Maracana reopened to tourists

2013-10-15 00:52:42 GMT2013-10-15 08:52:42(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's iconic Maracana stadium has reopened to tourists, more than four months after ending a three-year, 500 million U.S.-dollar facelift.

Guided tours lasting an hour allow fans access to the pitch, dressing rooms, VIP boxes and other areas of the "inner sanctum", stadium officials said on Monday.

"People have heard many stories about the Maracana but by coming and seeing the rooms and walking onto the pitch fans are able to get a real feel for the stadium," said tour coordinator Bruno Luceno.

Visitors also pass through a 750 square meters hall featuring memorabilia, photos and exhibits, including a statue of Zico and a bust of Garrinhca.

Among the peculiarities are a display featuring the ball and net used by Pele to score his 1000th goal and the chair that accommodated Queen Elizabeth II during a 1968 visit to the venue.

The tour costs 30 Brazilian reais (14 dollars) and is open seven days a week including public holidays.

The Maracana, originally built for the 1950 World Cup, will host the 2014 World Cup final on July 13. It will also stage the opening and closing ceremonies at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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