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Brasilia

Under the deep blue sky of Brazil's central plateau, Brasília was built in two thousand days to be the nation's focus of power. Inaugurated by ex-President Juscelino Kubitschek on April 21st, 1960, the Brazilian capital is the best known of the cities that were planned during the 20th century and is a landmark in contemporary town planning and modern architecture. The major players in the history of Brasília were ex-President Juscelino Kubitschek, who launched the competition to select the project for the new city and made huge efforts to see it built during his term, the town planner Lucio Costa, winner of the competition and creator of the Pilot Plan for Brasília and the architect Oscar Niemeyer responsible for the city's main architectural works.

Discover more about Brasilia

The City

Under the deep blue sky of Brazil's central plateau, Brasília was built in two thousand days to be the nation's focus of power. Inaugurated by ex-President Juscelino Kubitschek on April 21st, 1960, the Brazilian capital is the best known of the cities that were planned during the 20th century and is a landmark in contemporary town planning and modern architecture. The major players in the history of Brasília were ex-President Juscelino Kubitschek, who launched the competition to select the project for the new city and made huge efforts to see it built during his term, the town planner Lucio Costa, winner of the competition and creator of the Pilot Plan for Brasília and the architect Oscar Niemeyer responsible for the city's main architectural works.

Although it has been in existence for just under forty years, Brasília is the result of long-standing dreams. In 1823, its name had already been put forward by José Bonifácio to the General Constituent Assembly of the Empire which was considering installing the Federal Capital in the Brazilian interior. As well as being that visionary's dream, the Brazilian capital was also inspired by the prophecy of a saint: in 1883, Dom João Bosco, a Salesian priest living in Turin, Italy, revealed that a new civilization would emerge in the centre of Brazil, somewhere between the 15th and 20th parallels.

The new Federal District attracted workers from all the regions of Brazil; these were the so-called "candangos" (labourers) who were responsible for the building of the city. Twenty seven years after the inauguration of Brasília, the efforts of the thousands of workers involved were recognized by UNESCO when the city was declared as being a Heritage of Mankind in 1987.

Situated in the Centre-West region in an area ceded by the state of Goiás, Brasília is bordered by the Rivers Preto to the east and Descoberto to the west, bringing together in an area of 5,822 km2, a population of 2 million inhabitants. Living together democratically in the city's squared configuration are politicians of various persuasions, diplomats from the most far-flung countries and civil servants of all ranks. However, the fact of their living together does not remove the contrasts: the satellite towns where thousands live are advancing in a disorderly fashion around the Pilot Plan with its broad, tree-planted spaces, the distant horizon, the north and south lakes and the succession of arches and curves that form the architecture of the city.

The visitor to Brasília cannot miss visiting the Esplanada dos Ministérios and the Praça dos Três Poderes, location of National Congress (seat of legislative power), the Planalto Palace (head quarters of executive administration) and the Supreme Federal Court (judicial authority). These are often the subject of picture postcards that together with the Alvorada Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Palace of Justice and the Itamaraty Palace, amongst other buildings, have become tourist attractions.

As a complement to the beauty of the architectural landscape, Brasília contains the highest concentration per square metre of works by the best-known Brazilian artists. This high density of works of art is on display in the gardens designed by Burle Marx which lend beauty to the official buildings; they take the form of statues by Ceschiatti, panels by Athos Bulcão, Di Cavalcanti's mural and Bruno Giorgio's sculptures which adorn the public buildings. Centre stage for Brazil's major political decisions, the Federal Capital also has 24 museums that tell its own story and trace Brazil's course through history. Most notable amongst these museums are the JK Memorial Museum, the Catetinho Museum, the Museum of the Indian and the Museum of North-Eastern Arts and Traditions.

Much more than just a parade of palaces and works of art, Brasília is also a magical discovery because of the beauty of the natural world that surrounds it - the cerrado (scrublands) with its twisted trees, the hidden waterfalls, grottoes, lakes, natural swimming pools, caverns and nature trails that constantly surprise the visitor with their rare species of fauna and flora. A total of 42% of the territory of the Federal District is of environmental protection areas.

