Man Lives Rent-Free In Giant Sandcastle For 22 Years

Man Lives Rent-Free In Giant Sandcastle For 22 Years


Brazil is not a cheap place to live in. At least not if we compare their average salaries with the cost of living. That is why it doesn’t sound strange when we hear about someone who is searching for some cheaper way of life in order to save for a better future. However, one Rio de Janeiro man has been living in a sandcastle on the beach for 22 years. That is a bit odd

The King

That man is Marcio Mizael Matolias. He is also known as “THE KING” because of his way of life or the place of his residence. Which is a castle – A sand castle to be more precise. He has actually been living in a series of sandcastles on the beaches of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood. And he has been doing that in the last 22 years. That is why he became a local phenomenon and an interesting tourist attraction. And he never refuses the attention. He enjoys talking with locals, tourists, and reporters.

Usually, when he poses for the cameras, Marcio wears a crown on his hand and holds a scepter in his hand. In one of his interviews, Marcio said, “I grew up in the Bay of Guanabara (that is near Rio), I always lived on the beach. People pay exorbitant rents to live in front of the sea, and I do not have bills and here I have a good life.”


He was born in Duque de Caxias. That is north from Rio. He didn’t stay there long since he moved to Rio when he was very young. He couldn’t find a good job in Rio, so he didn’t have enough money. One day, a friend of his showed him how to build a sand pyramid. That gave him an idea, and he started building castles. In time, those “buildings” grew more and more elaborate, so he needed sandbags, driftwood, and logs to additionally fortify the entire structure.
The Castle

The inside of the castle is not huge. His bedroom inside the “castle” is only three square meters (which is approximately 10 square feet). Inside that room, Matolias has a bookshelf full of books and his fishing and golfing gear. There is a huge wooden framework around the room and just enough floor space for him to lay down and sleep. And when he needs to use the bathroom, there is a public toilet, not far from his castle.

But living in a sandcastle can be dangerous (as you can imagine); a light rain is enough to destroy almost 20 hours of his hard work. And he has to water the turrets and spires of his castle from time to time to cool it down. One time the tide brought water to one of his castles and flooded his entire living room. However, Matolias doesn’t care about the ocean. He is actually more afraid of the sunshine and the heat. Sand accumulates the heat and it is sometimes nearly impossible to sleep because of that heat


Personal Library

Some would think that this kind of a life would mark him as a hobo or something like that. But that Is not the case. Friends and neighbors actually call him “the king” and one of them even made him a plastic crown which he gladly wears around the beach. And apart from that castle of his, Matolias is also famous for his huge library. He actually lands all those books from a stall and encourages people to swap books with him and among themselves. And if you think that his way of life creates some problems with the government, that is far from reality. He is actually a sort of a social service and people simply love him!


How Does He Pay For Food?

Matolias doesn’t have a job. He has a donation box outside of his castle where people can leave money either for books or for appearing in a photo-op. However, he never asks for anything. People give him money if they want to and it isn’t a perfect system because sometimes people steal all his money. He had an idea to guard it at first but right now, he doesn’t care.
And of course, Matolias uses his creative talent to earn some money. He builds sand sculptures for all sorts of events, and he takes it very seriously. He read everything he needed in books and he actually mixes all kinds of styles in his art. “From Niemeyer to Gaudi”, he says.

Plans For Future

Marcio Mizael Matolias is planning to take his art to the next level. He is planning to use his skills to make permanent sculptures from permanent materials and to make a huge exhibition with his works. But until then, he stays in his castle.


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