Porto Alegre: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Porto Alegre
—  Municipality  —
The Municipality of Porto Alegre
From upper left: the Public Market; Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul; A typical city's Gaúcho and Chimarrão; Metropolitan Cathedral; Farroupilha Park; Downtown and Guaíba Lake.


Nickname(s): Porto (spoken), POA (written)
Motto: Loyal and Valiant city of Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre is located in Brazil
Porto Alegre
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 30°01′59″S 51°13′48″W / 30.03306°S 51.23°W / -30.03306; -51.23
Country  Brazil
Region South
State Bandeira Estado RioGrandedoSul Brasil.svg Rio Grande do Sul
Founded 1742
 - Mayor José Fogaça (PPS)
 - Municipality 496.8 km2 (191.8 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (33 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Municipality 1,436,123 (11th)
 Density 2,815.6/km2 (7,292.4/sq mi)
 Metro 3,959,807
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
 - Summer (DST) UTC-2 (UTC-2)
Postal Code 90000-000
Area code(s) +55 51
HDI (2000) 0.865–high
Website Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul

Porto Alegre (lit. "Joyous Port" or "Happy Harbour", About this sound pronunciation ) is the eleventh most populous municipality in Brazil and the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is the southernmost capital city of a Brazilian state.[1] Porto Alegre is one of the most important cultural, political and economic centers of Brazil. Two Mercosul countries, Argentina and Uruguay, border Rio Grande do Sul. It is also the centre of Brazil's fourth largest metropolitan area.

Porto Alegre was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores, Portugal. In the late 19th century the city received many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Italy, and Poland. The vast majority of the population is of European descent.

The city lies on the eastern bank of the Rio Guaiba (Guaiba Lake), where five rivers converge to form the Lagoa dos Patos (Lagoon of the Ducks), a giant freshwater lagoon navigable by even the largest of ships. This five-river junction has become an important alluvial port as well as a chief industrial and commercial center of Brazil.

The port of Porto Alegre is important for transporting local produce. The "Gaucho capital" has a broad-based economy that lays particular emphasis on agriculture and industry. Agricultural production includes produce such as plums, peaches, rice and cassava grown on rural smallholdings. The shoe and leather industries are also important, especially in Novo Hamburgo, in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegre has a long coastline on the Guaíba Lake, and its topography is punctuated by 40 hills. In the lake, a vast body of water, a maze of islands facing the city creates an archipelago where a unique ecosystem makes possible abundant wildlife. The city area concentrates 28% of the native flora of Rio Grande do Sul, with 9,288 species.[2] Among these, there are many trees which are the vestiges of the Atlantic Forest. Fauna are also diversified, specially in the islands and hills. The Portoalegrense environs include many parks, squares and wooded streets.

In recent years, Porto Alegre hosted the World Social Forum, an initiative of several non-government organizations.


The city

Porto Alegre seen from the Guaíba Lake.

The city is located on a delta resulting from the junction of five rivers, officially called Guaíba Lake (popularly mentioned as a river too). Although its origins date from the mid-18th century, when immigrants from the Azores settled in the area, the city was officially established in 1742.[3] Porto Alegre is also one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America,[4] and one of the most diverse. It has welcomed immigrants from all over the world, the largest numbers coming from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. There are also significant Arab and Jewish contingents in the population. The Afro-Brazilian population is also large in the city.

Before this, Porto Alegre was the port of Viamão on the shore of Guaíba Lake. Its ancient name was Porto dos Casais (Port of the Couples), and it was initially settled by Azorians. Many families of settlers also came from the city of Rio Grande (Big River) in the littoral Lagunar region, to the south, a military fortress at that time. Today Rio Grande is the most important port of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is also known as "Porto do Sol" (Port of the Sun) and "Cidade Sorriso" (Smile City).[5] More than 70 neighborhoods (see below) are part of the city and two-thirds of the population are concentrated in the Zona Norte (Northern Zone), where most of the economic activity, including the city center, takes place.

Porto Alegre was the seat of the World Social Forum in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. As the second largest city in southern Brazil, it is also an important industrial center in this geographical area. It is also a center for gaúcho (the popular name for natives of the state) history and culture, famous for its churrasco (barbecue) and chimarrão (a strong and hot tea prepared from erva mate). Important Brazilian universities, such as UFRGS, UFCSPA and PUCRS are located there. In 2000, the literacy rate was 97%.[6] The high quality of life is one of the city's main features. Here people will find an excellent urban infrastructure, telecommunications and excellent medical service.[7]



Porto Alegre is located in the subtropical zone and thus features a humid subtropical climate. Average precipitation is high and regular throughout the year. Summer temperatures often rise above 32 °C (90 °F) and high levels of humidity make the season very muggy. Subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and chilly to mild winters. Significant amounts of precipitation occur in all seasons in most areas. Most summer rainfall occurs during thunderstorms and an occasional tropical storm, hurricane or cyclone.

