Brasília, the country’s...
Brasília, the country’s recently built capital is a great tourist attraction. Niemeyer designed it in a futuristic style, with gardens and wide avenues. Located on a plateau, it has a dry, temperate climate, pleasant throughout the year. Sightseeing tours of the city include a visit to the National Theater, built like a pyramid; the Congress Plaza ; and many other interesting spots.
Everything in Brasilia is...
Everything in Brasilia is "off the beaten path", because there are no beaten paths. In the picture, you see the area between the "Business" area and the Public Authorities (autarquias) buildings. The Cathedral is also in that area.
Christmas in Brasilia
Went to visit my father who is a geologist who moved to Brazil in 1996. First time I experienced Christmas in a hot country. I took my 7-year old daughter who had a great time swimming in my father's pool and playing with Jade, the daughter of my Dad's new girlfriend, Patricia.
This was the happiest Christmas I ever had! Went home on New Year's Day just as the snow began to fall on the most famous of Toronto winters, the one of 1999; the year Mel Lastman called in the army to help clear the city of snow.
This began a year of the most dramatic changes of my life!
Destination: Capital of Brasil
"A truly modern place"
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).
"A planned city"
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.
TWINE's Brasilia Page
"To go or not to go, this is question!" There is some controversy about Brasilia - some say it is worthwhile a visit, others say it should be avoided. Well, I have been there, and I was really disappointed!
OK, probably everyone knows about Brasila's history - in the 50s, the brazilian president Kubitscheck decided to make a new captial for the country, and after about a decade of construction accordig to the plans of the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, the city was build and became the new political center of Brazil.
While the story and the basic idea have to be admired, the result, however, simply can't; even Niemeyer had his doubts later. I think Brasila could have been great if people had paid more attention to art and beauty, so Niemeyer should have been more inspired by spanish architects like Gaudi (Barcelona) or Manrique (Lanzarote).
To me it looks like a great chance was wasted, and I can only hope that one day some brazilians have the courage to remodel the city.
If you really have the time, you should come to Brasilia and look for yourself. Just don't expect too much. Far from the coast, it will take some extra efforts to reach Brasilia, and I would say it is only worthwhile if you add some other sites to your trip.