Tired of twee Christmas fascinations? Cidade Albanoel is your antidote.
I’ll be the first to throw my hands up and say this article has very little to do with London. But I’ve decided to write it on two grounds – one, the fact that it’s Christmastime. And two, how could I not? For I have just discovered the curiosity known as Cidade Albanoel, the monumentally terrifying Christmas theme park hidden in the foothills of Brazil. Should you happen upon it, you’ll know that you’ve jingled all the way to hell – so let’s take a closer look at this festive hellscape, shall we?
Cidade Albanoel was the brainchild of local politician Antonio Albano Reis, who envisaged a huge theme park filled with a variety of themed zones. Sitting just along the coast from Rio de Janeiro, it would have been a major tourist draw, featuring an Old West town, a concert hall, a waterpark, and a replica of Christ the Redeemer.
Given his penchant for dressing up as Santa, Reis elected to start with the Santa Zone, which became the only zone ever completed. Shortly after, Reis was killed in a car crash, and the park, shorn of its figurehead, descended into rack and ruin. It now exists in a suspended state of wrongness, awaiting a Yuletide that will never arrive.
Having stood abandoned for over a decade, the park is – there’s no other word for it – HAUNTING. Giant Santa heads, candy canes, and snow-white reindeer all sit decaying, as the tropical climate turns the place to rust. No need to try and decide whether you’ve been naughty or nice – we’ve all been naughty if this is the Santa we’ve ended up with:
It’s enough to make you lock your doors and brick up your chimneys this Christmas, isn’t it? Despite clearly being the setting for a festive horror film – or perhaps a festive iteration of this absolute monstrosity – Cidade Albanoel has become a perverse tourist attraction for those with a dark sense of humour. One thing to note before you go: it’s also gained popularity as an Airsoft battleground. Because honestly, the only thing that could make this place more terrifying is a group of men in combat fatigues running around with guns… Oh wait.
You though it was twelve sleeps until Christmas? You thought wrong, because there is no sleeping after what we’ve just witnessed. Merry Christmas, everyone!