Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport

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Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport

Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim
Consórcio Rio Galeao logo 2.png
Riodejaneiro aerea aeroportogaleao-131756(cut).jpg
Airport typePublic / Military
ServesRio de Janeiro
Opened1 February 1952; 71 years ago (1952-02-01)
Focus city forGol Transportes Aéreos
Time zoneBRT (UTC−03:00)
Elevation AMSL9 m / 30 ft
Coordinates22°48′36″S 043°15′02″W / 22.81000°S 43.25056°W / -22.81000; -43.25056Coordinates: 22°48′36″S 043°15′02″W / 22.81000°S 43.25056°W / -22.81000; -43.25056
GIG is located in Rio de Janeiro
Location within greater Rio de Janeiro
GIG is located in Brazil
GIG (Brazil)
GIG is located in South America
GIG (South America)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 4,000 13,123 Concrete
15/33 3,180 10,433 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Passengers5,895,257 Increase 50%
Aircraft Operations50,851 Increase 27%
Statistics: RIOGaleão[1]
Sources: Airport Website,[2] ANAC[3]

Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport[4] (IATA: GIG, ICAO: SBGL), popularly known by its original name Galeão International Airport, is the main airport serving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2019, it was the country's fourth-busiest airport by passenger traffic. It is named after the neighborhood of Galeão. Praia do Galeão (Galleon Beach) is located in front of the original passenger terminal (the present passenger terminal of the Brazilian Air Force) and where the galleon Padre Eterno was built in 1663.[5][6] Since 5 January 1999, it is also named after Brazilian musician Antonio Carlos Jobim.[7] Galeão Airport is explicitly mentioned in his composition Samba do Avião. It is the largest airport site in terms of area in Brazil.

Since 12 August 2014[8] it has been operated by the concessionary Rio Galeão,[9] a consortium formed by the Brazilian investor Odebrecht and Changi Airport Group, with a minority participation of the government owned company Infraero, the previous operator.[10] The new concessionary has been using the brand name RIOgaleão – Aeroporto Internacional Tom Jobim.[11]

Some of its facilities are shared with the Galeão Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force.


Entrance of the original Passenger Terminal Building used between 1952 and 1977.

On 10 May 1923, a School of Naval Aviation was established near Galeão beach on Governador Island.[12] On 22 May 1941, with the creation of the Brazilian Air Force Ministry, the school became the Galeão Air Force Base; a terminal and hangars were built and the runway extended. Those buildings still exist and Galeão Air Force Base is still active. When Brazil declared war against the Axis on 22 August 1942, the aerodrome began to be used intensely by the Allies for military operations related to the World War II.[13]

Tribute to Tom Jobim at Rio de Janeiro International Airport.

At the end of the war, Santos Dumont Airport was unable to handle the increased tonnage of aircraft flying on international routes and number of passengers. For this reason, international flights were gradually moved to the site of the Air Force Base. The services were however precarious and a decision was made to build a brand new passenger terminal, opposite to the Air Force Base, across the runway.

On 1 February 1952, the new passenger terminal was opened and remained in use with enlargements until 1977. This terminal is used presently by passenger flights operated by the Brazilian Air Force. The cargo terminal is also located in the area and all-cargo aircraft usually park at its adjoining apron. The whole complex is now informally known as the "old Galeão".

By 1970, the airport was Brazil's major international and domestic air-hub. In that year, its administration was taken over by Infraero, an agency then recently created by the Brazilian government.

As proof of the airport's prestige, the Concorde made its scheduled maiden flight with Air France on 21 January 1976, flying from Paris–Charles de Gaulle to Galeão via Dakar. Those twice-weekly flights were discontinued in 1982. Furthermore, the 007 – James Bond production Moonraker (1979) shows the Concorde touching down at Galeão.

