"Mangueirense's Sao Paulo Page" São Paulo by mangueirense
São Paulo Travel Guide: 852 reviews and 1,743 photos
Look out the window as your plane descends to S?o Paulo's Guarulhos airport, and you'll see nothing but man-made structures as far as the eye can see. You realize these buildings are not houses, but high-rise towers 15 and 30 stories tall. Estimating conservatively, probably 500 people--a village's worth--live in each one.
Now the largest metropolis in South America--and, with 17 million people spread over 3,000 square miles, the second largest city in the world--S?o Paulo nevertheless sprang from humble beginnings. In 1554, Jesuit priests Jos? de Anchieta and Manoel de N?brega founded a mission with the intent of converting the Tupi-Guarani Indians. For their base they chose a small hill with a view out over the plateau, strategically close to the River Tiet?. The mission grew slowly, developing into a small trading post and then, in the 17th and early 18th century, into a jumping-off point for Bandeirantes expeditions traveling into the interior. (Bandeirantes were bands of warrior-explorers, named for their practice of the carrying a flag, or bandeira.) By 1711 agriculture and trade had developed sufficiently on the plateau for the market town of S?o Paulo to be officially incorporated as a city. It would remain a provincial backwater for another century and a half, but the seeds--literally--of its future prosperity showed up just 12 years later with the arrival of the first coffee plants in Brazil.
The climate and red-clay soil surrounding S?o Paulo turned out to be perfect place for coffee. Large-scale cultivation didn't become possible until the arrival of the railway in 1867, but at that point, coffee cultivation exploded. As world coffee demand grew, the S?o Paulo region kept pace, becoming one the largest coffee exporters in the world.
Most of this coffee was cultivated on slave plantations. When the Lei Aurea (Golden Law) eventually abolished slavery in Brazil in 1888, coffee growers set about looking for an alternate source of labor. S?o Paulo became one of the first cities in Brazil to encourage immigration. First Italians, then Japanese, later eastern Europeans, Spanish, Portuguese, and Germans made the trek to S?o Paulo. In the early days immigrants were virtually required to work on the coffee plantations, but many soon returned to the city and got factory jobs in textiles and other growing industries. To this day S?o Paulo remains the most culturally diverse city in Brazil.
It was during the postwar era that S?o Paulo transformed into the megalopolis it is today. Foreign investment by car companies such as Ford, GM, and Volkswagen transformed the city into the South America's largest car manufacturer. Similar investments were made in other industries. In the mid-'50s S?o Paulo surpassed Rio in population and kept growing, spurred on in the '80s and '90s by a massive influx of migrants from Brazil's poorer northeast. For all the investment in industry, little foresight and rudimentary planning was devoted to the growth of the city. So while wages are the highest in the country, city parks are few and far between, and traffic grinds to a halt at the slightest hint of rain. S?o Paulo may well be the most chaotic city in Brazil.
Not that Paulistas (as the city's residents are known) would see it that way. Paulistas are proud of their work ethic and their "un-Brazilian" efficiency and appetite for responsibility. Rio's loyal Cariocas retort that Paulistas are hopeless when it comes to having fun (and even worse when it comes to sex...but that's another story).
That may be a bit unfair. If Paulistas do seem to lack that Carioca flamboyance, it may just be from want of a place to show it off. Lacking beaches and mountains, Paulistas devote themselves entirely to urban pursuits. Their theater is the best in the country. Dining out is an almost religious observance. Shopping they pursue with the same zealousness as their banderiante forbears sought gold.
One webcam which shows Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo is:
- Pros:good options for nightlife and restaurants...
- Cons:too much traffic, too many people and sometimes violent
- In a nutshell:a place I couln't live in, but to stay for few days it's okay!
After the terminal in New York, this terminal is considered to be one of the largest of the world. It serves directly... more travel advice
São Paulo has two main airports. All international flights arrive at Guarulhos Airport (GRU), 18 1/2 miles (30km)... more travel advice
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Latest São Paulo hotel reviews
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