Brasilia, Brasil

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - Contents - BY MAYTE MARIA JIMENEZ PHO­TOS AU­GUSTO C. B. AREAL & DAMJAN PRELOVÄIEK

The Prophecy of a City of the Fu­ture

Half a cen­tury later, the po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal of the South Amer­i­can giant na­tion con­tin­ues to be a city of the fu­ture, a ref­er­ence of moder­nity and avant-garde ar­chi­tec­ture. It was built on an air­craft-shape ba­sis point­ing to the south­east where both the Con­gress and Se­nate build­ings are on the top as the na­tion’s in­sti­tu­tional guides.

Ur­ban de­vel­oper Lu­cio Costa and ar­chi­tect Os­car Niemeyer were the stars of this dream come true. Costa was in charge of the lay­outs, while Niemeyer cre­ated most of the build­ings and nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties to re­lo­cate the Brazil­ian cap­i­tal in 190 af­ter 1 months of hard work.

Huge 8-lane av­enues in­ter­twine be­tween the ma­jes­tic squares and the mod­ern palaces, giv­ing the ci­tyscape a fu­tur­ist and bal­anced touch that pro­vides visi­tors with the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral spec­ta­cle and the enig­mas of a cos­mopoli­tan burg.

The com­pound’s cen­tral part is made up of the so­called Palace of the Three Pow­ers, fea­tur­ing the Planalto Palace which is part of the city’s pi­lot plan and was one of the first fu­tur­ist build­ings ever con­structed there. Next to it, the Con­gress and Jus­tice De­part­ment head­quar­ters stand tall. This space is as­so­ci­ated to the cock­pit of that imag­i­nary air­plane in which the fuse­lage is shown as a vast av­enue all lo­cals know as the Min­istries Plaza

One of the most strik­ing ar­chi­tec­tural com­pounds cre­ated by Niemeyer is the Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral, a hy­per­boloid struc­ture of 16 re­in­forced con­crete col­umns, all of them iden­ti­cally as­sem­bled and in which the glass ceil­ing seems to show two mov­ing hands open­ing up to the sky.

AMONG LAKES, BRIDGES AND BEACHES

Given its sin­gu­lar­ity and ar­chi­tec­tural beauty, UNESCO de­clared Brasilia World Cul­tural Her­itage back in 1987. Among the first struc­tures built in this new Brazil­ian cap­i­tal, the Palace of Dawn, on the banks of the Para­noa River, is just an­other stand­out.

For many, this place gives the im­pres­sion of be­ing a glass box that rests on the ground on thin outer pil­lars and cov­er­ing some 7,000 square me­ters of to­tal sur­face.

Mean­while, the Don Bosco Sanc­tu­ary –opened in 1963– recre­ate 16-me­ter-high arches that frame glass win­dows in

GIVEN ITS PE­CU­LIAR­ITY AND AR­CHI­TEC­TURAL BEAUTY, UNESCO DE­CLARED BRASILIA A WORLD HER­ITAGE SITE BACK IN 1987. AMONG THE FIRST STRUC­TURES BUILT IN THE NEW BRAZIL­IAN CAP­I­TAL, THE PALACE OF THE GROVE, BY THE PARA­NOA LAKE, IS ONE MA­JOR STAND­OUT

HALF A CEN­TURY LATER, THE PO­LIT­I­CAL CAP­I­TAL OF THE SOUTH AMER­I­CAN GIANT NA­TION CON­TIN­UES TO BE A CITY OF THE FU­TURE, A REF­ER­ENCE OF MODER­NITY

dif­fer­ent blue shades. The in­te­ri­ors show­case a 10-ton pink mar­ble al­tar­piece which is the cen­ter stage of its many re­li­gious cer­e­monies.

Those who like delv­ing into his­tory can walk to the JK Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, the Na­tional Gem Mu­seum or the Mu­seum of the Indige­nous Peo­ples. And if you want to traipse down the streets and cor­ners of the Brazil­ian cap­i­tal, then head for the park of the Sarah Ku­bitscheck City or the Brasilia Na­tional Park down a route that in­cludes such must­sees as the Botan­i­cal Gar­den and the Zoo.

The time of the year to visit Brasilia is be­tween the months of April and June, when the sky boasts bluer and clearer skies. From Au­gust to Septem­ber, visi­tors may get en­chanted by the blossoming trees with its many pur­plish and yel­low­ish shades be­cause this is a city full of out­door spa­ces and lovely gar­dens.

HER­ITAGE OF BEAUTY AND CUL­TURE

Brasilia is a city with su­perb se­duc­ing abil­i­ties. Good cases in point are the huge man­made lake of Para­noa with beaches like Prainha and Piscinão North Lake, and the bridge over the Juscelino Ku­bitschek as a dis­tinc­tive fea­ture.

But far be­yond the in­sti­tu­tional func­tions the city was founded for, lit­tle by lit­tle Brasilia has be­come a travel des­ti­na­tion as well. The nat­u­ral charms of its sur­round­ings and the al­lures of its un­usual ar­chi­tec­ture within its all-brazil­ian con­text are ac­com­pa­nied by an as­sort­ment of lux­ury ho­tels, like the Melia Brasilia and the Tryp Brasilia, among many oth­ers, not to men­tion the va­ri­ety of af­ford­able rates visi­tors may find there.

There are boule­vards and com­mer­cial ar­eas with huge de­part­ment stores. In the mean­time, the cui­sine of­fers a vast ar­ray of restau­rants to choose from, in­clud­ing such em­blem­atic bistros as The Brazil­ian on the south side of the city, or the Antiga­mente, the right place to taste the var­ied lo­cal gas­tron­omy. There are also Ja­panese and in­ter­na­tional restau­rants, while the nights are sprin­kled with fi­esta salsa, the­aters and hotspots with tai­lor-made pro­gram­ming to en­ter­tain those who visit, work or live in the city

Juscelino Ku­bitschek Bridge.

Shop­ping mall

In­ner and outer views of the Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral of Our Lady of Ap­pari­tion.

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