On 6 June 1967, in response to the growth of air traffic in Brazil, the Brazilian government initiated studies concerning the renovation of airport infrastructure in the country. As part of the conclusions of these studies, because of their location, strategic importance, and security issues, new passenger facilities would be constructed in the Galeão Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro and the São Paulo Air Force Base in São Paulo.[14]

On 20 January 1977, when the airport was receiving all of Brazil's major international flights, this new terminal was opened and all scheduled passenger flights were transferred to the new building. This building is known today as Passenger Terminal 1. One of the features dating from this time is the sultry PA system announcements made by Iris Lettieri, which were featured on National Public Radio.[15]

In 1985, the airport lost the title of the country's major international airport to the newly-opened São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport. At that time, a new runway allowing intercontinental flights with no weight restrictions was opened in São Paulo and Brazilian and foreign airlines increasingly used São Paulo as a national and international hub. As a consequence, the number of transiting passengers dropped. Constant efforts were made by the government of the state of Rio de Janeiro to reverse the trend. As a result, after stagnating for years embittered by the loss of domestic flights to Santos Dumont Airport and international flights to São Paulo–Guarulhos Airport, Galeão has – since late 2004 – gradually recovered its importance in the national and international spheres with addition of flights and airlines.

During the year 1991, Passenger Terminal 1 underwent its first major renovation in preparation for the United Nations Earth Summit held in 1992. Its annual capacity was increased to 7.5 million passengers a year. On 20 July 1999, Passenger Terminal 2 was opened. The airport has those two passenger terminals in elliptical format, each with twelve jetways and capable of handling 7.5 million passengers annually.

On 31 August 2009, the previous operator, Infraero, unveiled a R$819 million (US$431 million; €302 million) investment plan to upgrade Galeão International Airport focusing on the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was held in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro being one of the venue cities, and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro would host. The investment was supposed to be distributed as follows:[16]

  • Renovation of Passenger Terminal 1. Completed: 2012
  • Completion and renovation of Passenger Terminal 2. Completed: June 2012
  • Construction of further parking. Value 220.0 million. Completed: Late-2013

Like most South American airports operated by government-owned operators, Galeão had high operating costs per passenger.[17] On 26 April 2011, it was confirmed that in order to speed-up much needed renovation and upgrade works, private companies would be granted a concession to operate some Infraero airports among them, on a second phase, Galeão.[18] The plan was confirmed on 31 May 2011, and it was added that Infraero would retain 49% of the shares of each privatized airport.[19] On 22 November 2013, the Brazilian Government had a bidding process to determine the airport's private operator from 2014 until 2039. The Group Aeroporto Rio de Janeiro formed by Grupo Odebrecht (60%) and Changi Airport Group (40%) paid R$19 billion and won the competition.[20][21] The contract was signed on 2 April 2014.[22][23]

The new concessionary, Rio Galeão, has revised, modified and upgraded those plans to include the construction of a new pier with 26 new bridges, a new apron for 97 aircraft, and 2,640 car-parking spaces have been added in 2016–17, which would sum up to R$2 billion reais.[24][25]

One day after the closure of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Galeão handled an all-time record of passengers on a single day. It is estimated that on 22 August 2016, 85,000 passengers transited at the airport facilities.[26][27]

On 10 February 2022, the concessionary requested the devolution of the facility. The request was approved by the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil on 25 May 2022. A new bidding process is expected to take place in 2023.[28]

On 27 May 2022, TAP Maintenance & Engineering closed the facility at Galeão which it had operated since 2006. This maintenance center was previously owned by Varig.[29] On 7 July 2022, United Airlines was announced as the new owner of the facility.[30]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Since November 2016, the check-in and baggage claim areas of Terminal 1 are not in use. All passengers must use Terminal 2 to access the boarding gates of any terminal.[31]

Aerolíneas Argentinas Buenos Aires–Aeroparque
Seasonal: Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Córdoba (AR), Mendoza
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
American Airlines Miami
Seasonal: New York–JFK
Avianca Bogotá
Azul Brazilian Airlines Campinas
British Airways London–Heathrow
Copa Airlines Panama City–Tocumen
Delta Air Lines Seasonal: Atlanta
Emirates Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Dubai–International
Flybondi Buenos Aires–Ezeiza
Seasonal charter: San Carlos de Bariloche
Gol Transportes Aéreos Aracaju, Belém, Brasília, Buenos Aires–Aeroparque, Córdoba (AR), Fortaleza, Foz do Iguaçu, João Pessoa, Maceió, Manaus, Natal, Recife, Rosario, São Paulo–Guarulhos
Seasonal: Campo Grande, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Goiânia, Ilhéus, Jericoacoara, Montevideo, Navegantes, Palmas, Porto Seguro, Salvador da Bahia
Iberia Seasonal: Madrid
ITA Airways Rome–Fiumicino (begins 30 October 2023)[32]
JetSmart Argentina Buenos Aires–Ezeiza
JetSmart Chile Montevideo (begins 28 March 2023),[33] Santiago de Chile
KLM Amsterdam
LATAM Brasil Brasília, Buenos Aires–Aeroparque, Fortaleza, Foz do Iguaçu, Recife (ends 26 March 2023),[34] São Paulo–Guarulhos
Seasonal: Buenos Aires–Ezeiza
LATAM Chile Santiago de Chile
LATAM Perú Lima
Lufthansa Munich
Paranair Seasonal: Asunción
Sky Airline Santiago de Chile
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon, Porto
United Airlines Houston–Intercontinental


