Monday, September 6, 2010


Brasília is the capital of Brazil. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 (3,599,000 in the metropolitan area) as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the fourth largest city in Brazil, ahead of Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. However, as a metropolitan area, it ranks lower at sixth. It is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Brasília hosts 91 foreign embassies.

The city is a world reference for urban planning. The locating of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, of building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, has sparked a debate and reflection on life in big cities in the 20th century. The city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, including accommodation, Hotel Sectors North and South. However, new areas are now being developed as locations for hotels, such as the Hotels and Tourism Sector North, located on the shores of Lake Paranoá.

President Juscelino Kubitschek ordered the construction of Brasília, fulfilling an article of the country's constitution dating back to 1891 stating that the capital should be moved from Rio de Janeiro to a place close to the center of the country. Lúcio Costa won a contest and was the main urban planner. Oscar Niemeyer, a close friend of Lúcio's, was the chief architect of most public buildings and Roberto Burle Marx was the landscape designer. Brasília was built in 41 months, from 1956 to April 21, 1960, when it was officially inaugurated.

When seen from above, the main planned part of the city's shape resembles an airplane or a butterfly.

The Brazilian capital is the only city in the world built in the 20th century to be awarded (in 1987) the status of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations. It also holds the distinction of waiting the shortest amount of time to be designated a World Heritage Site of any UNESCO entry, which occurred just 27 years after its completion in 1960.

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