The winter is mild, windy, and quite changeable, which is also a feature of this time of the year. Usual winter temperatures range from 8 °C (46 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F). Snow is very rare, sometimes confused with sleet. The main snowfall events in Porto Alegre were in 1879, 1910, 1962, 1984, 2000 and 2006. Fall tends to be as changeable as winter, but are typically warmer. Spring, stabler akin to summer, is slightly drier than all the other seasons. Occurrence of radiation fog is common, causing several delays in early flights.

Climate data for Porto Alegre
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39
Average high °C (°F) 31
Daily mean °C (°F) 25
Average low °C (°F) 19
Record low °C (°F) 11
Precipitation cm (inches) 9
Source: BBC Weather[8]


Glória Hill, a rural area of the city.

The vegetation of the city is the subtropical forest. A number of conservation programmes have been established here to protect native trees. Many of the city's avenues have been planted with different tree species. One striking example of this is Teresópolis Avenue, where bottle trees have been planted. The city is covered in green vegetation and Lapacho and Jacaranda are the main species that can be found here. The trees from the hills are protected. Two environmental conservation areas can be found in this city: "Delta do Jacuí" (Jacuí Delta) State Park and Lami Biological Reserve.[9]

The urban area has many parks and plazas, making Porto Alegre one of the greenest provincial capitals in Brazil. The first city squares date from the second half of the 18th century and were originally large public spaces used as food markets. The city has 39 km2 (9,600 acres) of green space, occupying 31 percent of the city's area. This is an average of 17.6 m² per person. More than one million trees line the public streets and SMAM plants an average of 30,000 seedlings each year. The four main parks are: Parque Farroupilha, a 37-hectare (91-acre) park; Jardim Botânico (The Botanical Garden of Porto Alegre), with some 725 species of vegetation on about 43 hectares (110 acres) of land; and Parque Marinha do Brasil (The Brazilian Navy's Park), a vast park of more than 70 hectares (170 acres) which offers a wide variety of sports fields and tracks. The city's cycleway is called the Caminho dos Parques, which at over 5 km (2 mi) long links the Moinhos do Vento, Farroupilha and Guaíba shore parks.[10]


View of Guaíba Lake in the afternoon.

Sewer service is available to 84 percent of the city, and with 99.5 percent of the population serviced by treated water. While in most Brazilian cities the water is supplied by large state companies, in Porto Alegre the Municipal Department of Water and Sanitation Services, (DMAE) is the provider. It is the largest municipal water supplier in the country and enjoys operational autonomy and financial independence. As a separate entity from the municipal government it can make its own decisions on how to invest revenues it has collected, and such decisions are not directly subject to interference from the municipality. It receives no subsidies and makes no payments to the municipality itself. As a municipal undertaking, DMAE enjoys tax-exempt status, which allows it to keep water prices lower.[11]

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approves US$ 83.2 million to support the Integrated Socioenvironmental Program of Porto Alegre. The program will be carried out by the Municipal Department of Management and Strategic Support and will focus on: Improving water quality in Guaíba Lake and the Cavalhada River; Developing urban infrastructure to reduce flood risk along the Cavalhada River; Improving the environmental management in the Municipality of Porto Alegre; and Promoting efficient municipal water, sanitation and storm drainage services. This program will improve the quality of life of the population of Porto Alegre by restoring water quality along the west side of Lake Guaíba and directly benefitting more than 700,000 residents through expanded public sanitation services and urban environmental improvement.[12]

Air quality

Panoramic view.

Motor vehicles are responsible for up to 80 percent of the main atmospheric pollutant emissions. In the last 40 years, the population of the city has doubled and the number of cars has multiplied 22 times, about one vehicle for every two inhabitants. The use of new buses along dedicated busways has decreased pollutants as there is less idling time. SMAM (the Municipal Council of the Environment) has encouraged the use of the cleanest fuels and has played a role in monitoring pollution levels.

