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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Federal District
From upper left: Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, Planalto Palace, Monumental Axis, Brazilian flag, Cathedral of Brasília and the National Congress of the Federative Republic of Brazil.


Nickname(s): Capital Federal, BSB,
Motto: "Venturis ventis"  (Latin)
"To the coming winds"
Brasília is located in Brazil
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 15°48′S 47°54′W / 15.8°S 47.9°W / -15.8; -47.9
Country  Brazil
Region Central-West
State Bandeira do Distrito Federal.svg Brazilian Federal District
Founded April 21, 1960
 - Governor José Roberto Arruda (independent) (currently jailed and suspended from office)
Wilson Lima (Republic Party) (acting Governor)
 - Total 5,802 km2 (2,204.2 sq mi)
Elevation 1,172 m (3,845 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 2,606,885 (4th)
 Density 435.98/km2 (1,129.17/sq mi)
Time zone BRT (UTC-3)
 - Summer (DST) BRST (UTC-2)
Postal Code 70000-000
Area code(s) +55 61
HDI (2000) 0.936 – high [1]
Website Brasília, Federal District

Brasília (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɾaˈziliɐ]) is the capital of Brazil. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 (3,599,000 in the metropolitan area)[2] as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the fourth largest city in Brazil, ahead of Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza. However, as a metropolitan area, it ranks lower at sixth. It is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Brasília hosts 91 foreign embassies.[3]

As the national capital, Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government. The city also hosts the headquarters of many Brazilian companies such as the Banco do Brasil, Caixa Econômica Federal, Correios and Brasil Telecom. The city is a world reference for urban planning. The locating of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, of building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, has sparked a debate and reflection on life in big cities in the 20th century. The city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, including accommodation, Hotel Sectors North and South. However, new areas are now being developed as locations for hotels, such as the Hotels and Tourism Sector North, located on the shores of Lake Paranoá.

The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. In 1960, it formally became Brazil's national capital. When seen from above, the main planned part of the city's shape resembles an airplane or a butterfly.[4][5] The city is commonly referred to as Capital Federal, or simply BSB.[6] People from the city of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos.

Brasília has a sui generis status in Brazil, given that it is not a municipality like nearly all cities in Brazil. Although there is no legal definition for Brasília, the term is almost always used synonymously with the Brazilian Federal District, and thus constitutes an indivisible Federative Unit, analogous to a state. In the region, however, the word Brasília often refers only to the First Administrative Region within the Distrito Federal (Federal District), also known as "Plano Piloto," where the most important government buildings are located. This is in contrast with the surrounding "satellite cities," which nevertheless are also part of the Federal District, and as such, Brasília, in a broader sense.

Brasília International Airport is a major airline hub for the rest of the country, connecting the capital to all major Brazilian cities and many international destinations. It is the third most important airport of Brazil, in terms of passengers and aircraft movements.



The Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial.

President Juscelino Kubitschek ordered the construction of Brasília, fulfilling an article of the country's constitution dating back to 1891 stating that the capital should be moved from Rio de Janeiro to a place close to the center of the country. The plan was originally conceived in 1827 by José Bonifacio, an advisor to Emperor Pedro I, presented a plan to the General Assembly for a new city called Brasilia with the initial idea of moving the capital farther westward from the already heavily populated southeastern corridor. The bill was not enacted because Emperor Pedro I dissolved the Assembly.[7]

Lúcio Costa won a contest and was the main urban planner. Oscar Niemeyer, a close friend of Lúcio, was the chief architect of most public buildings and Roberto Burle Marx was the landscape designer. Brasília was built in 41 months, from 1956 to April 21, 1960, when it was officially inaugurated. From 1763 to 1960, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. At this time, resources tended to be centered in Brazil's southeast region near Rio de Janeiro. Brasília's geographical central location made for a more regionally neutral federal capital. The idea of locating the capital in the center of Brazil was first made in 1891 but was not defined until 1922.

Satellite view.

Right from the beginning, the growth of Brasília exceeded expectations. Until the 1980s, the governor of the Distrito Federal was appointed by the Federal Government, and the laws of Brasília were issued by the Brazilian Federal Senate. After the Constitution of 1988, Brasília gained the right to elect its Governor, and a District Assembly (Câmara Distrital) was elected to exercise legislative power.

According to legend, Italian saint Don Bosco in 1883 had a prophetic dream in which he described a futuristic city that roughly fitted Brasília's location. Today, in Brasília, there are many references to this educator who founded the Salesian order. One of the main churches in the city bears his name. When seen from above, the city's original plan resembles the shape of an airplane, but many prefer to refer to it as a bird with open wings; however, the architect's original urban concept pointed to the shape of a cross.


Brasília in the morning.

Brasília was built so that the federal capital of Brazil could be transferred from the coast to the Midwestern interior of the country. The name "Brasilia" comes from Latin and means "Brazil". Previously the capital of Brazil was situated in Rio de Janeiro (1763–1960) and before that in Salvador (1549–1763). Brasília was not the only federal nation to plan and purpose-build a new capital city: Washington D.C. was first constructed in the late eighteenth century, becoming the capital of the United States in 1800, and Canberra was declared capital of Australia in 1927.

By relocating the capital city to the interior, the government intended to help populate that area of the country. People from all over the country were hired to build the city, especially those from the Northeast region of Brazil. These workers would be known as candangos. Brasília is known, internationally, for having applied the principles established in the Athens Charter of 1933.

Brasília was planned to be a city where transit flows smoothly. Lúcio Costa planned the streets in such a way that even traffic lights would not be necessary: cars and buses would take thoroughfares to travel long distances, then would use one of several loops to gain access to local streets to reach specific destinations.

Much of the original planning had to be changed, mostly because of the growth of Brasília. Costa didn't foresee such a quick growth of the city, much less the explosive growth in the satellite cities around it. Brasília today has traffic lights as any other city, there is a scarcity of parking places, and traffic jams are usual at peak hours, particularly in some busier loops. However, even though the present situation is not as planned by Costa, transit in Brasília is still much better than in other major Brazilian cities. There is stricter law enforcement, which results in better educated drivers; for example, Brasília is one of the few cities in Brazil where a driver will yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The streets are usually in good shape, which minimizes accidents.

Still, the main reason for Brasília having better transit is Costa's plan: vehicles still make use of the system of thoroughfares, loops and local streets to reach their destinations. The main thoroughfare is the Eixão (big Axis, or Eixo Rodoviário, in Costa's Plan). It is a high speed highway which cuts Brasília from North to South, three lanes each way; there are no traffic lights in the Eixão. Parallel to the Eixão, there are two Eixinhos (small Axis), which facilitate the access to loops and local streets. The other major thoroughfare is the Eixo Monumental, which cuts Brasília from East to West. The Monumental is wider than the Eixão, with a few traffic lights . The other two important city avenues are the W3, which runs west of the Eixão, parallel to it, and L2, which runs east of the Eixão. Most bus lines going from North to South use W3 and L2, rather than the Eixão (vehicles are not allowed to stop along the Eixão).




The national capital's climate is Tropical savanna climate (Aw) according to Köppen's classification. Brasilia’s climate closely borders a subtropical highland climate, showing many of the “eternal spring” features of that climate. The individual seasons are defined according to the degree of humidity of the air: one season is dry, while the other one is comparatively humid. The average temperature is 20.5 °C (68.9 °F).[8] September, at the end of the dry season, has the highest average maximum temperature, 28 °C (82 °F), and July has the lowest average maximum temperature, 25 °C (77 °F). The lowest average minimum temperature is in July (13 °C (55 °F)), and the highest temperatures are during November and December (18 °C (64 °F)). Those, however, are monthly averages, temperatures sometimes fall outside of this range. The absolute minimum temperature recorded was 1.6 °C (34.9 °F), and the absolute maximum was 34.7 °C (94.5 °F).

