"Destination: Capital of Brasil" Brasília by Groentje
Brasília Travel Guide: 95 reviews and 210 photos
Brasilia is a magnificent city from an architectural point of view. I visited it back in 2002, as it was the place where my Brazilian friend lived. It turned out to be a very intriguing place! Construction begain in 1957, as plans to build a brand new capital for Brazil were finally executed, thanks to President Kubtischek, who had made it an electoral promise. The city is built in a very dry place, in the middle of Brasil (a capital should alway be in the centre, if you ask me), replacing Rio de Janeiro as the capital. Before Brasilia, people not from Rio thought that the capital favorised the people from South Brasil, and even before, when the capital was situated in the North, the Southerners thought the Northerners had an advantage, but now that it is in the centre, no one could complain anymore.
I don't know why, but the city has a very energetic feel, by which I mean that they have a sort of positive vibe going on around there. This picture depicts it a little. You can see rainbows all over the place during rainy season (which happened to be when I was there).
As already put, the architecture is magnificent, and they owe it all to Lucio Costa and Ir. Niemeyer, the first making up the overall city plan, the second designing the public buildings. The city plan roughly resembles a bird, with a different area for each type of building. Residential buildings, for instance, are built in the 'wings' of the bird, governmental buildings are lined up in the nave. There's a limit to how high buildings can become and I believe also the colours of the houses are strictly regulated. Shops can only be in one shopping street per block (one block being a part of a residential area), hotels are all centralised in the middle of the place.
This also has its disadvantages, of course: everything seems very similar, and I would never find the way by myself; I did not see any bikes while I was there, and the city seems very hard to do by foot. You very much need a car to go round, even though it's not that big. And when you do have a car: be very careful, as it seemed that you had to know the town well before you could get around easily.
The picture on the right shows Brasilia as seen from the big TV Aerial in the middle of town. You can see the frightening roads, the hotels to the left and right, and right in the back you can see the government buildings (Parliament in the middle, all ministeries to the left and right of the main roads) and way in the back you can see the Paranoa river which goes around Brasilia.
I was told that people are lured here by huge salaries, but that most of them flee the city whenever they get a chance. Remember that in the centre, most people work in administration and many don't seem to like Brasilia at all, but stay because they earn a more than decent living. I got the impression from locals, though, that they really like living there, and are proud of their capital.
Seriously, can you imagine it? This town didn't even exist in 1950 and was built in only a small number of years! It generated an impulse to go and settle inland, and many people have come to live here (some 2 million people live in greater Brasilia now). As plans were laid out to build the city, the area was considered too dry, so they decided to build a lake to humidify the region. It is called Lake Paranoa, and was formed by a dam on the river Paranoa. Click on the picture to get a nice view on the lake (I still think it's a great picture :-) ).
My friend and her friends were very proud to be able to welcome me in their city, which they rightfully see as a true wonder.
- Pros:Amazing architecture, not too crowded and did I mention the architecture??
- Cons:People a bit more reserved, not too much green, only doable by car
- In a nutshell:Come by car to see this marvel of human urban planning
This is where the most important government buildings are situated. Brasilia's inhabitants are mainly occupied in... more travel advice
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