Amongst these natural attractions is the Brasília National Park which includes the basins of the Rivers Torto and Bananal with landscapes formed by open country, scrublands and ciliary forests, as well as two mineral water swimming-pools with excellent supporting services. It is an environmental reserve with a museum containing local species of fauna and flora. A little further away from the centre of the Federal Capital is the Poço Azul ("Blue Pool") with its clear blue waters forming a pool contained in a rock of quartz; there is also the Mumunhas waterfall with its natural swimming pools and rocky profile. Both of these are situated in the Cafuringa Environmental Protection Area which contains a total of nine caves and grottoes.

Night Life

Brasilia offers a number of bars, cafes, restaurants, churrascarias and night clubs, as a consequence of a large middle class plus plenty of students, politicians, press and civil servants. Prices are comparatively steep for Brazil. Locals find entertainment options in the malls of the city. Most of them offers movie theaters, live bands, attractions with local artists and happy hour. Videokes can be easily found in the barzinhos (small bars). As there is a large number of northeasterners, some nights are devoted to Forró. Try Music Hall Caffé or Universal Diner.

history

Since the second half of the 18th century, Brazil's governing authorities considered, with varying degrees of intensity, transferring the seat of government from Rio de Janeiro to some inland area, safe from naval attacks. The first Republican constitution (1891) went as far as defining where the future Federal District would be - a rectangle within the State of Goiás, in the heart of the country. But it was not until 1956, after eight years of surveying, that the actual design and construction of the new Capital began under President Juscelino Kubitschek. The site chosen for Brasilia is located in the Federal District and comprises 2,245 sq. miles (5,814 sq. km) of a sparsely inhabited plateau carved out of the State of Goiás, 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) above sea level and 746 miles (1,200 km) from Rio de Janeiro. The competition for the urban master plan was won by Brazilian architect and urban planner, Lúcio Costa. The major government buildings were designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx planned the layout and selection of plant varieties to add a vivid green backdrop to the otherwise dry, yellow landscape of the savanna vegetation. On April 21, 1960, Brasília was officially inaugurated and started functioning as the new capital of Brazil.

Restaurants

Arabian Food
Lagash
SCLN 308/309 bl. B lj. 11/13 - Asa Norte Phone 273-0098
Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12h to 16h + 19h to 24h; on Sundays from 12h to 18h; closes on Mondays.


Barbecue

Francisco
CLS 402 bl. B lj. 9 - Asa Sul Phone 321-0769
Daily from 12h to 24h.

Lake's Baby Beef
SHIS QI 9, bl. E, lj. 24/48 - Lago Sul Phone 248-3426
Mondays through Saturdays from 12h to 16h + 19h to 01h; on Sundays from 12h to 17h.

Porcão
SCES Trecho 2 cj 35 - Setor Restaurantes III Phone 223-2002


Brazilian Food

Antigamente
SCES TR 4, cj. 5, lt. 1-B - Asa Sul Phone 316-6967
Mondays through Saturdays from 11h30 to 22h and on Sundays 11h30 to 18h.

Trem da Serra
Nucleo Rural - Sobradinho II, 46 Phone 501-0034
Tuesdays + Thursdays through Saturdays from 12h to 24h, on Sundays from 12h to 17h; closes on Mondays and Wednesdays.


French Food

Le Bateau Ivre
SHIS QI 23, cj. 8, casa 20 - Lago Sul Phone 366-3153
Tuesdays through Thursdays from 20h to 24h; Fridays and Saturdays from 12h to 15h + 20h to 24h; on Sundays from 12h to 16h; closes on Mondays.

La Chaumiére
CLS 408 bl. A, lj. 13 - Asa Sul Phone 242-7599
Tuesdays through Thursdays from 12h to 15h + 19h/24h; on Saturdays from 19h to 24h; on Sundays from 12h to 15h; closes on Mondays.


German Food

Fritz
CLS 404 bl. D lj. 35 - Asa Sul Phone 223-4622
Mondays through Saturdays 12h to 24h and on Sundays 12h to 17h.

Bier Fass
SHIS QI 05 Bl. E Loja 52 / 53 - Centro Comercial Gilberto Salomão Phone 248-3400
Mondays from 16h to 24h; Tuesdays through Sundays from 12h to 2h.


International Food

À Capitu
CLS 403, bl. D, lj. 20 - Asa Sul Phone 223-0080
Daily from 12h to 2h.

Carpe Diem
SCLS 104 Bl. D Loja 01 Phone 225-8883
Daily from 12h till the last client.