The dry season lasts from late March or early April to late September or early October, though there is commonly some rain also in late May. Humidity averages about 50% during the dry season, but often falls below 20% around noon.

Climate data for Brasília
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35
Average high °C (°F) 27
Daily mean °C (°F) 22
Average low °C (°F) 17
Record low °C (°F) 12
Precipitation cm (inches) 21
Source: Weatherbase[9]


Internal view of the Cultural Complex of Brasília.

According to the IBGE of 2000, there were 2,051,146 people residing in the city. The population density was 423.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,096 /sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 1,008,199 White people (49.15%), 918,305 Brown (Multiracial) people (44.77%), 98,462 Black people (4.80%), 7,996 Asian (0.39%) and 7,154 Amerindian people (0.35%).[10]

In the 1960 census there were almost 140,000 residents in the new Federal District. By 1970 this figure had grown to more than 537,000. In 2000 the population of the Brazilian Federal District was more than 2,000,000. Planned for only 500,000 inhabitants, Brasília has seen its population grow much more than expected. Several satellite cities have been created over the years to house the extra inhabitants.[11]

Right from the beginning, the growth of Brasília was superior to the plannings. According to the original plans, Brasília would be a city for government authorities and staff. However, during the construction period, many Brazilians from all over the country migrated to Brasília, attracted by opportunities of jobs in public and private services.[12]

This fact makes it the largest city (by population) in the world at the close of the 20th century that didn't exist at the beginning of the century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). Brasília has one of the highest growth rates in Brazil, with its population increasing by 2.82% each year, mostly because of internal migration.

Brasília's inhabitants include a foreign population of mostly embassy workers as well as large numbers of Brazilian migrants. Today, the city has important communities of immigrants and refugees. The Human Development Index in the city is at 0.936 in the year 2000, (developed nation level), and the illiteracy rate is around 4.35%.


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 66.16% 1,357,125
Protestant 19.50% 400,061
No religion 8.64% 177,266
Spiritist 2.69% 55,132
Muslim 0.03% 667
Jewish 0.03% 624

Source: IBGE 2000.[13]


UNESCO World Heritage Site

Brasília's Cathedral by Oscar Niemeyer

Brasília's Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida by Oscar Niemeyer

State Party  Brazil
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iv
Reference 445
Region** Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 1987  (11th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The plan of the central city has been likened to a bird, a bow and arrow, or an airplane. Designed by the Brazilian architect Lúcio Costa, its form is emphasized by the Highway Axis (Eixo Rodoviário), which curves from the north to the southwest and links Brasília's main residential neighborhoods, and the straight Monumental Axis (Eixo Monumental), which runs northwest-southeast and is lined by federal and civic buildings. At the northwestern end of the Monumental Axis are federal district and municipal buildings, while at the southeastern end, near the middle shore of Lake Paranoá, stand the executive, judicial, and legislative buildings around the Square of Three Powers, the conceptual heart of the city.

These and other major structures were designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. In the Square of Three Powers, he created as a focal point the dramatic Congressional Palace, which is a composition of five parts: twin administrative towers flanked by a large, white concrete dome (the meeting place of the Senate) and by an equally massive concrete bowl (the Chamber of Deputies), which is joined to the dome by an underlying, flat-roofed building.

A series of low-lying annexes (largely out of sight) flank both ends. Also in the square are the glass-faced Planalto Palace (housing the presidential offices) and the Palace of the Supreme Court. Farther east, on a triangle of land jutting into the lake, is the Palace of the Dawn (Palácio da Alvorada; the presidential residence). Between the federal and civic buildings on the Monumental Axis is the city's cathedral, considered by many to be Niemeyer's finest achievement (see photographs of the and interior). The parabolically shaped structure is characterized by its 16 gracefully curving supports, which join in a circle 115 feet (35 meters) above the floor of the nave; stretched between the supports are translucent walls of tinted glass. The nave is entered via a subterranean passage rather than conventional doorways. Other notable buildings are Buriti Palace, Itamaraty Palace (the Palace of Foreign Affairs), the National Theater, and several foreign embassies that creatively embody features of their national architecture. The Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx designed landmark modernist gardens for some of the principal buildings.

Both low-cost and luxury housing were built by the government in the central city area. The residential zones of the inner city are arranged into superquadras ("superblocks"), groups of apartment buildings along with a prescribed number and type of schools, retail stores, and open spaces. At the northern end of Lake Paranoá, separated from the inner city, is a peninsula upon which stand many fashionable homes; a similar neighbourhood exists on the southern lakeshore. Originally, the city planners envisioned extensive public areas along the shores of the artificial lake, but, during early development of the area, private clubs, hotels, and upscale residences and restaurants gained footholds around the water. Set well apart from the city are suburban "satellite cities," including Gama, Ceilândia, Taguatinga, Núcleo Bandeirante, Sobradinho, and Planaltina. These areas were not planned as permanent settlements and thus offer stark contrasts to the symmetry and spacing of Brasília.

Asa Sul, one of the most important quarters of Brasília.

The city has been acclaimed for its use of modernist architecture on a grand scale and for its somewhat utopian city plan; however, it has been roundly criticized for much the same reasons. After a visit to Brasília, the French writer Simone de Beauvoir complained that all of its superquadras exuded "the same air of elegant monotony," and other observers have equated the city's large open lawns, plazas, and fields to wastelands. As the city has matured, some of these have gained adornments, and many have been improved by landscaping, giving some observers a sense of "humanized" spaciousness. Although not fully accomplished, the "Brazilian utopia" has produced a city of relatively high quality of life, in which the citizens live in forested areas with sporting and leisure structure (the superquadras) flanked by small commercial areas, bookstores and cafes; the city is famous for its cuisine and the relative efficiency of transit. Even these positive features, however, have sparked controversy, well expressed in the nickname "ilha da fantasia" ("fantasy island"), indicating the sharp contrast between the city and the surrounding regions, marked by poverty and disorganization.

World Heritage Site

The Brazilian capital is the only city in the world built in the 20th century to be awarded (in 1987) the status of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations. It also holds the distinction of waiting the shortest amount of time to be designated a World Heritage Site of any UNESCO entry, which occurred just 27 years after its completion in 1960.


Commercial Sector North quarter

The major roles of construction and of services (government, communications, banking and finance, food production, entertainment, and legal services) in Brasília's economy reflect the city's status as a governmental rather than an industrial centre. Industries connected with construction, food processing, and furnishings are important, as are those associated with publishing, printing, and computer software. GDP is divided in Public Administration 54.8%, Services 28.7%, Industry 10.2%, Commerce 6.1%, Agribusiness 0.2%.[14] Many nationwide companies and associations have headquarters there.


(91% of local GDP, according to the IBGE):


The headquarters of Bank of Brazil.
Asa Norte, including the hotel's area.

In the city include:

  • Construction (Paulo Octavio, Via Construções, and Irmãos Gravia among others);
  • Food processing (Perdigão, Sadia);
  • Furniture Making;
  • Recycling (Novo Rio, Rexam, Latasa and others);
  • Pharmaceuticals (União Química);
  • Graphic industries.

The main agricultural products produced in the city are coffee, guavas, strawberries, orange, lemons, papayas, soy beans and mangoes. It has over 110,000 cows and it exports wood products worldwide.

