21 Photos Of The Controversial World Cup Host City That's In The Middle Of The Jungle

A lot of people didn’t think World Cup games should be held in Manaus.

The Amazonian city is 1,700 miles from Sao Paulo and surrounded by 2.1 million square miles of rain forest.

National team coaches have complained about the oppressive heat and and humidity. Brazilians have complained about the exorbitant cost of building a soccer arena in the middle of the jungle — a city so remote that it took a 20-day boat voyage to deliver the steel to build the 42,000-seat stadium.

As these great photos from Reuters, Getty, and the AP show, Manaus is gorgeous (it sits on the banks of the Rio Negro), large (the 7th-biggest city in Brazil), and industrial (it’s free port is a hub of trade).

But given the construction costs, the travel headaches, and the playing conditions, it’s also a head-scratching choice for a World Cup host city.

Manaus is 900 miles up the Amazon, and surrounded by rain forests.

It's an important shipping outpost for trading along the Amazon River.

A dock for tourist boat excursions along the Rio Negro.

Ponta Negra beach.

The Manaus harbor.

The Sauim Castanheira Wildlife Refuge on the edge of town.

The Arena Amazonia, which will host the USA-Portugal World Cup game, two days before it opened in March.

The pitch looks great from above...

But workers have struggled to grow an even playing surface.

Source: Guardian

The Colina Training Center under construction in January.

The finished training center, where the teams will practice before matches.

The Ariau hotel in the jungle outside Manaus.

Eco-tourism is one of Manaus' big industries.

Swimmers walk along the beach.

The sun sets on the Rio Negro.

It's the only World Cup host city in Northern Brazil.

In 2013, police evicted 5,000 Amazon Indians from an area of rainforest near the city, drawing protests.

Manaus from above. It's a heavily populated city of more than two million people.

The Arena Amazon 75 days before the World Cup.

The Rio Negro, one of the Amazon's many large tributaries.

Downtown is centered around renaissance-style Amazon Theatre.

Manaus on a map. It's hundreds of miles from the other host cities.

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