A partnership between SMAM, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, the State Environmental Protection Foundation (FEPAM) and Petrobrás has created a network of five air monitoring stations in Porto Alegre. By utilizing a Petrobrás product called city diesel, sulphur levels in the air have dropped from 1.2 percent in 1989 to 0.5 percent. Hybrid buses which run on both diesel and electricity are also being considered for the future. Because Porto Alegre has a ready supply of natural gas, the city's taxi fleet to gradually being converted to it from gasoline.[13]


Porto Alegre in 1852.

Porto Alegre began as a large farm whose surroundings were inhabited by Indians from several different tribes. A small village formed in the area in 1752 by settlers mainly from the Azores, and in 1772 the parish of São Francisco do Porto dos Casais was formed. A year later the bishop changed the name to Nossa Senhora Madre de Deus do Porto Alegre (The Happy Port of Our Lady Mother of God) and the city was selected as the location for the provincial government.

Porto Alegre had become a city of 12,000 inhabitants by 1822, the year the Brazil gained independence. The main port facilities were built between 1845 and 1860. By the end of the century the population had risen to 73,000. An unsuccessful bid for the presidency by Getúlio Vargas, a Porto Alegre native, led him to overthrow the government in 1930. The city became known worldwide in 1963 through hosting the World University Games. In 1985 the people of Porto Alegre joined the movement for free elections and one of the largest demonstrations took place in the city.[14]


Interior of the Public Market.
The Public Market in the city center.
Methodist Church in the city.
São Pedro Theatre.
Conde de Porto Alegre Square.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 4,026,000 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre. The population density was 2,905.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (7,525 /sq mi) (in the urban area). The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following percentage: 3,218,000 White people (79.94%), 477,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (11.84%), 300,000 Black people (7.45%), 19,000 Amerindian people (0.48%), 8,000 Asian people (0.20%).[15]

Porto Alegre is mostly composed of Brazilians of European descent. Its colonization started in the mid-18th century, mostly with the arrival of Portuguese colonists from the Azores Islands. From 1748 to 1756, 2,300 Azoreans were sent to the region by the King of Portugal to protect Southern Brazil from neighboring invaders.[16]

These colonists, mostly composed of married couples, established the city of Porto dos Casais (literally translated "harbor of the couples"), nowadays Porto Alegre. In 1775, 55% of Rio Grande do Sul's population was of Azorean Portuguese origin.[17]

Porto Alegre was composed mainly of Azoreans and their African slaves until the first half of the 19th century. The first non-Portuguese people to settle Rio Grande do Sul were German immigrants. In 1824, the first immigrants from Germany arrived in Porto Alegre, but they were sent to what is now the city of São Leopoldo (28 km (17 mi) away). From 1824 to 1914, 50 thousand Germans arrived in Rio Grande do Sul.[18]

Most of these colonists had rural communities in the interior of the State as their first destination. The large rural exodus in Brazil in the early 20th century brought many German-descendants to Porto Alegre and, nowadays, they compose a large percentage of the population.[19]

The second largest group of immigrants who arrived in Porto Alegre were the Italians. They started immigrating to Brazil in 1875, mainly from the Northern Italian Veneto region.[20] As the Germans, Italians were also first sent to rural communities, mainly in the Serra Gaúcha region. After some decades, many of them started to migrate to other parts of Rio Grande do Sul, including Porto Alegre.

Minority communities of immigrants, such as Eastern Europeans from Poland[21] and Ukraine; Arabs from Lebanon and Syria; Asians from Japan and Jews also made Porto Alegre their home.[22][23]

Population growth

Changing demographics of the city of Porto Alegre

Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.[24]


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 73.15% 995,330
Protestant 9.33% 126,879
No religion 8.16% 110,959
Spiritist 4.29% 58,380
Jewish 0.49% 6,627
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.45% 6,092

Source: IBGE 2000.[25]


Sunset in Porto Alegre.