The Federal District, where Brasília is located, has a GDP of R$ 89,630,109 (about US$ 69,844 billion), according to IBGE. Its share of the total Brazilian GDP is about 3.8%.[15]

The Federal District has the largest GDP per capita income of Brazil R$ 34,510 (about US$ 27,610 per person, according to the IBGE). Brasília's per capita income is believed to be much higher.

Brasília hosts a wide range of services such as hospitals, schools, fitness clubs, clubs, colleges, restaurants, and cafes.


The city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, including accommodation, Hotels Sectors North and South. New hotel facilities area being developed elsewhere, such as the hotels and tourism Sector North, located on the shores of Lake Paranoá. Brasília has a range of tourist accommodation from inns, pensions and hostels to larger international chain hotels.

Brasília receives visitors from the whole of Brazil and the world, it offers a good range of restaurants serving a great variety of Brazilian regional and international food.


National Library of Brasília.

Educational institutions

International schools

There are some international schools that provide conventional education in foreign languages.


Independence Day parade along the Ministries Esplanade.

As a venue for political events, music performances and movie festivals, Brasília is a cosmopolitan city, with around 90 embassies, a wide range of restaurants and complete infrastructure ready to host any kind of event. Not surprisingly, the city stands out as an important business tourism destination, which is an important part of the local economy, with dozens of hotels spread around the national capital. Traditional parties take place throughout the year. In June, there are large festivals celebrating Catholic saints, such as Saint Anthony, Saint John, the Baptist, and Saint Peter, that are called "festas juninas", or June festival. On September 7, the traditional Independence Day parade is held on the Ministries Esplanade. Throughout the year there are local, national and international events spread through the city. Christmas is widely celebrated, and New Years Eve usually hosts major events.

The city also hosts a varied assortment of art works from artists like Bruno Giorgi, Alfredo Ceschiatti, Athos Bulcão, Marianne Peretti, Alfredo Volpi, Di Cavalcanti, Dyllan Taxman, Victor Brecheret and Burle Marx, whose works have been integrated into the city's architecture, making it a unique landscape. The cuisine in the city is very diverse. Many of the best restaurants in the city can be found in the Asa Sul district.[16]

Ministries Esplanade on the Eixo Monumental.

Historic sites and museums

Eixo Monumental

At the end of the Eixo Monumental lies the Esplanada dos Ministérios ("Ministries Esplanade"), an open area in downtown Brasília. The rectangular lawn area is surrounded by two eight-lane wide avenues where many important government buildings, monuments and memorials are located. This is the main body of the "airplane" shape of the city, as planned by Lúcio Costa.

National Congress

Brazil's bicameral National Congress consists of the Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil (the lower house). Since the 1960s, the National Congress has its seat in Brasília. As with most of the official buildings in the city, it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the style of modern Brazilian architecture. The hemisphere to the left is the seat of the Senate and the hemisphere to the right is the seat of the Chamber of Deputies. Between them there are two towers of offices. The Congress also occupies other surrounding buildings, some of them interconnected by a tunnel.

The building is located in the middle of the Eixo Monumental, the main avenue of the capital. In front of it there is a large lawn and a reflecting pool. The building faces the Praça dos Três Poderes, where the Palácio do Planalto and the Supremo Tribunal Federal are located.

Palácio da Alvorada

The Palácio da Alvorada is the official residence of the President of Brazil. The palace was designed, along with the rest of the city of Brasília, by Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1958.

One of the first structures built in the republic's new capital city, the "Alvorada" lies on a peninsula at the margins of Lake Paranoá. The principles of simplicity and modernity, that in the past characterized the great works of architecture, motivated Niemeyer. The viewer has an impression of looking at a glass box, softly landed on the ground with the support of thin external columns.

The building has an area of 7,000 m2 and three floors: basement, landing and second floor. The auditorium, kitchen, laundry, medical center, and the administration are at basement level. The rooms used by the presidency for official receptions are on the landing. There are four suites, two apartments and other private rooms on the second floor which is the residential part of the palace.

The building also has a library, a heated Olympic-sized swimming pool, a music room, two dining rooms and various meeting rooms. There is a chapel and heliport in adjacent buildings.

Palácio do Planalto

The Palácio do Planalto is the official workplace of the President of Brazil. It is located at the Praça dos Três Poderes in Brasília. As the seat of government, the term "o Planalto" is often used as a metonym for the executive branch of the government.

The main working office of the President of the Republic is in the Palácio do Planalto. The President and his family, however, do not live in it; the official residence of the President is the Palácio da Alvorada. Besides the President, senior advisors also have offices in the "Planalto", including the Vice-President of Brazil and the Chief of Staff; the other Ministries are laid along the Esplanada dos Ministérios.

The architect of the Palácio do Planalto was Oscar Niemeyer, the "creator" of most of the important buildings in the new capital of Brasília. The idea was to project an image of simplicity and modernity using fine lines and waves to compose the columns and exterior structures.

The Palace is four stories high, and has an area of 36,000 m2. Four other adjacent buildings are also part of the complex.

Complexo Cultural da República

The Complexo Cultural da República (Portuguese for Cultural Complex of the Republic) is formed by the National Library of Brasília and the National Museum of the Republic. It is situated in the Eixo Monumental, next to the Cathedral of Brasília.

The National Library of Brasília (Biblioteca Nacional de Brasília in Portuguese) occupies an area of 14,000 m2, consisting of reading and study rooms, auditorium and a collection of over 300,000 items.

The National Museum of the Republic (Museu Nacional da República in Portuguese) consists of a 14,500 m2 exhibit area, two 780-seat auditoriums, and a laboratory. The space is mainly used to display temporary art exhibits.

Paranoá Lake

Paranoá Lake is a giant artificial lake built in order to increase the amount of water available to the region. It holds the second largest marina in Brazil, and is home to the capital's wakeboard and windsurf practitioners.

Juscelino Kubitschek bridge

The Juscelino Kubitschek bridge, also known as the 'President JK Bridge' or the 'JK Bridge', crosses Lake Paranoá in Brasília. It is named after Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil. It was designed by architect Alexandre Chan and structural engineer Mário Vila Verde. Chan won the Gustav Lindenthal Medal [17] for this project at the 2003 International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh due to "...outstanding achievement demonstrating harmony with the environment, aesthetic merit and successful community participation".

It consists of three 60 m (200 ft) tall asymmetrical steel arches that crisscross diagonally. With a length of 1,200 m (0.75 miles), it was completed in 2002 at a cost of US$ 56.8 million. The bridge has a pedestrian walkway and is accessible to bicyclists and skaters.

Praça dos Três Poderes

The Supreme Federal Tribunal at the Praça dos Três Poderes.

Praça dos Três Poderes (Portuguese for Square of the Three Powers) is a plaza in Brasília. The name is derived from the encounter of the three federal branches around the plaza: the Executive, represented by the Palácio do Planalto (presidential office); the Legislative, represented by the Congresso Nacional (National Congress); and the Judicial branch, represented by the Supremo Tribunal Federal (Supreme Federal Court).

It is a tourist attraction in Brasília, designed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer as a place where the three branches of the Republic would meet harmonically.

Cathedral of Brasília

The Cathedral of Brasília in the capital of the Federative Republic of Brazil, is an expression of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. This concrete-framed hyperboloid structure, seems with its glass roof to be reaching up, open, to heaven. On 31 May 1970, the Cathedral’s structure was finished, and only the 70 m (229.66 ft) diameter of the circular area were visible. Niemeyer's project of Cathedral of Brasília is based in the hyperboloid of revolution which sections are asymmetric. The hyperboloid structure itself is a result of 16 identical assembled concrete columns. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on 31 May 1970.

