Brasilia (Brazil)



Brasilia is the capital of Brazil, located in the central part of the country. The city was specially built in 1956 to replace Rio de Janeiro as the capital of Brazil.

Brasilia was designed by legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer and urbanist Lucio Costa. The city has a unique design, with major government and institutional buildings along wide, straight streets and boulevards that were designed to improve vehicular traffic.

Brasilia is also the cultural center of Brazil, with many museums, theaters and exhibition halls. The city is also famous for its nature and parks, such as the National Park of Brasilia, the Botanical Gardens of Brasilia, and the Sara Kubitschek City Park.

The city is one of the largest cities in Brazil, with a population of more than 2.5 million people. Brasilia is also an important business center and economic giant in South America.

If we look at a map, we see that Brasilia has grown close to the geographical center of the country, on the Brazilian Plateau, a considerable distance from the coast, at an average altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level.

The Brazilians have long had the idea of relocating the capital. The fact is that in this way residents hoped to finally create a city that would not have the typical problems of other Brazilian cities.

Namely, pollution, incredible population density and uncomfortable overcrowding of buildings, eternal traffic jams and multiplying around the wealthy centers of unmanageable, disease-ridden areas of poverty with off-scale crime and drug addiction – favelas. The relocation of the capital was perceived in a symbolic spirit – the new place resembled a blank slate from which history could be tried again, without repeating past mistakes.


John Bosco heard a heavenly voice that prophesied that this place was the promised land for Brazilians, which would lead them to riches. There are many opinions about this information, but the fact is that the new capital of Brazil grew up on the very spot that John Bosco saw in his dream. The angel even gave the exact coordinates of the future city: between 15 and 20 degrees south latitude. And Brasilia is indeed between 15 and 16 degrees, in the central-western region of the country, on the shores of the promised lake they were artificial reservoir Paranoa.

Plans to relocate the capital were at the Portuguese colonialists, but the first project in 1789 was rejected in 1822 was proclaimed the independence of Brazil from Portugal, and then revived the idea of building a new capital. A whole party of supporters of this idea was formed, whose efforts by 1891 included a special article in the first Constitution of the country. It stated that a new capital city should be created and that the Federal District surrounding it should be located in the state of Goyas, in the center of the country – on a rectangular piece of land. It had to be found, by the way, in jungle-infested and largely undeveloped Brazil.

So the myth of the new capital and its political and social well-being began to be superimposed on the economic myth: in an unexplored region, far from the settled coast, the dream was to discover new wealth – the unrealized potential for a leap in the development of the country. But then again, the ruling remained an idea from the realm of fantasy. To bring the dream closer to reality, the “first stone” was solemnly laid in the chosen place in 1922 – and once again work stood still.
Today this memorable place absorbed one of the satellite cities of Brasilia.

A visionary who was not afraid to take responsibility for the implementation of a great national idea only appeared in our time. He was Julino Kubitschek de Oliveira (1902-1976), former mayor of Belo Horizonte, who in 1955 made the realization of this plan part of his successful presidential campaign, proclaiming that “it is time to stop clinging to the coast like slaves. The new city, he said, would, “like a stone thrown,” set off “waves of progress” across the country.

Kubitschek was determined enough to realize his vision: When he came to power in 1956, he started the great construction project, promising his compatriots that the move would take place in four years, by 1960. Opponents warned: Kubitschek’s promise of “50 years of progress in 5” could turn into “40 years of inflation in 4” for the country. Still, in April 1960, the inauguration of the new capital took place.

The capital of Brazil

The ideologist of the planning was the outstanding Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (born 1907-2012) – a friend of the president was in his homeland a messenger of the most avant-garde ideas of modern architecture and a principled communist. He was building an ideal city, a living space that was meant to make life not only comfortable, but also happy. Although the general plan of the city in the form of an airplane belongs to the major architect Lucio Costa (1902-1998), the most outstanding buildings of the new capital were indeed created by Niemeyer.

In order not to contrast the traditionally richer center with the poorer periphery, the city has no center at all. Instead, it is zoned residential, government, business, shopping, and hotel quarters. In the residential quarters, socialism was generally conceived: so that no one would be offended, the blocks (superquadras) for permanent residence were made with the same facades, the same height, with an equal number of amenities. The apartments were thought to be of the size that the family needed, based on the number of children in it. The children who grew up in the new – harmonious conditions were supposed to have the best human qualities. They were supposed to spread the ideas of the capital throughout the country and build a new Brazil – “the cradle of a new civilization.

But in practice, things did not turn out so rosy. The population perceived the innovations differently and has since divided into Braziliaphiles and Braziliaphobes. The first like the lack of traffic jams, cleanliness and environmental friendliness, good infrastructure, convenience and peace. The latter are irritated by their dependence on the car, because for pedestrians the city is convenient except in the parks. It’s a long commute to work from the residential areas. The sameness of the buildings suggests anonymity, not equality. They try to create diversity by painting facades and shutters. And the lack of noise gives the city, in their opinion, a soullessness.

