Published On: January 25, 2018

The King of Rio de Janeiro

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For 22 years, Márcio Mizael Matolias has avoided high rents in an upscale district of Rio de Janeiro by living in a sand castle. Instead of going for one of the luxury apartments that line the streets of the pricey beach area, he’s opted for the cunning approach of building his own apartment made of sand on the beach of Barra da Tijuca.

His unusual home has not stopped the 44-year-old, known affectionately as ‘The King,’ from pursuing his three passions: reading, golf, and fishing. Márcio is single and has no children, making this possibly the best bachelor pad in the world. He’s even got himself a crown, which provides his easy nickname.

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Rio’s most famous and expensive tourist beaches, like Copacabana and Ipanema, are known for their sand sculpting. However, unlike other sand sculptors, he’s already home by the time he’s finished for the day. He doesn’t face a daily commute like the rest of us mere mortals.

Márcio has no trouble putting on a regal air and is happy to pose on his throne in front of his castle, scepter in hand. However, unlike other monarchs, King Márcio is personally responsible for conducting repairs to his palace, whether it’s the dungeons or a door.

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He also has to constantly water his home to keep it from collapsing. Despite this, Márcio says he would not have it any other way. “I grew up in the Bay of Guanabara. I have always lived on the beach. People pay exorbitant rents to live in front of the sea, but I do not have bills and here I have a good life.”

While grandiose on the outside and with views of the pricey beach area, his house is just three square meters. Yet there’s plenty of space for all of his belongings, including a large number of books. He says there is just one drawback to his peaceful existence: “The sand holds all the heat, so sometimes at night I cannot sleep here. Then I’ll spend the night at a friend’s house, but I prefer it here even if I have to lie outside by the sea.”


“It scares me to be inside a house, all tidy. I like this ephemeral side of things, so I don’t become obsessed like others who say ‘this is mine, mine’.”

He also explained that if the castle did collapse, he can simply build another. He can even pick another patch of beach, making him a bit of a hermit crab. However, he prefers it here, even if he has to lie outside by the sea. He wouldn’t have it any other way. Because when you wake up on a beach in Rio every day, who wouldn’t feel like a king?


[Research for this article comes from the Daily Mirror and Ladbible websites. Photo Credits: AFP]

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