Popular culture

Don Bosco Sanctuary in Brasília.

Brasília has also been the focus of modern day literature. Published in 2008, The World In Grey: Dom Bosco's Prophecy, by author Ryan J. Lucero, tells an apocalyptic story based on the famous prophecy from the late 1800s by the Italian saint Don Bosco.[18]

According to Don Bosco's prophecy:[19]

Between parallels 15 and 20, around a lake which shall be formed; A great civilization will thrive, and that will be the Promised Land.

Brasília lies between the parallels 15° S and 20° S, where an artificial lake (Paranoá Lake) was formed. Don Bosco is Brasília's patron saint.

American Flagg!, the First Comics comic book series created by Howard Chaykin, portrays Brasilia as a cosmopolitan world capital of culture and exotic romance. In the series, it is a top vacation and party destination.


International Airport

Brasília International Airport - President Juscelino Kubitschek serves the metropolitan area with major domestic and international flights. It is the third busiest Brazilian airport based on passengers and aircraft movements.[20] Because of its strategic location it is a civil aviation hub for the rest of the country. This makes for a large number of takeoffs and landings and it is not unusual for flights to be delayed in the holding pattern before landing. Following the airport's master plan, Infraero built a second runway, which was finished in 2006. In 2007, the airport handled 11,119,872 passengers.[20] The main building's third floor, with 12 thousand square meters, has a panoramic deck, a food court, shops, four movie theaters with total capacity of 500 people, and space for exhibitions. There are 136 shop spaces at Brasília Airport.

The airport is located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the central area of Brasília, and lies outside the metro system. There are many taxis outside the main gate, and also some bus lines which connect the airport to the central area of Brasília. The parking lot fits 1,200 cars.[21] In addition to domestic and regional services, the airport has non-stop flights to Miami and Atlanta, United States; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Lisbon, Portugal.


Galeria Station of the Brasília Metro

Metrô de Brasília is Brasília's underground metro system. The subway system has 21 stations on two lines, the Orange and Green lines, distributed along a total network of 75 km (47 mi), covering most of the metropolitan area. Both lines begin at the Central Station and run parallel until the Águas Claras Station. The Brasília metro is not very comprehensive, so buses may be a better way to get to the center of the city. The metro leaves from the Rodoviária (bus station) and goes only southwards, avoiding most of the political and tourist areas of Brasília. The main purpose of the metro is to serve the population of the largest satellite cities, such as Samambaia, Taguatinga and Ceilândia, as well as Guará and Águas Claras. The satellite cities are more populated than the Plano Piloto itself (the census of 2000 indicated that Ceilândia had 344,039 inhabitants, Taguatinga had 243,575, whereas the Plano Piloto had approximately 400,000 inhabitants), and most residents of the satellite cities depend on public transportation.


Buses in the city.

The main bus hub in Brasília is the Central Bus Station, located in the crossing of the Eixo Monumental and the Eixão, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Three Powers Plaza. The idea of the original planning was to have a bus station as near as possible of every corner of Brasília. Today, the bus station is the hub of urban buses only, some running within Brasília and others connecting Brasília to the satellite cities. In the original city plan, the inter-state buses should also stop at the Central Station; however, because of the excessive growth of Brasília (and the corresponding growth in the bus fleet), today the inter-state buses leave from the inter-state station, located at the western end of the Eixo Monumental. The bus station also contains a metro sation.


Brasília's new tram on W3 Avenue.

Famous places nearby

Nearby attractions include:

  • Chapada dos Veadeiros - A National Park with plenty of cerrado wildlife and surrounded by several spectacular waterfalls.
  • Itiquira Falls - this beautiful 168 m-high waterfall is just over 100 km from Brasília, in the municipality of Formosa, Goiás
  • Caldas Novas - The largest natural hot springs resort in the world. Located about 360 km (220 mi) southeast of the city in the state of Goiás.
  • Pirenópolis - The city, located 150 km from Brasília, is well-known for its waterfalls and colonial architecture, and a popular festival involving mounted horses called Festa do Divino Espírito Santo which takes place 45 days after Easter. Its nightlife is very popular, and a Jazz Festival takes place in May.
  • Goiás Velho - Ancient capital of the State of Goiás, filled with magnificent and very well preserved colonial architecture, also known by its popular parties and ceremonies, like the Fogaréu, in which masked men honor Christ's death and resurrection on Easter Sunday.


Nilson Nelson Ginasium.


Brasília is home to two major football (soccer) teams:

None of them have been successful in the First Division of the Brazilian Championship. Brasiliense at the moment plays Second Division, while Gama was relegated to the Third Division for 2009.

The main football stadiums are the Estádio Mané Garrincha and the Serejão.

Brasília is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation. The rebuilding of Garrincha Stadium is planned.

Brasília will also host football tournaments during the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

Hang Gliding

Brasília is known as a departing point for the practice of unpowered air sports, sports that may be practiced with hang gliding or paragliding wings. Practitioners of such sports reveal that, because of the city's dry weather, the city offers strong thermal winds and great "cloud-streets," which is also the name for a manoeuvre quite appreciated by practitioners. The national capital hosted the 14th Hang Gliding World Championship, one of the categories of free flying, in 2003. And in 2005, from August 21 to 27th, it has host the 2nd stage of the Brazilian Hang Gliding Championship.

Motor Sport

Brasília is the site of the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet which hosted a non-championship round of the 1974 Formula One Grand Prix season.


The city is home to Universo BRB, one of Brazil's best basketball clubs.

Notable people in Brasília

Twin Towns

See also



  1. ^ {{cite web |url=
  2. ^ List of urban agglomerations by population (United Nations)
  3. ^ List of foreign embassies in Brasília
  4. ^ "Lucio Costa". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Google Maps". 1970-01-01.,-47.896271&spn=0.143704,0.233459&t=k. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  6. ^ About Brasilia
  7. ^ USA. "Travel destinations: Brasilia, Brazil - by O. Konheim". Helium. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  8. ^ "World Weather Brasilia". 
  9. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Brasília". 
  10. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Síntese de Indicadores Sociais 2000. Brasília, Brazil: IBGE. 2000. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  11. ^ Population of Brasília
  12. ^ Immigration to Brasília
  13. ^ Religion in Brasília by IBGE
  14. ^ GDP - Division - Federal District
  15. ^ .Government's webpage
  16. ^ Culture in Brasília
  17. ^ "Bridge Awards". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  18. ^ Dom Bosco - Brasília
  19. ^ Dom Bosco - Brasília
  20. ^ a b Airport Statistics for 2007
  21. ^ Brasilia International Airport - facts

External links

Coordinates: 15°48′S 47°54′W / 15.8°S 47.9°W / -15.8; -47.9

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Panorama of Esplanada dos Ministérios, Congress and Cathedral
Panorama of Esplanada dos Ministérios, Congress and Cathedral

Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is a planned city. Inaugurated in 1960 in the Central Highlands of Brazil, it is a masterpiece of modernist architecture listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts architecture aficionados worldwide. Brasilia is also an important transportation hub for travel within Brazil.

Map of Brasilia
Map of Brasilia

The basic structure of Brasilia was completed in just four years, from 1956 to 1960, under the leadership of President Juscelino Kubitschek, with the slogan "fifty years of progress in five", and the city is in a sense a memorial to him. The cathedral as six columns reprsenting two hands reaching up to almighty heaven.

