Brasilia is the capital city of the country of Brazil, and is situated within the Federal District. Having only been established in 1960 (prior to which it was barren, arid desert), it is remarkable that Brasilia is home to almost 3 million inhabitants. It has an area of more than 5 800 square kilometres and is surrounded by the state of Goiás. Interestingly, Brasilia is the only city that was founded during the 20th century that has been awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The criteria for this esteemed title are strict, bearing testimony to the innovation and creativity of this modern city.
Brasilia is celebrated for its modern architecture and revolutionary design, which creates an ultra-innovative destination for design enthusiasts.
Visitors to Brasilia will enjoy a Tropical Savannah Climate. The average annual temperature is just over 20 degrees Celsius. The average maximum temperature during September, which is the hottest, driest month, is 28 degrees Celsius. The humidity levels can be high, reaching around 50% in the dry season (which extends from March / April to September / October).
Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
The landscape of Brasilia includes scrubland, forest and savannahs (Cerrado). These various vegetation profiles mean a wide variety of plants and animals that have made Brasilia and its immediate surrounds their home.
During a visit to Brasilia, tourists are encouraged to explore the following activities and attractions:
• Chapada dos Veadeiros – this is a national park and is renowned for its exquisite waterfalls.
• The Cathedral of Brasilia – this modern Roman Catholic cathedral is defined by its hyperboloid structure, which starts out wide at the base, curves inwards and then extends outwards at the top. It is made up of 16 concrete columns and is finished off with a transparent glass roof. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The design of this cathedral was inspired by the imagery of two hands extending upwards, fingers splayed, towards heaven.
• Poço Azul ("Blue Pool") – this natural wonder has been formed out of a quartz rock. Visitors can swim or snorkel in its azure depths. This pool is within the Cafuringa Environmental Protection Area, which is, in itself, a fabulous tourist hotspot.
• The Three Powers Square – this is the site of the National Congress (the seat of legislation), the Planalto Palace (headquarters of executive administration) and the Supreme Federal Court (the seat of judicial authority). These buildings are all distinctive, combining their official nature with a touch of design innovation.
• The Torto River Basin and the Bananal River Basin – both spectacular in their natural beauty.
• Lago do Paranoá (Paranoa Lake) – this is a huge man-made lake, with shores extending for some 80 kilometres. Around it are a number of beautiful and interesting tourist attractions, including the Olympic Centre and the Palace of the Dawn, as well as various embassies and the University of Brasilia.
• Pirenópolis – this is a city that is situated 150 kilometres from Brasilia and is a popular destination for its beautiful waterfalls and fascinating colonial architecture.
• Parque da Cidade Sarah Kubitschek (City Park) – situated within the heart of this ultramodern city, this park is a great retreat for couples, singles and families that want to enjoy a restful break while taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling metropolis around them. Picnic spots are available.
• Parque Nacional de Brasilia (National Park) – with a total area of 74 100 acres (or 30 000 hectares), this park is brimming with local plant- and animal species.
• Palacio da Alvorada – this is the official home of the President of Brazil and covers an impressive 7 000 square metres in area. Its designer, Oscar Niemeyer, used glass extensively, giving the palace an open, modern look and feel.