Cargolux Campinas, Luxembourg
LATAM Cargo Brasil Belo Horizonte–Confins, Cabo Frio, Campinas, Ciudad del Este, Curitiba, Manaus, Miami, Porto Alegre, São Paulo–Guarulhos
LATAM Cargo Chile Amsterdam, Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, Frankfurt, Miami, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile
LATAM Cargo Colombia Bogotá, Lima, Miami, Quito
Modern Logistics Campinas[35]
Sky Lease Cargo Miami
Total Linhas Aéreas São Paulo–Guarulhos, Vitória


Annual passenger traffic at GIG airport. See Wikidata query.
Year Number of passengers[36][1]
2022 5,895,257
2021 3,925,254
2020 4,635,123
2019 13,507,881
2018 15,035,083
2017 16,242,767
2016 16,103,352
2015 16,942,229
2014 17,303,340
2013 17,109,590
2012 17,491,744
2011 14,926,615
2010 12,229,513
2009 11,828,656
2008 10,754,689
2007 10,352,616
2006 8,856,527
2005 8,657,139
2004 6,024,930
2003 4,619,229
Infraero Statistics[37]
Rank Country Number of passengers
1  Argentina 249,305
2  United States 171,124
3  France 80,478
4  Chile 80,001
5  United Kingdom 66,447
6  Italy 57,061
7  Germany 55,865
8  Portugal 43,380
9  Spain 35,135
10  Colombia 23,563
Busiest international routes by seat capacity (2015)[38]
Ranking City Seats
1 Argentina Buenos Aires 891,818
2 United States Miami 422,153
2 France Paris 379,694
4 Chile Santiago 364,570
Busiest intercontinental routes at Rio de Janeiro International Airport (2014) – ANAC[39]
Rank City Passengers
1 France Paris 363,254
2 Portugal Lisbon 267,417
3 Germany Frankfurt 193,082
4 United Kingdom London 188,737
5 Spain Madrid 172,263
6 Netherlands Amsterdam 145,070
7 Italy Rome 125,782
8 United Arab Emirates Dubai 119,193
9 Portugal Porto 48,292
10 Angola Luanda 45,308