People began to remake the perfect city for themselves, not so perfect. Stores sprang up in residential neighborhoods so they wouldn’t have to go to the shopping districts to shop. The rich built luxurious villas on the shores of Lake Paranoa. Luxury clubs opened, while the idea of public houses of culture hardly caught on. The capital quickly became overgrown with the notorious favelas, as the workers who built the city did not want to leave, and they could not afford the rather expensive housing they had built. So crime in the capital is still there, and its level is quite high. But there really are no traffic jams, although together with the suburbs, the city’s population is already several times greater than it was designed for.

The central government authorities are based here: the President and the National Congress (the federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies). Many government buildings can be toured, but you have to be decently dressed to do so. A subway connects the city center to some satellite cities, and bus service and the airport to other parts of the country. Whatever the results, Brasilia remains the greatest urban planning and human experiment. And the memory of its creator, President Kubitschek, is memorialized by his friend Niemeyer erected a memorial that recreates the president’s office in Rio, displays his ceremonial suit and a black marble sarcophagus decorated with the exhaustive inscription: “To the Founder.”

General Information

  • Date of foundation: April 21, 1960.
  • Administrative-territorial division: 30 administrative districts in the Federal District and 3 areas in the central part of the city itself (North Wing, South Wing, Experimental Plan).
  • Language: Portuguese.
  • Ethnicity: predominantly mulatto Brazilians (descendants of whites and Africans).
  • Religion: predominantly Catholicism.
  • Currency unit: Brazilian real.
  • Airport: Brasilia international airport named after President Juscelino Kubitschek.
  • Area: 5802 km2.
  • Population: 2 562 963 (2010).
  • Population density: 441.7 persons/km2.
  • Brasilia is the fourth-largest city in Brazil in terms of population.


  • GRP: 99.5 billion reals (more than 3.5% of Brazilian GDP).
  • Industries: construction industry, food industry, publishing, software, furniture manufacturing, processing, pharmaceuticals, film and video industry (exclusively green industries).
  • Agriculture: crop production (coffee, guava, strawberries, orange, lemon, papaya, soybeans, mangoes), dairy farming.
  • The sphere of services: tourism, financial, transport.

Climate and weather

  • Tropical.
  • Average temperature in January: +19.1°C.
  • Average temperature of July: +21.6°C.
  • Average annual precipitation: 1552 mm.


  • Central Ensembles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The building of the National Congress of Brazil, the building of the Supreme Court. Native People’s Memorial (1987), Bridge Juscelino Kubicek (2000-2002), the Square of the Three Powers, TV Tower (1965), the central street Monumental Axis, the church Bosco House (1963).
  • Buildings by Oscar Niemeyer: Catholic Cathedral (1958-1960), the presidential palace (1958-1960), the Palace of the Foreign Ministry (1960-1970), the Pantheon of Homeland and Liberty (1985-1986), the National Theater (1966), a monument to President Zuselin Kubichek (1981).
  • Parks and gardens: National Park of Brasilia (1961), Botanical Garden of Brasilia, Sara Kubitschek City Park (1978).
  • Museums: Kandang Living Museum (1956), Cultural Republican Complex with the National Museum and the National Library (1960), Numismatic Museum of the Central Bank.

Fun Facts

  • The origin of the name of the country and then of the capital, Brasilia, is most probably due to the Portuguese name of a variety of mahogany tree native to Brazil: Caesalpinia hedgehog, or fernambush tree. In Portuguese the tree is called pau brazil, “pau” meaning “tree” and the qualification “brazil” (from the Portuguese “braza”, i.e. “heat”) indicating its color, “red as coal”. The wood of this plant was used to make paint and was also used to make furniture and musical instruments. The correct word is “Brazil”, but for some reason even in the official sources have stuck not quite correct version of the transcription of the name.
  • The Cathedral of Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia supports 16 columns weighing 90 tons. This is only a small part of the building: many of its rooms are underground. The author of the building dreamed that it would in some miraculous way unite all the religions taking place in Brazil. But this did not happen: the cathedral became purely Catholic and was called Catedral Metropolitana de Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Blessed Virgin Mary). The view of the temple from above resembles a flower. The stained glass creates a mystical play of light in the center of the cathedral, so that those entering seem to pass a symbolic way to God, gradually emerging from the darkness of the hall into the light.
  • It was thought that officials would work better in a capital devoid of seaside spirit and entertainment. And in practice, they say, there have been situations where these same officials have fought over tickets to Rio de Janeiro at least for the weekend. And some managed to leave the service for longer periods of time, so that a quorum was not always reached at meetings.
  • It has been noticed that the national council building replicates the shape of the ancient Egyptian temple of Ramses II. The founders of the city did not hide their sympathy for the architecture of Ancient Egypt and believed that the new is born of the well forgotten old.
  • The Square of the Three Powers got its name because it symbolically overlooks the buildings belonging to the three branches of power in the country: the Presidential Administration. Congress and the Supreme Court. Niemeyer himself, the author of the ensemble, was recently banned from decorating it with another obelisk. After all, the entire square has become a UNESCO monument, i.e. it is considered to be already quite perfect and does not need further improvement.
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