The city plan is designed in the shape of a giant bird or airplane, with various separated zones assigned for specific functions such as housing, commerce, hospitals and banking. Running down the center of the "airplane's" fuselage is the thoroughfare called the Eixo Monumental ("Monumental Axis") and at one end lay the government buildings. The arched "wings" are residential zones, with several rows of medium-rise apartment blocks with small commercial districts. The intersection is the commercial and cultural hub, with stores, hotels, and the cathedral. A huge artificial lake serves the city as both a leisure area and to diminish the effects of low humidity in drier months (see Climate below).

After 48 years from its creation (1960), Brasilia is still developing a culture of its own. The city has often been criticized as a failed utopia where rationalized modernist planning has buried the human element. Yet Brazilians are quite proud of their capital, embodying a vision of a future when Brazil is no longer considered merely a "developing" country.

The original planned area (called Plano Piloto) is home to about 400,000 inhabitants, most of the city's upper classes. The so-called satellite cities (15 to 40 kilometres away concentrate the remaining of the 2.2 million inhabitants of this great city of Brasília (Distrito Federal).

Brasilia's commercial zone
Brasilia's commercial zone

Getting a grasp of Brasilia's addresses may be a little perplexing at first, as they are usually shortened to acronyms. Here are some useful tips:

The Monumental Axis divides the city into north and south sectors. Acronyms ended in N refer to sectors on the northern side, while those ended in S are on the south.

  • SHS/SHN - Hotel sectors (Setor Hoteleiro)
  • SCS/SCN - Commercial sectors (Setor Comercial)
  • SQS/SQN - Residential sectors (Superquadras)
  • CLS/CLN (or SCLS/SCLN) - Local commerce sectors (Comércio Local) along the wings.


Temperatures seldom hit extremes. 17°C to 28°C (63 to 82°F) are the average lows and highs, but it can get as low as 1°C (34°F) in winter and get as hot as 34°C (92°F) in September/October. In dry season (August-September) the city's landscape, normally very green, becomes desert-like and everyone must drink lots of water to prevent the unpleasant effects of dehydration. On the other hand, during those months the city is blessed with a gorgeous sunset in spectacular shades of orange, pink and red. The best months to go are probably May and June - still green, but no longer so hot, with fewer chances of rainfall.

Tourist information

Official tourist info can be obtained from Brasilia's tourist authority (in Portuguese).

Get in

By plane

Due to long distances and falling prices in air travel, flying has become a practical way of getting to Brasilia. The city is a national air travel hub, and there should be plenty of flights. In fact you may find your plane touching down at Brasilia airport even if you're not starting or ending anywhere near, such as Salvador to Belém. On the other hand, despite being a major international capital, getting in directly from abroad is difficult to impossible in most cases. Virtually all flights are domestic, and you will have to go through Brazilian customs and immigration elsewhere and re-board. Currently, there are only non-stop flights from Lisbon (TAP Portugal), Buenos Aires (TAM Brazil), and Atlanta (Delta Airlines, which began non-stop service from Atlanta to Brasilia in December 2009,).

Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport (IATA: BSB) (ICAO: SBBR), Brasília's airport (phone:(61) 3364-9000, fax: (61) 3364-9251), is situated 11 km (7 mi) from the city center and has one of the few tourist information services in town (phone (61) 3033.9488, from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm). It also has an exchange office at the arrivals area, another one at Banco do Brasil (open Mo-Fri 11:00-16:00, departures area) and several ATMs.

Taxis are the most convenient means of getting from the airport into the city. They are relatively expensive for Brazilian standards and the 20-minute drive to the hotel zone should cost about R$ 30-40. Buses number 102 and 102.1 are frequent and significantly cheaper. They link the airport to the main bus terminal at Rodoviária, from where you can catch buses or the subway to other parts of the city.

By bus

Due to its central location, Brasilia is well served by a bus network that connects it with the rest of Brazil. Travel times are about 15 hours to São Paulo, 18 hours to Rio, 10 hours to Belo Horizonte and 3 hours to Goiania. Buses from other States arrive at a dedicated bus station called rodoferroviaria (phone:(61) 3363-4045), that is located at the west end of the axis and is connected to the city centre by bus (number 131, frequency each 10-20 minutes, from 5 am to midnight) and taxis.

By car

Drivers coming from southern and Center-west states will arrive by the Saída Sul entrance. From other states, you'll enter Brasilia by Saída Norte. After you're inside the Federal District, keep following the Brasília signs and Zona Central if you're staying at the hotel sector. The Eixo Rodoviário Road, that crosses the citie's soth, central, and north sectors, can be identified by the caracteristics double strip of yellow raised pavement markers (Cat's eye) separating the two lanes of the road.

Get around

Ride the buses, take a cab, hitchhike, but whatever you do, don't plan on getting around Brasilia on foot. The city was designed under the assumption that every resident would own an automobile. Obviously things didn't turn out that way, and the city's public transport is a solution to an almost deliberately designed problem. Fortunately it works fairly well. Note that the roads have few crosswalks or traffic lights, so being a pedestrian also requires some caution.

By bus

Most local buses start from or go through the rodoviária, at the precise center of the city, and run along the "wings" - serving the residential zones - or through the Monumental Axis. Red-and-white minibuses, called Zebrinha (little zebras) or Transporte de Vizinhança are very useful for moving around, as they link the central area of Brasilia (Setor Comercial, Setor de Diversões etc.) to Esplanada dos Ministérios, the airport and some of the main avenues (L2 and W3).

Unlike many other Brazilian cities, passengers in Brasilia board buses by the front door. Buses must be flagged, otherwise they will only stop when a passenger requests to hop off. Single fares are R$ 2,00 for travel within Brasília. There is no advance sale of tickets, pay as you board.

By taxi

Taxis are relatively expensive in Brasilia and usually cannot be hailed on the streets. Taxi stands, however, are close to all tourist attractions and any hotel will be able to call a cab or provide the phone number of the best known dispatch offices. All taxis must have taximeters and can start charging only after the passenger has boarded.

By subway

The Metrô subway system started operating in 2001. Its Y-shaped line starts in the main bus station (Rodoviária de Brasília - "Central" station) and makes its first stop at Setor Comercial Sul ("Galeria" station), which is fairly near some hotels South of Monumental Axis. It runs along the south wing, stopping at blocks 102, 108, 112 and 114, then going through suburbs. The subway uses to operate 6 AM to 11:30 PM from Monday to Friday (some stations stop selling tickets at 10:30 PM), and from 7 AM to 7 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Its common to be offered special timelines on some holidays, like New Year's Eve and the April 21st (citie's aniversary). It's not particularly useful for tourists, as it does not atend the main attractions, but you may check Around Brasilia by subway, for a proposed itinerary that includes attractions such as the Buddhist Temple (EQS 115/116, access by "114 Sul" Station); Parkshopping mall (next to "Shopping" station) and a typical fair in the satellite city of Guará (access by "Feira" Station). Single fare: R$ 3,00, R$ 2,00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

By car

If you arrive by car or decide to rent one there, note that drivers behave differently than in other places in Brazil:

  • Stop at pedestrian crossings - pedestrians will wave a hand before crossing or usually simply start walking. Keep an eye on the sidewalks at all times. Policemen enforce this rule and you can get fined if you disrespect it.
  • Use of horns - do not honk unless you really need to. Brasilienses hate it and really appreciate their driving to be as silent as possible.

