Brasilia : The City of Modern Architecture and Development

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Brasilia : The City of Modern Architecture and Development

The futuristic city of Brasilia remains an architectural monument in itself. It took the title of political and administrative capital of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in 1960. It becomes one of the most recently built capitals in the world but also one of the fastest built cities (2000 days), under the guidance visionary of President Juscelino Kubitschek, architect Oscar Niemeyer, urban planner Lucio Costa and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. From the sky, the design of Brasilia evokes the shape of an airplane (or a hummingbird), with each of its architectural marvels strategically arranged along the Eixo Monumental (which constitutes the fuselage), and its residential blocks and along its spread wings. This follows Lucio Costa's pilot plan. If the city is quite difficult to visit on foot, there are however the attractions that you should not miss on site. Let us delve into the top 10 places worth paying a visit when in Brasilia:

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Brasilia : The City of Modern Architecture and Development

1. The Cathedral of Brasilia

Photo by Arian Zwegers

This modern cathedral is impressive: 16 curved concrete columns weighing 90 tons each make up the structure of the building. The latter is hyperboloid, where robustness and decoration go hand in hand. The architecture resembles Niemeyer's other projects, elegant and simple, but differs from religious buildings with its beautiful blue-green glass panels designed by the Franco-Brazilian artist Marianne Peretti. The entrance to The Cathedral of Brasilia is through the basement, where four giant statues representing the Evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke (left) and John (right) welcome you.

2. The Brasilia Television Tower

The observation deck located 75 m high on the TV tower gives an excellent overview of the city, especially on the Eixo Monumental where there are many attractions. This is indeed not enough to guess the shape of the plane that Brasilia represents from the sky, but the entrance is free.

3. National Congress of Brazil

Photo by brunopnogueira86/

The National Congress of Brazil is composed of several buildings, characterized by the twin towers (the towers of the Parliament's offices), the domed Senate building and the bowl-shaped chamber of deputies. The architectural ensemble is located on the central axis of the city (as can be seen from the TV Tower). The twin towers are deliberately shifted to the left to give a little dynamism to this meticulous city plan. Before the Congress, there is the Three Powers Square which contains the judicial power (Federal Supreme Court) on the left, the legislative power in the center (National Congress) and on the right the executive power (Palazzo del Planalto).

4. Memorial JK

Photo by Marinelson Almeida - Traveling through Brazil

The tomb of JK (of President Juscelino Kubitschek) is located under these strange but beautiful stained glasses designed by the French artist Marianne Peretti, inside the JK Memorial. The museum houses a very personal library of 3,000 books of the former president as well as an illustrated history of Brasília. Do not miss the JK 1973 Ford Galaxy just out the back door.

5. Palace of Dawn

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Official presidential residence, the Palácio da Alvorada is a building of Niemeyer. Palace of Dawn was the first building of the city that got inaugurated in 1958, two years before the very inauguration of the city. Its name means "Palace of Dawn”, referring to JK's description of Brasília as "the new dawn in Brazilian history". The doors are guarded by the elegant Dragons of Independence, soldiers of a special regiment that dates back to the War of Independence.

6. Brasília National Park

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North of the city, the Brasília National Park which measures 30 km² is an excellent place to relax or hike. There are natural pools, and the park is home to many endangered species, including deer, anteaters, giant armadillos and maned wolves. Locals go there on weekends. To get to the Brasília National Park, you can take bus 128.1 from the bus station.

7. Dom Bosco Sanctuary

Photo by Moises.on

The Dom Bosco Sanctuary is made up of 80 concrete columns that support 7500 illuminated Murano glass pieces symbolizing a starry sky, casting a blue underwater glow on the benches. The central chandelier weighs 2.5 tons and contains 435 bulbs! You must absolutely plan your visit to Dom Bosco Sanctuary the next time you visit Brasilia.

8. Itiquira Waterfall

Photo by Felipe Venâncio

The Itiquira waterfall is just over 100 km from the capital. 168 meters high, it is the second largest in Brazil. The sites are protected against development and therefore offer exceptional natural beauty.

◎ Closing

Built-in 1960 in the shape of an airplane silhouette, planned by architect Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia is now the capital of Brazil. The idea of former President Juscelino Kubitschek was to unclog the coast and Rio and bring the center of economic development. The city presents to its visitors the buildings of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. Not far from Brasilia, it is possible to discover the natural beauties of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, the architectural treasures of the city of Goias (Goias Velha) and the hot springs of the Caldas Novas region. A definite addition to your itenary on your next visit to Brazil.