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 27 July 1952: a Pan Am Boeing 377 Stratocruiser 10–26 registration N1030V operating flight 201 en route from Rio de Janeiro–Galeão to Buenos Aires–Ezeiza following pressurization problems during climb, a door blew open, a passenger was blown out and the cabin considerably damaged. One passenger died.[40]
  • 11 January 1959: a Lufthansa Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation registration D-ALAK operating flight 502 flying from Hamburg to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão via Frankfurt, Paris–Orly and Dakar crashed during approach under heavy rain at Galeão. The crew descended below minimums. Of the 39 passengers and crew aboard, 3 survived. This was the first accident of Lufthansa after it was re-established.[41]
  • 22 December 1959: a VASP Vickers Viscount 827 registration PP-SRG while on approach to land at Rio de Janeiro–Galeão was involved in a mid-air collision with the Brazilian Air Force Fokker S-11 (T-21) registration FAB0742 in the vicinity of Manguinhos Airport. All 32 people on board the Viscount were killed, as were a further ten on the ground. The T-21 pilot parachuted to safety. This accident eventually led to the closure of Manguinhos Airport.[42][43][44]
  • 20 August 1962: a Panair do Brasil Douglas DC-8-33 registration PP-PDT taking-off from Rio de Janeiro–Galeão to Lisbon overran the runway into the ocean during an aborted operation. Of the 120 passengers and crew aboard 14 died.[45][46]
  • 1 January 1970: a Cruzeiro do Sul Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle VI R en route from Montevideo to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão with 33 occupants aboard was hijacked by 6 people who demanded to be flown to Cuba. The flight was diverted to Lima, Panama City and arrived in Havana two days later. There were no victims.[47]
  • 1 July 1970: a Cruzeiro do Sul Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle VI R registration PP-PDX en route from Rio de Janeiro–Galeão to São Paulo with 31 occupants aboard was hijacked by 4 persons who demanded the release of political prisoners that were to be taken to Cuba. The aircraft was stormed and the hijackers arrested. There were no victims and the hijacking lasted less than a day.[48]
  • 9 June 1973: a Varig cargo Boeing 707-327C registration PP-VJL flying from Campinas to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão while making an instrument approach to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão had technical problems with the spoilers which eventually caused the aircraft to pitch down, descended fast, struck approach lights and ditch. All 6 occupants died.[49]
  • 26 July 1979: a Lufthansa cargo Boeing 707-330C registration D-ABUY operating flight 527 from Rio de Janeiro–Galeão to Frankfurt via Dakar collided with a mountain 5 minutes after take-off from Galeão. The crew of 3 died.[50]
  • 12 December 1985: an Air France Boeing 747-228B, registration F-GCBC, arriving from Paris–Charles de Gaulle with 273 passengers and crew, veered off the right side of runway 15 on landing, crossed a ditch and collided with a concrete wall in the cargo apron. There was a fire that totally destroyed the aircraft, but all occupants had been safely evacuated before that, with no victims or serious injuries. The accident was later traced to a ruptured power control cable in engine #1, which made the engine accelerate beyond maximum takeoff power, destabilizing the plane.[51]


Yellow Taxis
TransCarioca BRT station at GIG, during the official opening ceremony.

The airport is located 20 km (12 mi) north of downtown Rio de Janeiro.

There are executive (blue) and ordinary (yellow) taxis available and bookable on company booths at arrival halls of both terminals.

TransCarioca line of the BRT integrated public transportation system links Terminals 1 and 2 with Terminal Alvorada in Barra da Tijuca with an intermediate stop at the Line 2 subway Vicente de Carvalho station, where one can access the entire subway system. At Alvorada one can transfer between the TransCarioca and TransOeste lines. The system operates 24 hours a day and tickets are sold in the BRT booths on the arrivals level.[52] There are plans to connect the airport with the RioGaleão Light Rail, proposed to run between the airport and Estácio Station where it will connect to the Line 1 subway.[53]

Viação 1001 operates the urban bus line 761-D from the airport to Niterói.[54] Furthermore, the same company operates an executive service to Armação dos Búzios four times a day. Departure is from the arrivals level of Terminal 1.[55]

Ordinary city busses 924 and 925 operate to the neighborhood of Ilha do Governador, and 915 to Bonsucesso. From both neighborhoods there are connections to the North and South Sides of the city.

Cacá Bueno Automobile Racing Circuit[edit]

Circuito Cacá Bueno
Cacá Bueno Circuit track layout.png
LocationRio de Janeiro, Brasil
Time zoneUTC-03:00
Opened8 April 2022; 9 months ago (2022-04-08)
Closed10 April 2022; 9 months ago (2022-04-10)
Major eventsStock Car Pro Series
GP do Galeão (2022)
Full Circuit (2022)
Length3.225 km (2.000 miles)
Race lap record1:05.011[56] (Brazil Daniel Serra, Chevrolet Cruze Stock Car, 2022, Stock Car)