Italian Food

Villa Borghese
CLS 201 bl. A, lj. 33 - Asa Sul Phone 226-5650
Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12h to 15h + 19h/24h; on Sundays from 12h to 17h; closes on Mondays.

La Via Vecchia Ristorante
SHS Qd. 02 Bl. I - Bonaparte Hotel Phone 321-7635
Mondays through Fridays from 12h to 15h + 19h to 24h; on Saturdays from 19h to 24h; closes on Sundays.

Piantella
CLS 202, bl. A, lj.34 - Asa Sul Phone 224-9408
Mondays through Saturdays from 12h to 16h + 19h to 2h; on Sundays from 12h to 17h.

Partenopea
CLS 402 bl. C, lj.15 - Asa Sul Phone 323-1029
Mondays through Saturdays from 12h to 24h; on Sundays from 12h to 17h.


Japanese Food

Koto
CLS 201 bl. C, lj.11 - Asa Sul Phone 226-6563
Sundays through Mondays from 12h to 14h30 + 19h to 23h30; closes on Saturdays.

Taiyo
SHN Qd. 2, bl. A - Asa Norte Phone 319-3536
Mondays through Saturdays from 19h to 1h; closes on Sundays.


Pizza

Quattrocento
CLS 408, bl. C, lj. 25 - Asa Sul Phone 244-9806
Mondays through Fridays from 19h to 1h; Saturdays and Sundays from 12h to 15h30 + 19h to 1h.


Portuguese Food

Mouraria
CLS 404, bl.B, lj.35 - Asa Sul Phone 224-6405
Mondays through Saturdays from 12h to 16h + 19h to 24h; on Sundays from 11h30 to 17h.


Sea Food

Salamanca
CLS 112, bl. B, lj. 37 - Asa Sul Phone 346-8212
Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12h to 14h + 18h to 24h; on Sundays from 12h to 17h; closes on Mondays.

general info

TELEPHONE AREA CODE:
61

CLIMATE:
Brasilia is located on a highland and has a dryer climate therefore. Temperatures are some degrees cooler than the coast line. The climate ranges between "tropical savannas" and "temperate rainy climate with a dry winter season" (Jul-Sep).

CLOTHING:
Appropriately enough for a city where politics and business play such an important role, suit and ties dominates in certain areas. Although tourists have nothing to do with it and will not feel out of place in long trousers and a (polo-)shirt. Few of Brasilia's night spots require formal attire. There again, it's rather the occasion. It can get very hot and dry during day and very cool at night.

ELECTRICITY:
The electric current in Brasilia is 220 volts, 60 cycles, alternating current.

AIRPORT: Brasilia International Airport - Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek
The airport is located 11km (7 miles) south of Brasilia
Airport code: BSB
Number of terminals: 2
Telephone: (61) 364-9181
Time zone: GMT- 3 (GMT- 2 October-March)

BUSINESS HOURS:
Most offices and stores are open from 9h to 18h, Mondays through Fridays. Stores are also open on Saturday from 10h to 13h, while most of the large shopping centers, open Mondays through Saturdays from 10h to 22h. Some shoppings also open on Sundays. Brasilia has a number of 24-hour convenience stores, many of which are located at, or close to, main gas stations. Banks are open Mondays through Fridays from 10h to 16h.
Please note that Brasilia practically stops working on Thursdays nights, when all Politicians leave the city to their "datschas" (yes, any relation with the russian apparatschiks is no mere coinicidence).


TAXIS:
Taxis can not be simply hailed in the streets, as in Rio or São Paulo. They stand at their point at the airports and hotels or can booked by phone. They cost a bit more since they travel back empty.

MEDICAL:
Check with your hotel for information on the nearest.

how to get there

Air: With so many domestic flights making a stopover in Brasilia it's easy to catch a plane to reach or to get out of the city at almost any time.
There are two buses marked "Aeroporto" that go from the city bus station (rodoviaria) to the airport every 15 minutes. The fare is around USD 1.00 and it takes about 35 minutes. The taxi costs approximately USD 20.00

Bus: The giant rodoferroviaria (for long-distance buses) is due west of the centre. There are buses to the other main states capitals but also to places you've never heard of! Check with your hotel concierge about the best bus to get you from the city bus station (rodoviaria) to the rodoferroviaria.

Car: There are car rental agencies at the airport.

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