South America

What is the Capital of Brazil?

Ministry of External Relations
Brasília Church

Brasília Church

Congress

Congress

While traveling abroad, people usually make mistakes about the real capital of Brazil. They say a whole range of names (including Buenos Aires, which is the capital of Argentina…) but never say Brasília. Well, as a Brazilian, it is a must for me to write about my country’s capital, which I have already been to about five times and one I wish to live in soon. Moreover, when people come to Brazil, rarely do they visit Brasília. They obviously focus on the seaside of Brazil with all of its natural beauties. As Go Girl gathers all types of travelers and readers, why not present a different side of Brazil, a city that has no beach but that is full of history?

To write about Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is to talk about Brazilian history itself. Brasília became the federal capital in 1960, having Salvador and Rio de Janeiro as its predecessors. The changing of the capital to the Central-West part of Brazil was a promise made by the president, Juscelino Kubitschek, in which he wanted to develop the country (50 years worth of development in only 5) and move forward along with modernity through industrialization. Until then, Brazil had a huge disparity between the rural north and the industrialized south, leaving the Central-West an empty region that did nothing to connect the extremes of Brazil. Brasília is the symbol of the prosperous feelings created by Kubitschek’s government. The economic growth and the investments in infrastructure was a way for Brazil to be seen itself as a country of the future.

The futuristic focus is seen in its architecture. Brasília is a planned city that combined the ideas of two great architects: Lúcio Costa, who planned the city, and Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the city and its buildings. Brasília is compared to the shape of an airplane, the wings being the residential and commerical areas and the body of the aircraft being the area where the governmental buildings are located.

Schematic of Brasilia, from Wikimedia Commons

The end of the 1950’s was a memorable moment for Brazil. The construction of a brand new capital from scratch, with such a contemporary feel, made the Brazilians gain hope in the country. It is during this period that new and modern attitudes started to grow in Brazilian society as a whole. Not only in architecture, but also in the movie industry (Cinema Novo) and in the music (Bossa Nova), Brazil was developing itself, shaping its national identity even more to become the one known overseas.

Brasília is definitely the most unique city I have ever traveled to. The modern architecture is a must-see to everyone who comes to Brazil. The city also offers good leisure activities, with good parks, lakes and swimming pool clubs. On Sundays, the main road is closed so that the residents can run, walk or bike around. There are great restaurants and important cultural events. Although it is a calm city, where the vast majority of Brazilian civil servants as all the governmental offices (presidency, congress, ministries) are located there, is it also a good place to see a special side of Brazil: a city that shows a thriving country.

National Museum

National Museum

JK Bridge

JK Bridge

Patricia Galves Derolle
Local organizer, São Paulo
Patricia is a post-graduate student of International Relations who was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Her first overseas experience was a solo trip, in 2007, to Europe, where she took an internship in Brussels, and traveled all around for 45 days. Since then, she’s been around the world!

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