Beyond Paris and London
Some of the world’s lesser-visited capital cities are worth a visit, writes David Whitley.
The purpose-built capital was largely whipped up between 1956 and 1960, and its main appeal lies in its showcase of modernist architecture.
The city is laid out in the shape of a bird (or plane, depending on how hard you squint), and the best place to see this is from the top of the TV Tower, which is in the middle of Brasilia’s main thoroughfare.
The city’s hero, however, is Oscar Niemeyer, the architect who designed most of Brasilia’s civic buildings. These include the National Museum, National Congress and the Cathedral – but with all combined, there’s a striking uniformity.
Culturally, you’ll get more from the surprisingly vibrant contemporary arts than the music. A once happening punk scene died off in the 1980s. Samba central, this is not – but it does have a distinctive look not found anywhere else on such a scale.
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s administrative capital (the judiciary sits in Bloemfontein and the executive
Pretoria: South Africa.