As one of Brazil’s southern states, Paraná is bordered by São Paulo, the Atlantic Ocean, Santa Catarina, Argentina, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraguay and the Paraná River. It is the ninth largest state in terms of the area it covers, which totals at 199 314.9 square kilometres or 76 955.9 square miles. Significantly, Paraná is home to the araucaria forest, which is one of the world’s most valuable subtropical forests. In addition, it is the home of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Park of Iguaçu. Its capital city is Curitiba, renowned for its excellent quality of life and its undeniable vibe. The entire state has a population of well over 10 million people.
Houses in front of the wharf of the seaside town of Paranagua on the coast of Paraná state in southern Brazil.
As with much of Brazil, the area now known as Paraná was first inhabited by native hunter-gatherer tribes, who were generally displaced by the European explorers that arrived during the 16th and 17th centuries. Then, gold prospectors that had entered the country in search of riches gradually began to move into the region, forming the greater state of São Paulo. Initially, the Jesuits were perched above the Guairá Falls, enjoying prosperity and abundance in their established settlements.
However, the Indian slave hunters of São Paulo soon arrived, forcing the local societies to move en mass to Argentina for safety. It was only in 1843 that the territory of Paraná was established as a separate entity. Soon thereafter, other immigrants arrived from Europe, developing this state significantly. The main nationalities that arrived in the area comprised of Germans, Italians and Ukrainians. There remain high proportions of these nationalities within the population of Paraná, although it is a diverse and complex population.
In terms of its geography, Paraná is divided into 1) a coastal zone, which is rather narrow and boasts the exquisite Serra do Mar forests and 2) a high plateau that measures between 2 500 and 3 000 feet above sea level.
The Araucaria moist forests are peppered around the central and southern parts of Paraná and are acclaimed for being the habitat of a startling array of plants and animals.
There are several very large rivers throughout the state, the most noteworthy of which are the Paranapanema and the Iguaçu rivers. The Iguaçu Falls are breath-taking in their magnitude and beauty, bearing testimony to nature’s immense power. These falls are 215 feet or 66 metres high and consist of approximately 20 individual waterfalls.
Some of the most significant cities in the state are Curitiba, Londrina, Maringá, Foz do Iguaçu and Ponta Grossa.
At over 40%, the service sector is the state’s largest component of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. Closely behind this percentage is the industrial sector. Agriculture is also very important in terms of supporting the economic stability of the state.
Tourists visiting Paraná, Brazil, are urged to visit some (or all) of the following popular attractions:
Aerial view of the Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls). The Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.