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Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. It covers an area of 5802 sq km and had an approximate population of 2,789,761 in 2013, making it the fourth most populous city in the country. Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960. Most of the resources were concentrated around this region.
However, the federal structure of the country demanded a more central location for the capital. So, Juscelino Kubitschek ordered the construction of a planned capital city called Brasilia from 1956 to 1961. Brasilia was planned and developed by Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer. The city was officially inaugurated on 21 April, 1960 and remains one of the planned capital cities of the world. The city is laid out like an aeroplane and an aerial view of the city serves to convey its true magnificence. In 1987, the city was declared to be a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is the only city built in the twentieth century to be so declared.
Brasilia is located on the central plateau of Brazil. It has an average altitude of 1,172 metres. The land is mostly flat or slightly undulating in places. Ground water supplies water to the city throughout the year. In addition, the artificial lake called the Lago Paranoa was constructed which is now used by fishermen, windsurfers and wake boarders.
The city enjoys a tropical savannah climate. The summers are warm and wet while winters are cold and dry. Most of the rainfall is concentrated between October and late March.
How to reach (transport) :
You can travel to Brasilia in the following ways :
The Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport is located 11 kms from the city centre. Flights are available to a number of domestic destinations as well as international destinations like Lisbon, Panama, Montevideo, Atlanta, Bogota and Miami.
The road network is well planned and you can reach Brasilia from any part of the country by bus or by car.
When to visit :
The best time to visit Brasilia is from March to July. The dry season is suitable for traveling in the entire area. However, you should know that rooms are very difficult to come by if there are any major political events scheduled in the city.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions :
Brazilians are very proud of their capital city and its architectural marvels. It is a true picture of the future as envisaged in 1960s. Several events and festivals are celebrated in the city. These are :
The June bonfire festival is held in June in honor of a number of catholic saints. Fireworks are a major part of the celebrations.
Independence Day is celebrated on 7th September with a huge parade and other cultural programs.
The Japanese festival is celebrated on every weekend of August at the Honpa Hongwanji Temple. It includes oriental food, music and bon odori dances to celebrate the Japanese heritage in Brasilia.
The Porao do Rock is the largest music festival of Brazil with performers coming from all over the country and even abroad. It is celebrated any time from late July to early September.
The Brasilia cinema festival is held in late October or early November. A mixture of both independent and mainstream films is screened and it draws a large crowd.
The Carnival is celebrated in February and March. Though it is less hectic than the famed Rio carnival, it is getting bigger every year. Fancy costumes, marching street bands and the Samba characterize the carnival. In Brasilia, the carnival is somewhat family oriented with a lot of emphasis on children's entertainment.
Points of interest (places to visit) :
The most important sights of Brasilia are as follows :
The Three Powers Square are the area where the Supreme Court, the President’s palaceand the seat of the Congress is located. The bronze statue of two abstract figures called Os Candangos pays tribute to the workers who built the city.
The Brasilia cathedral is an amazing modernistic cathedral with 16 curved pillars and stained glass windows.
The Public works of art includes an open air exhibit of some of the finest art works produced by Brazilian artists.
The Dom Bosco church is a beautiful church with blue stained glass windows and a huge chandelier.
The City Park is a wide green hotspot in the city suitable for a number of sporting activities.
While Brasilia offers a wide range of accommodation, hotels are somewhat expensive though huge discounts are often available during bargaining. The Kubitschek Plaza is a five star hotel while the four star hotels include Phenicia Bittar and Royal Tulip. The three star hotels include Bristol, Casablanca, Golden Tulip, Bay Park, Manhattan Plaza, and Brasilia Palace.