Located at the junction of five rivers, it has become an important alluvial port as well as one of the chief industrial and commercial centers in Brazil. With the advent of the Mercosul accord it should grow and prosper. Products of the rich agricultural and pastoral hinterland, such as soybeans, leather, canned beef, and rice, are exported from Porto Alegre to destinations as far away as Africa and Japan.[26]

According to SENAES (National Office of Solidarity Economy), it is considered a solidarity economy, the ensemble of economic activities with the following characteristics: cooperation, self-management, economic feasibility and solidarity. In 2005, the office identified 14,954 solidary enterprises in Brazil, among which 85 are located in Porto Alegre.[27]

Among the main business located in Porto Alegre are Gerdau, Petroleo Ipiranga, Zaffari and RBS. Since 2000, General Motors (GM) is operating in Gravataí - located in the Metropolitan Region. Also in this Region but in Triunfo, there is a Petrochemical Pole, and in Eldorado do Sul Dell Computers has established a plant. In the health sector, there are two hospitals considered among the best in Latin America (Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital and Clinicas Hospital). Commerce is a very important economic activity, with many malls (like Rua da Praia and Shopping Iguatemi). The Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre, directed to the production of shoes (around Novo Hamburgo) and to petrochemical industries, as well as services.[28]

In the city is located the Electronics Technology Center (CEITEC), ocused on the development and production of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), today announced the opening of Latin America's first IC design center. To create state-of-the-art semiconductor products for high-volume markets that will be consumed in Latin America as well as exported to global markets.

CEITEC S.A will accelerate the growth of Latin America's electronics industry by leveraging Brazil's regional influence, leadership and economic strength. The company will add 60 engineers to its ranks who will design RFID, digital media and wireless communication chips for its fabrication facility now ramping up for production. The total investment by the Brazilian government is almost US$ 210 million. The company is implementing a fab-lite strategy with the ability to manufacture analog/digital chips at its facility in Porto Alegre. The in-house design center with more than 100 engineers.[29]

Its rural hinterland yields a variety of agricultural and pastoral products, including meat and hides, wool, rice, beans, cashews, avocados, wheat, grapes, and tobacco. From the forests comes lumber. The city's industries are chiefly concerned with processing these products and include meat-packing, lard refining, leather tanning, shipbuilding, and the manufacturing of textiles, metallurgic goods, electrical and communications equipment, plastics, pharmaceuticals, perfume, beer, and chemicals. There are also steel mills, an oil terminal, and a petrochemical complex. Power comes from coal mined at nearby São Jerônimo and from a hydroelectric plant at Salto. The city has many business and financial institutions and is also an educational centre.[30]

The GDP for the city was R$ 30,116,002,000 (2006).[31]

The per capita income for the city was R$ 20,900 (2006).[32]

Participatory budgeting

Porto Alegre City Hall.

The first full participatory budgeting process was developed in the city starting in 1989. Participatory budgeting was part of a number of innovative reform programs to overcome severe inequality in living standards amongst city residents. One third of the city's residents lived in isolated slums at the city outskirts, lacking access to public amenities (water, sanitation, health care facilities, and schools).[33]

Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre occurs annually, starting with a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, where residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement.[34] Porto Alegre spends about 200 million dollars per year on construction and services, this money is subject to participatory budgeting. Annual spending on fixed expenses such as debt service and pensions, is not subject to public participation. Around fifty thousand residents of Porto Alegre now take part in the participatory budgeting process (compared to 1.5 million city inhabitants), with the number of participants growing year on year since 1989. Participants are from diverse economic and political backgrounds.[34]

The participatory budgeting cycle starts in January and assemblies across the city to facilitate maximum participation and interaction. Each February there is instruction from city specialists in technical and systemic aspects of city budgeting. In March there are plenary assemblies in each of the city's 16 districts as well as assemblies dealing with such areas as transportation, health, education, sports, and economic development.

These large meetings, with participation that can reach over 1,000, elect delegates to represent specific neighborhoods. The mayor and staff attend to respond to citizen concerns. In the following month's delegates meet weekly or biweekly in each district to review technical project criteria and district needs.

City department staff may participate according to their area of expertise. At a second regional plenary, regional delegates prioritize the district's demands and elect 42 councillors representing all districts and thematic areas to serve on the Municipal Council of the Budget. The main function of the Municipal Council of the Budget is to reconcile the demands of each district with available resources, and to propose and approve an overall municipal budget. The resulting budget is binding, though the city council can suggest, but not require changes. Only the Mayor may veto the budget, or remand it back to the Municipal Council of the Budget (this has never happened).[34]

Downtown Porto Alegre at night.

A World Bank paper suggests that participatory budgeting has led to direct improvements in facilities in Porto Alegre. For example, sewer and water connections increased from 75% of households in 1988 to 98% in 1997. The number of schools quadrupled since 1986.[33]

The high number of participants, after more than a decade, suggests that participatory budgeting encourages increasing citizen involvement, according to the paper. Also, Porto Alegre's health and education budget increased from 13% (1985) to almost 40% (1996), and the share of the participatory budget in the total budget increased from 17% (1992) to 21% (1999).[33]

Alternative programs


Public lighting on Borges de Medeiros Avenue.
Matriz Square and public lighting.