It's recomended to have a detailed map in hand when driving through the the city, specialy in the central area, as the access of some streets can be confusing, as there are lots of elevated interchanges and ramps.

Brasilia's Cathedral
Brasilia's Cathedral

Nearly all of Brasilia's architectural sites are on the eastern part of the Monumental Axis.

  • The Square of the Three Powers (Praça dos Três Poderes) at the extreme end of the axis includes the seats of the country's 3 highest authorities: the Congress, the Presidential Palace (called Palácio do Planalto) and the Supreme Court. The axis itself is aligned such that on April 21 (Tiradentes Day, marking the death of a Brazilian independence martyr), the sun rises precisely between the two towers of Congress. The bronze statue of two abstract figures is named Os Candangos and represents the pioneering spirit of the workers who built the city. There's also a "blind justice" statue by the Supreme Court, a small museum and a model, built to scale, of Brasilia itself. As of 2009 the Presidential Palace is closed to visitors due to restoration works, which will last until april 2010.
  • The façade of the Palace of Justice has waterfalls that contrast with its stern geometrical beauty
  • Itamaraty Palace which houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also stands out among the ministry buildings at Esplanada dos Ministérios and is open for guided visits from 2pm-4:30 pm on weekdays and Sat-Sun 10am-3:30pm. Tel. 3411-6148 [1].
  • Brasilia Cathedral is midway along the axis. With its sixteen curved 90-ton concrete pillars and stained-glass panels, is one of the world's most amazing modernist buildings. Mon and Sat 8am-5pm, Tue-Fri and Sun 8am-6pm. Tel. 3224-4073 [2]
The TV Tower at sunset
The TV Tower at sunset
  • Television Tower - In the middle of the Monumental axis, It's the best place for a sweeping panorama of the city. There is also a crafts and typical food market on the basis of the tower. Open tue-sun 08h-20h. Entrance is free.
  • The Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial on the western part of the axis is a museum dedicated to the life and accomplishments of the president, and houses his remains as well. It's located underground and has a slightly spooky 1960's science-fiction feel to it.
  • Palácio da Alvorada (Palace of Dawn) - The President's official residence. Its arches are icons of the capital.
  • Public works of art - Some of the finest Brazilian artists have created works in Brasilia: Burle Marx (landscape design), Athos Bulcão (geometric tile panels), Oscar Niemeyer (buildings and sculptures) Ceschiatti and Bruno Giorgio (sculptures). These can be seen on the streets, open air and for free.
  • Brasília City Tour - A tour by bus that visits almost all the main attractions listed in this article. Tel. +55 61 9298-9416 / 9304-2107 / 9304-1346 / 3356-1707 / 3964-9122 . Leaves everyday from the TV Tower at 10h and 17h.

The "wing" sectors, while mostly residential, contain a few notable buildings:

  • Dom Bosco Church, Av. W3 sul, quadra 702. A beautiful modern church built on concrete and blue stained glass. Bosco was a 19th-century Italian priest whose writings, some say, prophesied the creation of Brasilia. It's impossible not to notice the huge crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the square church.

Besides the outstanding architecture and art, Brasilia also has attractions on the natural side:

Bridge over the Paranoa Lake
Bridge over the Paranoa Lake
  • Paranoá Lake - Pontão has lakeside restaurants and a park while the Ermida Dom Bosco (near SHIS QI 29, bus line 100/123) chapel provides gorgeous views of the city from across the Lake, an excellent place to watch Brasilia's famous sunsets. You can swim in the lake at the Ecological Park next to the Ermida.
  • City Park (Parque da Cidade) - Slightly larger than NYC's Central Park, this wide green area is the city's hot spot for sports such as jogging, cycling, skating and even kart racing, as well as barbecues and other outdoor activities.
  • Brasilia National Park - Cerrado vegetation and fauna, plus natural swimming pools.
  • Poço Azul - A waterfall forming beautiful blue pools on a quartz rock.
  • Parque Olhos D'Água - A park in the northern wing of the city that is mainly used for jogging. It also has many springs, streams and a small pond. Many of its facilities include a playground and two outdoor gyms.

Museums, art galleries and theathers

Although lacking major museums, culture vultures may enjoy the city's contemporary arts scene, one of the country's most active. The so-called "Cultural centers" hold frequent exhibitions from national and international artists.

  • Brasilia National Museum - Monumental axis. Near the Brasilia Cathedral. Brasilia's newest museum was built to be the city's home for renowned national and international exhibitions. As of 2009, it's collections are temporary and is severely lacking both in size and importance. But give it a try, it's free.
  • Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) [3] - SCES, Trecho 02, lote 22. Tel +55 61 33107087. Holds all kinds of exhibitions and cultural events. Russian paintings, musical concerts, documentaries, plays, thematic movie festivals, photography, you name it. There is no permanent exhibition or attraction so you've to check the programme before going or just go there and enjoy what's available. The easier way to reach it is through its own free bus line that runs from the city center and back. Check the official bus schedule for an up-to-date information. Opens Thu-Sun from 9h until 21h. Entrance fees may vary greatly or even be free depending on what's going on. But one thing is certain: it's usually CHEAP!
  • CAIXA Cultural [4] - SBS, Quadra 4. Tel +55 61 32069450. Usually holds photography, musical concerts, movies and contemporary arts exhibitions. Entrance is free most of the time.
  • Espaço Cultural Renato Russo - SCRS 508. Tel +55 61 34431559. A government-maintaned building for cultural events. Commonly used for musical concerts and plays. No official schedule available.
  • Espaço Cultural Contemporâneo (ECCO) [5] - SCN quadra 3, Bloco C. Tel +55 61 33272027. A gallery that has many works of contemporary art. Mostly sculpture and paintings. Open Thu-Sun from 9h until 19h.
  • Monetary Museum - SBS Quadra 3 Bloco B. Tel +55 61 34142093. Maintained by the Central Bank of Brazil, it has everything related to money: rare coins, paper money from various countries, medals, gold bars, old machinery used to print and cut etc. It also keeps the biggest gold nugget ever found in Brazil, weighing 60.8kg. Thu-Fri 10h until 17h30. Sat 14h until 18h. Entrance is free.
  • National Theater Claudio Santoro - Brasilia's main theather features 3 main halls for plays and concerts, art galleries and temporary art exhibitions. Tickets: +55 61 3325-6239 / 3325-6256, from 12h until 20h.
  • Cinema Festival - Brasilia hosts one of the most important festivals of Brazilian cinema. The Festival de Cinema Brasileiro takes place late October/early November and screens independent and mainstream movies that will hit the theaters the following year. Both short and feature films are presented, but the movies have no subtitles.
  • Japanese Festival, Honpa Hongwanji Temple, EQS 315/316. Weekends of August - Sat and Sun from 6 pm. The Japanese community of Brasilia celebrates the Obon Festival, with bon odori dances and stalls selling typical food and other Japanese items. Free.  edit
  • Porão do Rock [6] - Usually happening in July, August or September, it's arguably the biggest music festival in Brasilia. It's dedicated to rock 'n' roll and all its variants. Local bands share the two mains stages with national staples and some international bands.
  • Chapada Imperial [7] - Tel. +55 61 9965-2461 / 9961-9068 / 9984-4437. 50 Km from the city center. It's a natural park with trekking trails, camping area, typical cerrado birds and waterfalls.
  • State Secretary of Culture Agenda [8] - The biggest cultural schedule of Brasilia. It keeps track of all exhibitions and shows playing in the city. You can choose the listings by month or type of attraction or see the complete schedule for the current month.
  • Basketball - If you happen to be in Brasilia between January and June, you shall not miss the games of Brasilia's home team Universo BRB for the national league of basketball. Runner-up of the 2009 season, Universo is well known for playing great games and drawing a big audience (for brazilian standards), which peaked 11.000 people during the 2009 finals. The season games happens in 'Clube da CEB' (CEB's club), at SGAS 904. Ticket costs R$ 10,00. If you actually wants to play basketball, The city's park has plenty of courts available for public use. Your best chance to catch some locals playing is going in the weekends.
  • Golf - Brasilia Golf Club [9]. SCES Trecho 2, lt 2. Tel. +55 61 3224-2718. Prices per game: R$ 120,00 tue-fri and R$ 180,00 sat-sun and holidays.
  • Jogging - Brasilia's most popular sport by far. There are running tracks in the National Park and in the City's Park. The Eixo Rodoviario road is closed to traffic on sundays (8h-18h) and can be also used for jogging, cycling and skating. Jogging on weekends in the City's Park is one the most popular activities amongst locals. Don't miss the coconut water vendors. Besides that, 5 Km and 10 Km races happens almost bi-monthly.
  • Wakeboard - Wakescola de Brasília. The only wakeboard school in the city. Tel +55 61 3380-2171 / +55 61 9982-3562. Expensive.


