Driving Etiquette 1
People don't use their horns in Brasilia. We are proud to be a silent city. You only horn in a very special case, to avoid an accident, not to tell people that you exist. In case you are in a traffic jam, don't horn, it's useless and you'll only get people irritated. If you need to advise the car in front of you about something, just flash your lights.
Being horned is quite an offense and a reason for shame in Brasilia : )
The Brasilian architect Oscar...
The Brasilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is a genius: that is out of discussion! The concept of Brasilia has been a surprising masterpiece, by an artistic point of view.The first obstacle to overtake was to transform the excessively dry climate of the plateau into something bearable by human beings (although everybody claims the dry and hot air remains very unpleasant): a lake has been filled, by building a dam. The arch described by the waters is also the basis for designing the arch, whose arrow is defined by the main avenue (paralleled by the Minitsries and the rest of the most important Public Buildings), and the Presidential Palace (Palacio do Planalto) is the terminating point, accompanied by an enormous Brasilian flag. What was not planned was the fact that 200 m away, just behind a low line of shrubs, a large 'favela' raised. Brasilia is an enormous arrow, which is ready to be launched towards the New Frontier: Amazon rainforest.
Every space in Brasilia is thought as the best answer to a specific problem: the city itself is perfectly functional.... if only men were machines! There are special areas for Banks, for Shops, for Amusements, for the Embassies, for Residences, but people like to make thing at their own dimension, not just because it is logical. So Brasilia's initial plan has been disrupted by real life.
The other enormous problem is given by distances. It's impossible - and unuseful - to try to walk in Brasilia, you must have a car, but having a car is not so easy in Brazil (and it would always be arguable by an ecological point of view in any country of the World). So everything is based on public transport - which does not make life easy.
Brasília is located in the central part of Brazil and has been the capital of the country since 1960. It has a population of around 2.5 million and is the seat of the federal government; the president (residing in the Palácio da Alvorada), the Brazilian Supreme Court, and the Brazilian parliament.
Brasília has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its fantastic architecture. The city was constructed between 1956 and 1960 - during the government of President Juscelino Kubitschek – and famous architect Oscar Niemeyer was the principal architect and he has also designed many of Brasilia’s famous buildings. When seen from above, the city's shape resembles an airplane or a butterfly…
In November 2005, I stayed one night in Brasília at Hotel Carlton. The hotel was located in the centre and close to shopping facilities and restaurants. I didn’t have much time in Brasília, but had a glance of some of the famous Niemeyer architecture on my way to and from the airport.
World's Most Dramatic Capital
"Another 'Marvelous City'"
As early as 1823, a year after Brazil declared independence from Portugal, plans were drawn up for a capital city located deep in the interior and named 'Brasilia.'
The idea went unrealised until Juscelino Kubitshek de Olivera made it the focus of his presidency. In just three (3) years, a desolate plain was transformed into what is surely the planet's most dramatic, if not its most beautiful, capital city.
The main buildings -- most designed by Oscar Niemayer, Brazil's world-famous architect -- were complete by 1959. Among them the Catedral Metropolitana is especially striking. (The bell-tower, a gift of the Spanish government, was added later.)
Brasília is the only modern city named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1987).
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I was in Brasilia for just a few hours, between planes from Cuiaba and to Salvador da Bahia. It was a Sunday; a gorgeous young woman in the airport's Embratur kiosk could find no guide to show me the city. I ended up in a taxi with a friendly driver who knew no English whatever. Still, we hit all the main spots, on a glorious early summer day.
I wish I'd been there longer; I intend to go back.
Photos of Brasilia
I took this picture at "Agua Mineral National Park", a huge ecologic park near the center of Brasília. It has trails for trekking and hiking. You'll find many animals that are typical from this region, which vegetation is called "Cerrado" (it is translated as Savanah, I guess).
Also in this park you'll find swimming pools of Mineral water and you sunbathe surrounded by these little monkeys.
Brazilian monkeys are not big, I believe that they are all smaller than chimpanzees.
I'm not sure of how to classify them, but usually, the bigger monkeys are "macacos", smaller ones are "micos" and the very small ones are the "sagüis". Micos are very common in this Park.
Brasilia's red sky in the evening. The building in the back of the picture is one of my favorite ones: the Brazilian Central Bank.