About 98 percent of the Porto Alegre's residents are connected to the power grid. The vast majority of the city's power comes from hydroelectric sources, at 94 percent of grid output. In Brazil, there are also a few coal-fired plants, fuel-oil fired plants and one nuclear facility. Increased utilization of natural gas and other sources is planned in order to reduce Brazil's overdependence on hydroelectric power. In 1999, a natural gas pipeline from Bolivia to Brazil was completed, with its terminus in Porto Alegre. Brazilian investment group Central Termoeletrica Sul (CTSul) has plans to invest US$698 million in a 650MW coal-fired power generation plant in Cachoeira do Sul, located in Rio Grande do Sul.[35]

The largest wind energy park in Brazil, which is being built east of Porto Alegre in Osório, will add 150 megawatts (MW) to the Brazilian energy matrix. The production represents 5 percent of the energy consumed in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and would be sufficient to meet two-thirds of Porto Alegre's energy demands. The forecast is that energy generation will begin at the beginning of 2007. The project is part of the Alternative Energy Sources Program (Proinfa) from state-owned Eletrobrás, which will purchase the energy produced for the next 20 years.[36]


Porto Alegre was one of the first cities in Brazil to develop a recycling program and has been acknowledged as having the best management practices in the country. Since 1990, household waste already separated by residents has been collected in all neighbourhoods on a weekly basis. The city produces about 900 tonnes of household waste per day. Waste is sorted in recycling units, which are large sheds containing crates for the unsorted waste and benches for manual sorting. Once sorted, the waste is compressed and baled up to be sold as raw material to recycling factories. The units are managed by autonomous cooperatives with directors elected every two years. Organic waste is used to generate thermal energy and to make compost. Since 1997, all non-recyclable waste has been disposed of in landfill sites. Infiltration into the soil is prevented by the double-walled construction of a clay layer and a high-density polythene geo-membrane, the lowering of the water table and the draining off and treatment of any effluent.[37]

Aerial view of Guaíba Lake and Porto Alegre.


The community of Belém Novo is benefiting from a municipal, citywide project to recover the Guaíba Lake and its margins. Discussions with local fishermen led to the inclusion of a pier and two storage and cleaning facilities for the fishermen to use. The group also approved the creation of a multipurpose cooperative, called "Coopeixe", to organize the fishing community. Fish is sold at markets, to restaurants and directly to consumers.[38]


Telecentre. Is used by 10,000 citizens yearly, the goal is to close the digital divide and promote connectivity and social inclusion. Housing Cooperatives. Over 75 housing cooperatives are now operating in the city, with 11,000 housing units built in the last 14 years.[39]

Tourism and recreation

Central Public Market.
Piratini Palace.
Redenção Park.
Solar Palmeiro.
Sunset in Porto Alegre.

The seat of State Government, its construction begun in 1896 after a project by Affonso Hebert, but soon the plan was changed and another project was designed by Maurice Gras, which was erected from 1909 on, and completed only towards the 70's. It shows a blend of baroque and neoclassical features inspired after the french palace Petit Trianon, with rich inner decorations and furniture, and a big garden behind the main building.

Central Public Market

Central Public Market is a neoclassical building opened in 1869. From 1995 to 1996 it underwent a major restoration process, which modified its original structure. With over 100 shops and stores, there is great variety of options: restaurants, fruit and fish stores, and a famous ice cream parlor.

Paleontological Tourism

Although Porto Alegre is not in the geopark of Paleorrota, it has the largest number of paleontologists of Rio Grande do Sul. The city has a large number of museums, and the UFRGS as a center for the study of paleontology and there can see the animals of Triassic. We can see Rhynchosaur, thecodonts, exaeretodons, Staurikosaurus, Guaibasaurus, Saturnalia tupiniquim, Sacisaurus, Unaysaurus and many others.

Farroupilha Park

It is located in the Farroupilha Neighborhood. Its 370 thousand sq. meters of extension hosts 45 copper and marble monuments, a luminous fountain and the "O Expedicionário" (The Expeditionary One) monument, representing a double Triumph Arch with relief sculptures which are a homage to Brazilian soldiers who fought in Italy during the World War II. It also hosts a mini-zoo, an amusement park for children, a solar retreat, a market, football and bowling fields, cycleways, athletic sports track, gymnastics equipment, and an auditorium for 4,500 people.

Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho Park

Located at Cidade Baixa District, it occupies 300 thousand sq. meters, hosting in its area a replica of a traditional gaucho farm, the Harmonia Ranch, designed to maintain and practice the regional culture. It also has an aero modelling track, a nautical modelling tank, playground, football and bowling fields, volleyball courts, and over 100 barbecue grills available in different areas of the park.

Botanical Gardens

With an area of approximately 43 hectares, the Porto Alegre Botanical Gardens are in the neighborhood named after it, between Cristiano Fischer Avenue and Salvador França Avenue. It harbours scientific collections with over two thousand issues, 725 plant species, spread over the different open areas of the park. It also has a Germplasm Bank, a Seed Bank and a Sapling Terrarium, in addition to developing environmental educational activities. The Natural Sciences Museum is headquartered at the Gardens and preserves flora and fauna species from the State Natural Heritage.

Saint Hilaire Park

Located on RS-040 highway, at about km 02, this park is 17 km (10 mi) away from Downtown Porto Alegre. It occupies 11.8 km² (4.5 mi²), 240 hectares of which are designed for leisure and 940 hectares reserved for permanent conservation. Its name is a homage to scientist Augustin François César Prouvençal de Saint-Hilaire, an internationally renowned French traveller and naturalist who lived in Brazil for many years. The park infrastructure has football fields, bowling fields, volleyball courts and indoor football fields, aero modelling and skating tracks, a playground and approximately 100 barbecue grills.

Lami Biological Reserve

The city has a Biological Reserve 170 hectares long within its territorial limits. Lami Biological Reserve shelters a meteorological station and a terrarium of native saplings. The diverse atmospheres enable growing over 300 vegetal species and a higher number of animal species; the swamps and reeds are home to many aquatic livings.

Rural Area

The rural area is also a chief attraction in this place and turns Porto Alegre into an ideal holiday destination, especially in the south area. A opportunity to forget about the stress of the bustling city life at least for some days and get back to nature, to enjoy the flavours, smells, sounds and colours with the five senses. Picking fruits to eat them later, wandering along the countryside or visiting the conservation areas are some of the activities that can be enjoyed in these rural routes.

Usina do Gasômetro

This is an old powerplant built in 1928 which was refurnished recently and now hosts movie theaters and art expositions. During the sunset, lots of people get together in front of the Usina to watch the sun diving into Rio Guaíba (Guaíba Lake).


Porto Alegre has a beautiful sunset over its main river, Guaíba Lake. Best enjoyed on the western side at places like Gasômetro and Ipanema. Beware that this event lasts about five minutes only.

Moinhos de Vento Park

Known by locals as Parcão, this is a pleasant park with a neat lake and jogging runways.

Santuário Mãe de Deus

A church almost unknown by most porto-alegrenses. It is placed in an great location, with nice views of Porto Alegre and nearby cities landscapes. Built in 1992, it has a modern architecture and engineering, designed to support the strong winds of the location.

Panoramic picture of Ipanema Beach in Porto Alegre.


Porto Alegre is well known in Brazil for its diverse nightlife. The city's clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants provide entertainment for a wide range of tastes and budgets, going from the cheap, traditional beer-'n-bite in a corner bar to all-night raves, and classy nightclubs. The nightlife here is similar to that of New York City, but on a micro-scale. In the "SoHo" area of Porto Alegre, there is a block full of great bars, restaurants and clubs.[40]

Bars, some with live music and most with a predominantly young and trendy clientele, are spread out along, and just off, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University. Favourites change constantly, but the Doce Vicio, and, for dancing, the Ocidente, are usually lively. Be warned, though, that things don't get going until around llpm. Throughout the year, Porto Alegre's numerous Centros de Tradição Gaúcha organize traditional meals, music and dance performances. Tourist offices have only limited information on the events, but full details are available from the Movimento Tradicionalista Gaúcho.

Opinião bar.

