de Linhares.
There are two churches in the neighborhood, Church of São Cristóvão (Igreja de São Cristóvão) and Church of Saint Edwigs (Igreja de Santa Edwiges).
The São Cristóvão's Fair (Feira de São Cristóvão) is another popular attraction. It is always carried out on Sundays, by the Northeast Region community.
São Cristóvão suffers from the same problems of most middles-low class Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods, like the bad condition of the streets, street vendors, low job offers and poor conservation of historical buildings.