Why Brasília is worth a visit
Posted in: Featured
While tourists flock to Rio De Janeiro and other coastal cities of Brazil, there is one city that is well worth visiting, a UNESCO World Heritage Site even.
The city of Brasilia situated in the Central Highlands. Here’s why we highly recommend you visit.
Brasilia is a product of the 1950s and the futuristic outlook much of the world had at this time. A post-war fashion for building bigger and better than before.
With a booming economy and a need for a new federal government district, Brasilia is an entirely planned city and as much of it was built at the same time it has quite a striking look about it.
The main structure of the city was completed in just 4 short years and by 1960 President Juscelion Kubitschek was ready to open the doors to further expansion and progression.
Many consider Brasilia to be a memorial to his vision and leadership.
Shaped like a giant bird, Brasilia has a number of zones for different sectors and industries.
There’s a zone for banking, a zone for commerce, one for healthcare and hosting, parliament buildings and civil service departments. Linking all of these together is the “Monumental Axis” which sounds more ominous than it is.
This Eixo Monumental leads all the way to the main government buildings with the wings of the bird offering residential districts, mostly apartment blocks. Where all these residential areas meet is where you’ll find the commercial heart of the town with restaurants, hotels and the beautiful cathedral with 6 spires reaching up to the heavens.
As the city is situated up in the highlands away from its popular and fairly overcrowded coastal cousins, its developed a culture and style all of its own.
It was never intended as a tourist destination but over the decades has developed a new perspective on Brazilian living that lures tourists away from the beaches and up in to the cooler highland city.
Of course, like most planned cities, the idea of a brave new utopian city never quite materialised. Some calling the city a failed project and maybe this was true in the years after its conception.
But the city has grown beyond its bright beginning and its modern and forward thinking style is what people love about this capital city.
Understand the Brasilia layout
Getting around Brasilia can be a little daunting at first as the districts are given acronyms.
The main monumental axis road splits the city in to north and south. So the acronyms end with either an N for north or an S for south.
Here’s a quick guide to what they all mean.
- SHS/SHN – Hotel sectors
- SCS/SCN – Commercial sectors
- SQS/SQN – Residential sectors
- CLS/CLN (or SCLS/SCLN) – Local commerce sectors
- SES/SEN – Embassies sector
What to see and do
As this is a governmental city no visit would be complete without a visit to the central government buildings.
The Three Powers Square can be found at the eastern end of the Monumental Axis. So called because the three main authorities can be found here.
The Congress, the Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court. If you’re visiting in late April you’re in for a treat as the sun rises right between the two towers of the Congress building.
The monumental axis built to fac the sun on the 21st April each year. In this area you’ll find statues to both leaders and the people of Brazil.
There’s also a small but very interesting museum about the late Juscelino Kubitshek and the Eternal Flame monument. Well worth checking out.
One of the greatest draws to the city is the architecture, you can see this all over the city. Just take a walk, or a short subway ride to the various districts to see fantastic examples of abstract and post-modern building designs all around you.
While some may be a futuristic look from the eyes of 60s architects, the city has remained true to its styling and more modern buildings continue this theme.
How to get there
Its very easy to fly in to Brasilia of course. Most international flights will take you to Rio De Janeiro or Sao Paulo where you can easily connect with a flight from TAM, the local carrier and biggest airline in Brazil.
Flight times from Sao Paulo are just 1 hour 45 minutes with similar duration from Rio too.
You can also fly with TAM from major international cities. From London the flight time, including a connecting flight in Sao Paulo is around 16 hours total.