Porto Alegre boasts a good popular music scene and a considerable theatrical tradition. Foreign performers of all kinds usually include Porto Alegre on any Brazilian or wider South American tour. The Sala Jazz Tom Jobim, features the city's best jazz, or there are live afternoon jazz sessions at the Café Concerto within the Casa de Cultura), which also has a good arthouse cinema. There are three more screens at the Espaço Unibanco (Unibanco Cultural Space), another art house cinema. Finally, the Centro Cultural Usina do Gasômetro, a converted 1920s power station on the banks of the river just west of the centre, is well worth a visit; there's always something going on in its cinema, theatre and galleries, and it also has a cafe and a good bookshop.[41]

In Cidade Baixa neighborhood, the historical street João Alfredo has many excellent options. Discos include Dado Bier, Manara, and Venezza. Manara has different environments and a variety of patrons on different floors, the Sundays well popular. Live music to dance 'coladinho' and very forró university sound of. PIPE has live music every day, jazz, Brazilian popular music and blues. The corner between Gal Lima e Silva Street and República Street is the center of the neighborhood's nightlife. In the weekends, it's streets gets crowded of people drinking and having a good time. Cavanhas, Pingüim, Copão, Cotiporã, Panorama (most cheap beer) are some of the bars where people can drink beer and grab some french fries. To dance MPB (Brazilian popular music), historical street João Alfredo has many excellent options. Small bars on "Republica" street are great. [42]

In Calçada da Fama, the Padre Chagas Street is full of more fashionable bars, like Lilliput and Dado Pub. Goethe Avenue has a concentration of bars (Tri Bar, Arsenal, Dolphin's), great hotdog called "Bagé Dog" and dance clubs, like Manara. Rua Fernando Gomes has a nice concentration of pubs, cafes, bars. Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University has Bars with live music and most with a predominantly young and trendy clientele.[43] Moinhos de Vento is one of the richiest neighborhoods in the city. Its bars and clubs are more likely to be fashionable. Expect the bars to be pricey. Along Padre Chagas Street people can find typical Irish pubs and cafes.[44]

A fictionalized view of the Porto Alegre nightlife could be seen in the Érico Verissimo's novel Noite.


Rosário High School.

Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum. There are also international schools, such as the Pan American School of Porto Alegre.

Educational institutions

Educational system

It is the Brazilian capital with the highest level of education, 20% of family leaders have an university degree. There are two important universities in Porto Alegre, such as Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and the Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). UFRGS is among the three main universities of the country for post-graduation work. In the Metropolitan Region of the city, there are two other important universities, such as ULBRA and UNISINOS, and many university centers.[45]



Mário Quintana House of Culture.
Old General Military Command of the South.
Rocco Candy shop.

Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art – MARGS

With an eclectic style, the building was designed by German architect Theo Wiederspahn. Originally it was the headquarters of the Fiscal Surveillance Agency of the Federal Revenue Office. Nowadays, it hosts the largest public collection of art works in Rio Grande do Sul.

Júlio de Castilhos Museum

Created in 1903, being the oldest museum in the state. Its collection comprises thousands of pieces related to the local history, from Indian relics to objects and iconography about the War of Tatters and the War of the Triple Alliance, including an important section showing fine sculptures from the Jesuitic Reductions.

Joaquim José Felizardo Museum

An important museum with a large collection of archaeological artifacts and fotographies of Porto Alegre's old times. Its historical building, dating from 1845–55, is one of the few intact relics of colonial architecture inside the modern urban environment.[46]

Rio Grande do Sul Memorial

Showing a huge collection of documents, maps, objects, prints and other items related to the state's history. Its building, designed by Theodor Wiederspahn, is one of the finest examples of eclectic architecture in the city.

Mário Quintana House of Culture This House of Culture is located in the place where the Majestic Hotel used to work. One of the country's most important poets among the group of contemporary ones spent most of his life here. Hence, this house became a symbolic building in Porto Alegre. Nowadays, this house is one of the city's major attractions not only because of its eclectic architecture, but also it offers cinemas, exhibition halls, theatre, rehearsal room for dancing and libraries.


The Porto Alegre Carnival began in the 18th century with the entrudo, a prank brought over by the Portuguese from the Azores, whereby people threw flour, water, and "limão de cheiro" missiles at each other. At the end of the 19th century, two important Carnival associations were born. Rivalry between the two long dominated the city's Carnival. The corso, a parade of floats down Porto Alegre's streets, was a celebration enjoyed by the more well-to-do of the city's inhabitants.[47]

One of the most important Carnival personalities is King Momo. At the beginning of Carnival, usually in February, he receives the keys to the city from the Mayor of Porto Alegre, symbolically governing the Carnival during the four days of revelry. Vincente Rao was the most popular King Momo.[48]


One of the most famous foods of Brazil, churrasco (slow-grilled and -roasted meat), originated in Rio Grande do Sul. But cuisine is eclectic here, and rice and beans sit on southern tables beside Italian and German dishes, thanks to the South's many European immigrants. Colonial coffee is the elaborate 5 PM tea, with breads, pies, and German kuchen, popular among the Germans in the South.[49]