Brasilia's residential wings have many local shops such as groceries, drugstores, bakers, restaurants, hairdressers and so forth, and that is where townspeople do much of their daily shopping. The now somewhat decadent W3 avenue used to be the equivalent of a city's high street and still concentrates a large portion of the city's street commerce. Shopping malls, however, also play an important part when it comes to shopping in town.

  • The Setor de Diversões is a fairly nice shopping area at the center of the city, very close to Rodoviaria. The northern side, called Conjunto Nacional, is a bit more upscale, while the southern side has interesting small shops with books, music, and clothing that appeal to the local skateboard-riding youths. Notice that this southern side at night is very dangerous, being (unfortunately) the favorite spot for hookers and drug dealers.
  • On Sundays there is a flea market at the base of the Television Tower.

Some off-center places can also be of interest for travellers:

  • The imports market (popularly known as Feira do Paraguai) is the place to go for cheap electronics (cameras and replacement accessories, batteries etc.) and other travel items such as backpacks, flashlights and so forth. From Rodoviaria, take bus 124.2 (shorter trip) or bus 124.
  • Records and books - FNAC, at the Parkshopping mall has a good assortment of English-language travel guides and Brazilian music CDs. Livraria Cultura, at the Casa Park mall, has bilingual staff and an extensive collection of Brazilian CDs and foreign-language literature (especially in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German). Both malls are close to each other and can be easily reached by subway through the (almost self-explanatory named) Shopping station.


Brasilia does not have a typical, regional cuisine. Nevertheless, restaurants serve food from many Brazilian states, as well as international fare. Self-service (por quilo) restaurants are very common and usually cheaper than their à la carte counterparts. Most of Brasilia's "real" (table service) restaurants are located at the residential wings, usually a bus or taxi ride away from most tourist attractions. One of the most popular streets is the CLS 405 (from rodoviaria, take bus 114), with choices ranging from sushi to Brazilian, Mexican and French food. Regarding tips, visitors are expected to pay at least 10% of the bill. Such amount is commonly printed on the invoice and most of the time it's OK to include the tip in your credit/debit card since most of the restaurants share the total amount with all employees. Self-service restaurants usually don't charge tips.

  • A convenient place for finding reasonably priced food is the food court of the Conjunto Nacional mall (also see Buy, above). The mall is located right beside the main bus terminal (rodoviaria) and at walking distance from many hotels and of the main attractions such as the Three Powers Square.
  • SCLS 201. Right beside Banco Central's main building, this street is packed with cheap self-service restaurants and a few ranging from mid-range to splurge.
  • Local chain Giraffas (several locations around town) rivals McDonalds in the fast food market by serving sandwiches and cheap beef/chicken + rice-and-beans set meals.
  • Pizzaria Dom Bosco. The oldest active pizzeria in Brasilia. Sells reasonably cheap pizza by the slice. R$ 1.50/slice.  edit
  • CLS 107 Bloco D Loja 20, (+55 61) 3443-7579. M-Su 8AM-11PM.
  • CLN 306 Bloco C Loja 46, (+55 61) 3347-0904. M-Su 9AM-11PM.
  • CLSW 303 Bloco A Loja 18, (+55 61) 3341-2493. M-Su 9AM-11PM.
  • Don Durica – SCLN 201, Bloco A, (61) 3326-1045. (Mo-Sat 11:30am-3pm/6pm-midnight). This all-you-can-eat buffet offers more than 50 dishes for lunch, mainly from Minas Gerais cuisine.
  • Vegetarians may try and escape ubiquitous meat dishes of Brazilian cuisine at Bardana - SCLS 405 bloco A, (61) 3242-3532. Try the tropical juices too.
  • El Paso Texas, SCLS 404 - Bloco C , lj 19, 3323-4618. A favorite with American expats and locals alike. Besides the Tex-Mex dishes, don't try the great frozen margaritas and whatnot R$ 20-40.  edit
  • Fogo de Chão [10] - SHS quadra 5, Bloco E. Tel. +55 61 3322-4666. Traditional brazilian steakhouse. It features an all-you-can eat salad buffet, imported cheese, brazilian side dishes and 15 kind of cuts of fire roasted meats that are brought to your table almost non-stop. Service is top-notch. R$ 79,00/person. Opens mon-fri 12h til 16h (lunch) and 18h til 0h (dinner), sat-sun 12h-0h (non-stop).
  • Patu Anu, Setor de Mansões do Lago Norte - ML trecho 12, Conjunto 1, casa 07., 3369-2788 (), [11]. Tu-Sat 08:30 to 02:30, Sun 13:30 to 18:00.. A hideout at the distant Lago Norte zone that serves creative dishes that mix international recipes and national ingredients such as jacaré (alligator), Brazil nuts, tropical cherry cokes etc. Booking recommended. Main dishes from R$ 40.  edit
  • Villa Tevere, CLS 115 Bl. A, 3345-5513. Mo-Sat 12-15:00 and 19:30-1:00. Su 12-17:00. Cosy Italian restaurant with good wines and quiet live Brazilian music on the poop deck  edit
  • Zuu aZdZ [12] - CLS 210 - (61) 3244-1039 - Tue-Fri 12-15:00 and 20:00-00:00. Sat 20:00-00:00. Contemporary, cosmopolitan cuisine. The architecture of the restaurant is itself an attraction. Main dishes from R$ 60 to 180. Beverages cost three to four times their normal prices. Wine prices range from R$ 60 to R$ 10,000.
  • Aquavit [13] Setor de Mansões Lago Norte - ML12 conjunto 1 casa 5 - (61) 3369-2301. Open for dinner only, Thu-Sat. Run by Danish national Simon Cederholm, this restaurant offers a six-course meal, which changes every month. Inspired by Scandinavian cuisine, the place is popular with Nordic visitors to Brasilia. Reservations are a must.


Despite not being particularly famous for its nightlife, Brasilia has some hangouts that save visitors from night-time boredom. Please observe that smoking in the dancefloor is not allowed - all clubs have an smoking area, so people can smoke (or just get some fresh air) without leaving the club.

