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Brasilia, one of the newest cities in the world was designed, constructed and inaugurated in central Brazil with one specific purpose: Being the capital of the country. Fifty years ago, the men behind this huge project had one dream in common. Building the city of the future. A city for people, with generous open spaces everywhere, where men could see the horizon, feel the breeze, be part of that environment, and at the same time would be surrounded by modern and functional buildings, designed for turning everyday life and activities into something rational and conveniently agreeable.

 

Planned for a maximum population of 500,000 there would be no traffic jams and no traffic lights. Brasília was built to be, not only a showcase of Brazilian architectural art, but also a city for the people. But then… it started growing up much more rapidly than anyone could expect. Today there are almost two million people living here, and yes, a lot of traffic lights and traffic jams. Even so, you can’t say the initial idea didn’t succeed. As an architectural experience, or a dream of a futuristic city, this place, head of the Brazilian government, is a unique one. Definitely Brasilia remains today as one of the most interesting places in the world, apart from any other.

 


All the government offices are located at Esplanada dos Ministerios, like a giant set of big glass and concrete dominos. Far way, at the very end of this same picture, the two towers of Congress can be seen again. Most of the architectural innovations of town are located in this area, starting with Palacio do Planalto (Presidential Palace), Palacio da Justica (Supreme Court) and Palacio do Itamaraty (Foreign Ministry, with beautiful artificial cascades). For a nice view of the main buildings in the area, go to Three Powers Square (referring to the legislative, executive and judicial branches), the place where this three buildings are, facing each other.

 

The best place in town to get a great view is from the top of the main Television Tower. There is also a restaurant at the first floor. At the west side of Esplanada dos Ministerios, visit also the impressive National Cathedral, built in the shape of a crown with angels suspended in the interior. If you have more time, visit the National Museum which has an interesting historical displays and a comprehensive firearms collection. Unlike many other towns in Brazil, in Brasilia you need a car for almost everything. Even not being a big city, the distances here are not for walking.

 


A view of Esplanada dos Ministerios, with the Capitol Building at the center.

 

 

The first photo on this page shows Palacio do Congresso (Capitol Building). Its shape flanked by two bowls, one facing up and one facing down is, at the same time beautiful and abstract, and soon became the most recognizable icon in town. Actually those bowls are the upper parts of the National Senate and Chamber of Deputies halls. The center tall buildings among them houses some offices. At right the Central Bus Station, and behind it, reminding maybe a pyramid, the National Opera House. At right, JK Bridge, named according president Juscelino Kubitschek

 

The sculpture at left honors the Candangos, those who worked so hard for many years during the construction of the city. Behind it, the Presidential Palace. The important buildings in Brasilia were all designed by world wide famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer whose pure geometry and futuristic forms and shapes can be found everywhere in Town. Working together with designers Roberto Burle Marx, and Lucio Costa they achieved a collection of buildings that has rightly been called the highest expression of architectural Modernism on earth.

A traditional shopping, Conjunto Nacional was the first mall in Brasilia. It is located downtown, right across Nacional Theatre, and Brasilia Central Bus Station. Alternative good shopping areas are Park Shopping, Patio Brasil and Liberty Mall.

 

Brasilia's most important leisure space is Parque da Cidade, with grass fields intersected by jogging and cycle paths, but, due to the very hot and dry weather during most part of the year, walking is not one of the preferred Brasilienses (those who were born or live here) hobbies. Instead, on leisure time, they prefer to go shopping, or to some of the many bars and cafes in town. For shopping, the main areas are just past the North Hotel Sector, at Brasilia Shopping, where you will find a large number of movie theaters, trendy clothing boutiques, an excellent food court with a number of good and inexpensive restaurants.

 

At left, the City Cathedral. For a relaxing drink at the end of a day try Pier 21 or Pontao do Lago Sul. Both areas have a large number of restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Outside the city you will find many attractions. Brasilia is located right in the heart of Cerrados, a place in Brazil famous for its unique wild landscape. A tour in this area must include a visit to Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, located at the north of Goias State.

 

Yes, this is that traditional photo every tourist in Brasiilia must take, with the Capitol building just behind. On sundays you will find there a one hour tourist tour inside the Capital, which is very interesting. 

 

Aerial view from a Superquadra, one of the residential areas. As you will notice, Brasilia has no mountains, no sea and no forest. When you think about Brazil, this may sound quite unusual, and it really is indeed. So you might ask why was this place chosen to receive the new capital? The answer is that is was considered a main issue at that time transfer the government to the interior of the country, as a way of conquering this lands, and helping the west development. At that time many people considered this a crazy idea, and strongly disagreed with it. Even today, many Cariocas (those who are born or live in Rio) still joke about this town saying that the best think to do in Brasilia is getting a plane to Rio... Anyway we have to agree that those crazy dreams were not only dreams, and the main goal of the people who decided for its construction really succeeded.

 

Brasilia was inaugurated on April 20, 1960. This photo was taken at JK Memorial, honoring president Juscelino Kubitschek, former president of Brasil who decided to construct Brasilia and move the city capital from Rio de Janeiro. The memorial also houses a museum, where many items related to JK life and the construction of Brasilia are kept. Also worth visiting in Brasilia is Dom Bosco Sanctuary, where centuries ago, a priest called Bosco had a vision about a futuristic city being built in the heartland of Brasil. Visit also Our Lady of Fatima small and lovely church, Alvorada Palace (official home of the President of Brasil), Catetinho (former residence of the president before the conclusion of Alvorada Palace), National Theatre, ), Brasilia Botanical Garden and City Zoo, this last one interesting specially for children.

The best time to visit Brasilia is around april to june, when most of the day are clear and not too much dry. If you plan to visit the city for some days only, and want to really feel its beating heart, try to avoid Saturdays and Sundays. As home of Brazil government, most of the people working here are related one way or another to the government offices and many of them leave town on weekends, so the city gets somewhat empty. The city is just 90 minutes flight from Rio, and is connected with daily flights to every point in the country. A visit to Brasilia will be specially interesting for those who love architectural arts and urbanism, for, in this issue, Brasilia is surely second to none.

 

Vídeo: Taking off from Brasilia

 

This page song is 'Brasilia', by Guilherme Arantes. To stop the music press Esc.  

 

Ah, Brasília...
Loucos profetas previram a tua existência milênio atrás,
e nos seus mapas marcaram o centro do mundo e nele tu estás.
todas as lendas que cercam teu nome jamais lograrão te explicar,
nem a política, nem o teu preço que foi tão penoso pagar.
Tuas cidades satélites mostram o quanto és uma aberração,
vivem à margem da tua luxúria onde corre o poder da nação.
seitas estranhas proclamam que o teu destino ainda não se cumpriu,
rezam a vinda dos anjos de estrelas cadentes no céu do Brasil.
És a vitrine imponente e ostensiva de um povo que vive a sonhar,
com seu império futuro, tesouro,presente que Deus vai mandar
Ah, Brasília..