In 2022, the Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport was used for Stock Car Pro Series automobile racing. A circuit named after Cacá Bueno, Rio de Janeiro-born and 5 times Stock Car Brasil champion, was built within the airport partially using runways 10/28 for this purpose. This circuit contributed to the return of Stock Car Pro Series to Rio de Janeiro. It was the first race since 2012, when the race was held at Jacarepaguá.[57] However, the circuit was not included into the 2023 Stock Car Pro Series calendar due to the increase of flights after the COVID-19 pandemic.[58]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Movimentação aeroportuária". RIOgaleão (in Portuguese). Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  2. ^ "RIOgaleão". RIOGaleão (in Portuguese). Retrieved 19 February 2021.
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  5. ^ Enders, Armelle (2008). A História do Rio de Janeiro (in Portuguese) (2nd ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Gryphus. p. 54. ISBN 978-85-60610-09-9.
  6. ^ Doria, Pedro (2012). 1565: Enquanto o Brasil nascia: A aventura de portugueses, franceses, índios e negros na fundação do país (in Portuguese) (1st ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-85-2093114-1.
  7. ^ "Lei n˚9.778, de 5 de janeiro de 1999" (in Portuguese). Lei Direto. 5 January 1999. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
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  12. ^ Instituto Histórico-Cultural da Aeronáutica (1990). História Geral da Aeronáutica Brasileira: de 1921 às vésperas da criação do Ministério da Aeronáutica (in Portuguese). Vol. 2. Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro: Itatiaia and Instituto Histórico-Cultural da Aeronáutica. pp. 58, 66, 558.
  13. ^ Pereira, Aldo (1987). Breve história da aviação comercial brasileira (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Europa Empresa Gráfica e Editora. pp. 403–405.
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  15. ^ McCarthy, Julie (17 March 2007). "The Most Captivating Voice in the World". NPR. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
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  21. ^ Sakate, Marcelo (27 November 2013). "A privatização decola" [Privatization takes-off]. Veja (in Portuguese). São Paulo. 46 (48): 98.
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  25. ^ Barbosa, Carolina (20 August 2014). "Luz no fim da pista" (in Portuguese). Veja Rio. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
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  29. ^ "TAP M&E conclui sua última manutenção de uma aeronave no Brasil e encerra atividades". Aeroin (in Portuguese). 27 May 2022. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
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  31. ^ Galeão's Terminal 1 will be deactivated next month Archived 22 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, O Globo, 26 October 2016. (in Portuguese)
  32. ^ "Aberta a venda de passagens dos voos diretos entre o Rio de Janeiro e a Itália pela ITA Airways". Aeroin (in Portuguese). 12 January 2023. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  33. ^ "JetSMART tendrá vuelos entre Uruguay y Brasil". Aviacionline (in Spanish). 13 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  34. ^ "Latam vai suspender duas rotas: de Brasília a Foz do Iguaçu e de Recife ao Rio de Janeiro". Aeroin (in Portuguese). 21 November 2022. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  35. ^ "MODERN Logistics anuncia voos regulares para o Rio de Janeiro". Aeroin (in Portuguese). 19 September 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
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  38. ^[bare URL PDF]
  39. ^ "ANAC". ANAC. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
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  42. ^ "Accident description PP-SRG and FAB0742". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  43. ^ Pereira, Aldo (1987). Breve História da Aviação Comercial Brasileira (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Europa. pp. 205–206.
  44. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Reportagem derradeira". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928–1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 177–181. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2.
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  46. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Rejeição tardia na decolagem". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928–1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 208–213. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2.
  47. ^ "Incident description 1 January 1970". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  48. ^ "Incident description PP-PDX". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  49. ^ "Accident description PP-VJL". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  50. ^ "Accident description D-ABUY". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  51. ^ "Galeão. O aeroporto abençoado por Deus" [Galeão. The airport blessed by God.]. Desastres Aéreos (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  52. ^ "Trecho da Transcarioca que liga Barra ao Galeão é inaugurado nesta quarta" (in Portuguese). G1 Rio. 4 June 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  53. ^ Lobo, Renato (10 February 2021). "Projeto prevê VLT de maior capacidade entre Galeão e estação Estácio do Metrô". Via Trólebus (in Portuguese). Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  54. ^ "Linhas Metropolitanas Charitas x Galeão" (in Portuguese). Autoviação 1001. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
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  56. ^ "3a Etapa Stock Car Pro Series 09-04-2022 / Galeão 1a Prova - 10-04-2022 13:20:00" (PDF). Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  57. ^ "Circuito Cacá Bueno (Galeão) - Racing Circuits". Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  58. ^ "Stock Car anuncia praças de calendário da temporada 2023". 3 December 2022. Retrieved 21 December 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to Rio de Janeiro (state)/Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport at Wikimedia Commons