  • Beirute - CLS 109 Bloco A (near 108 Sul metro station), +55 61 3244-1717, [14]. Opens daily, until 2am. One of the oldest and most traditional bars in town, serves reasonably priced beer and Arab food, and attracts a mixed crowd of students, journalists, gay people and intellectuals. Is also one of the best places to pick up flyers and find out the best parties to go.
  • Clube do Choro - Setor de Divulgação Cultural (Near the Convention Center) +55 61 3327-0494 (, fax +55 61 3425-1448) [15]. This club is also a school of choro, a genuinely Brazilian instrumental popular music style, played with a flute, guitar and cavaquinho (a small chordophone with four strings). Located near the TV tower, it has weekly presentations of national choro artists. Call in advance to check availability, as tickets are limited and often sold out days before the shows.
  • Gate's Pub - CLS 403 Bloco B (near 102 Sul metro station). +55 61 3225-4576/3322-9301 ( [16] This pub-cum-club has a dartboard and is one of the few places to offer a week-round choice of nights, ranging from Brazilian music to alternative electronic stuff. Opens Mo/We 9pm, Tu/Thu/Sat/Sun 10 pm. Fri 11pm. Admission R$ 5 - R$ 18 (there are usually discounts before 11 pm).
  • Manara - CRLN 706/7 Bl. E Lj. 60 - Asa Norte. +55 61 3273-3192. Cheap beer, narguile (hookah) and Lebanese food. Mo/Th 11h-0h; Fr/Sa 11h-2h. Currently closed due to the owner's death.
  • Pôr-do-Sol - CLN 408 BL C, s/n lj 24 - Asa Norte. +55 61 3274-8861. Favorite bar of University of Brasília students. It is always crowded, so it is a great place to see different people. The beer doesn't get any cheaper elsewhere. You have to get it on the counter, though. You can see the youth of Brasília over here, drinking beer and talking about anything. Some consider the whole 408 quadra as a sort of "alcoholic set-up", due to the many bars.
  • UK Brasil Pub - SCLS 411 BL B Lj. 28 - Asa Sul. +55 61 3346-5214. Live music with local bands, mostly covers of famous bands. Doesn't accept credit cards. There's a separate room where you can smoke. Tu-Sa from 18h. [17]
  • Landscape Pub - SHIN CA 7 ,Bloco F-1 - loja 33 - Lago Norte. +55 61 3468-4678. This pub has two floors: the dancefloor and a dancefloor-lounge upstairs, and a external area when you can smoke, chat and meet new people. It's a reduct of the underground scene of Brasilia (there you can hear Beatles, Strokes and some new DJs).
  • Chiquita Bacana - 209 Sul ,bloco A - loja 37 - Asa Sul (near 108 Sul metro station) +55 61 3242-1212. It's a nice bar in Brasilia. It's not a cheap one (one Stella Artois Long Neck costs R$5), but they have a good decoration and a good variety of booze and snacks. They have narguiles to rent too.
  • Água Doce Cachaçaria - CLS 412, Bl A Lj 3 - Asa Sul (near 112 Sul metro station) +55 61 3345-7169. Specialized in cachaça, the Brazilian destilled beverage made of sugar cane. Opens Tuesday to Sunday until 2 AM.
  • Bonnaparte - SHS Quadra 02 Bloco J, S/N - Setor Hoteleiro Sul - Brasília - DF - Brasil - 70322-901 The bar is in principle like a canteen with 3-4 TV sets. Keep away from this place, especially if you are on a budget trip. They dont informe you about the entrance fee before you leave. It will cost you 36 reais for a single beer

Although the city's music scene is no longer as vibrant as it was in the 80s - when it bred some of the greatest pop/rock talents of recent generations with bands like Capital Inicial and Legião Urbana - live shows of local bands are frequent. Daily listings in Portuguese can be found at the local newspapers or the Correioweb and Candango websites.


Most of the city's accommodation is located at the Hotel Sectors (SHS and SHN), two central areas located on both sides of Eixo Monumental. During weekdays, hotels are usually busy due to the capital's political activity and it is advisable to book in advance. Typical prices are R$ 200 for a double room and R$ 95 for a single. Most ot the hotels have an off-price for the weekends.

Many simple pousadas are located at W3 Sul avenue. They are often non-regulated by tourist authorities and their quality and security may vary greatly. In 2008, the local authorities shut these pousadas; do not rely on them existing anymore.

  • Hospedagem Alternativa, Via W3 Sul, Quadra 703, Bloco G, Casa 61, +55 61 3224 6775. Many similar in the neighbourhood. Single R$ 35, Double 60-75.  edit
  • Hostel Brasília - Setor de Áreas Isoladas Norte - Camping - Lote 2 (From Rodoviária, take bus 143), (61) 3343-0531/3344-9191 (, fax (61) 3342-2476) [18]. This albergue da juventude is a member of FBAJ, the national hostels federation that is a member of Hostelling International. Although it is cheaper than hotels, it is also more distant from most urban facilities and attractions
  • Bristol Hotel, SHS Qd. 04 Bloco F. 61 3962-6162, fax 61 3321-2690,, [19]. Central location with easy access to a shopping center and bus lines. Rates from R$190 per night.
  • Brasília Alvorada Hotel [20] - SHTN Trecho 1, Conj 1B, Bloco C. Tel. +55 61 3424-7018 / 3424-7000. This large hotel by the Paranoa Lake and right next to the Alvorada Palace is reputed as the city's best. Rates from R$ 250.
  • Meliá Comfort - SHS, Quadra 6 - Conjunto "A" - Lote 1 - Bloco "D", (61) 3218-4700 (fax: (11) 3043-8353; [21] Strategically placed in the Monumental Axis, between the Television Tower and 50 m from the City Park. It is also within easy reach of the Esplanada of Ministries and 13 km from the airport. Rates from R$ 200.
  • Sonesta Hotel Brasilia, SHN Quadra 5 – Bloco B – CEP 70.705-000, [22]. A luxury 18-story 148-room hotel, adjacent to the central business and banking districts.  edit

Stay Safe

Brasilia is a safe city, but usual measures should be taken. The surrounding cities like Taguatinga and Ceilandia aren't tourist destinations and aren't considered to be as safe as Brasília itself. In fact, in those cities there is a lot of danger zones, and if you don't know what are those zones, it's better to avoid these places. At night, the area near the central bus station is not considered to be safe (prostitution and drugs). Even in the wings, avoid walking alone at night - last semester happened some cases of kidnapping.


The area code to Brasilia is 61 (also add Brazil's 55 if dialing from abroad). All 7-digit telephone numbers have recently been converted to 8-digit by adding a 3 before the number. To reach a number like 241-0000 from abroad, dial (55 61) 3241-0000.

  • Neon Lights cybercafe [23], SRTVS, Patio Brasil mall - 2nd Floor, (61) 3322-8060, Conveniently located inside a large shopping mall next to the South Hotel Sector. Opens Mo-Sat 10 am - 10 pm. R$ 6/hour.
  • Media Cyber[24] - Brasilia Shopping mall, G1 floor. (61) 3201-7300. Next to the North Hotel Sector. Has printing and scanning services and sells disks and recordable CDs.
  • RedShot[25], SCLS 409 Bloco D Loja 30 (from rodoviaria, take bus 114). (61) 3443-4359 - This lan house is aimed primarily at gamers, but has cheaper connections. Opens daily from 10am. R$3-4/hour

There are also many Wi-fi hotspots scattered around town, including the food court of the airport and various hotels.

Get out

Nearby attractions include:

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. The capital of Brazil, located in its Distrito Federal.



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Proper noun


  1. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil


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Proper noun

Brasilia (stem Brasili-*)

  1. Brazil


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Brasilia f.

  1. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil


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