The traditional beverage is the "erva mate". The Chalet of the XV de Novembro Plaza is located along the Glênio Peres Square, it is one of the most traditional bar-draught beer-restaurants in the city, where the last "lambe-lambe" photographs of the region work. "Lambe-lambes" are photographers who develop pictures outdoor using the oldest method known. In the Bavarian style, with art nouveau traits, the centenary Chalet was built up on a demountable steel structure, keeping its original chandeliers and tiles even nowadays.[50]


Bookfair in the city.
Brazilian "Gaúcho" with typical clothing in Farroupilha Parade.

A wide range of cultural events are held in Porto Alegre. In addition to the traditional celebrations, a wide variety of activities are organized at Porto Alegre during the different seasons.

  • World Social Forum: At several occasions (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005) the World Social Forum has been hosted in Porto Alegre. This event gathered more than 100,000 people from more than 100 countries each year. The main aim of these meetings is to discuss and deal with social issues.[51]
  • Porto Verão Alegre: during the summer, for example, the "Porto Verão Alegre" or (Porto Summer Alegre) takes place in this city. This celebration consists of a number of performances and exhibitions. In 2005 about seventy plays could be enjoyed.[52]
  • Farroupilha Week: this cultural celebration takes place in mid September with parades, food and musical exhibitions. The "Acampamento Farroupilha" takes place in Harmonia Park, where thousands of people set up their tents and eat typical food to commemorate the Farroupilha Revolution.[53]
  • Bookfair: Held each November at Alfândega Square. In October Porto Alegre holds the greatest Book Fair in American continent, an event that has been taking place since 1955. Each year about 2,000,000 people attend this fair.[54]
  • Handicraft Fair: the "Brique da Redenção" is a handicraft fair where a wide variety of antiques can be found. Each Sunday this fair takes place in the well known Farroupilha Park or "Redenção" Park. Crafty pieces and antiques are exhibited in shows. Clowns and acrobats attend this fair as well.[55]
  • Worldwide Pinhole Photography: this is an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. The event is held each year on the last Sunday in April.[56]
  • Mercosur Biennial Exhibition: is held in Porto Alegre every two years between October and December. This is an important art and cultural event that attracts a large number of people as well.[57]
  • Carnival: As other Brazilian cities, Porto Alegre holds extensive festivities during the period immediately preceding Lent. Among them, there is a Escola de Samba contest, featuring Academia de Samba Puro, Acadêmicos da Orgia, Bambas da Orgia, Estado Maior da Restinga, Fidalgos e Aristocratas, Império da Zona Norte, Impeadores do Samba, among others.[58]


International Airport

Salgado Filho International Airport serves flights operated by major Brazilian airlines to many areas in Brazil and other South American countries. Salgado Filho International Airport also has an air cargo terminal, built in 1974, with 9,500 thousand square meters of area and capacity to handle 1,500 tons of export cargo and 900 tons of imports each month. The average daily movement (arrivals and departures) is 174 aircraft, flying scheduled routes connecting Porto Alegre directly or indirectly to all the country's other major cities, as well as smaller cities in the interior of the states of the South Region and São Paulo. There are also international flights with direct connections to cities of the Southern Cone.

Airplane in the airport.

With 37.6 thousand square meters of constructed area and four levels, the passenger terminal at Porto Alegre International Airport can receive 28 large airplanes simultaneously. The terminal has 32 check-in counters, ten boarding bridges, nine elevators and ten escalators. It has a totally automated aircraft movement control center and the main spaces are air conditioned. The apron, surfaced with prestressed concrete, can serve jumbo jets like the Boeing 747-400. The garage structure has eight levels, 44 thousand square meters and 1,440 parking spaces. Another terminal, with 15 thousand square meters and capacity for 1.5 million passengers a year, serves general, executive and third-tier aviation (conventional piston-engine and turboprop planes).

The Aeroshopping area, a center for commerce and leisure, operates 24 hours a day with shops, services, a food court, along with a triplex cinema, the first to be established at a Brazilian airport.[59] The main airlines that operate in Salgado Filho International Airport are: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Azul, Gol, Ocean Air, TACA Peru, TAM and Varig.[60]


The Port of Porto Alegre is situated in the Eastern margin of Guaíba Lake. The port lying on the eastern bank of the Guaíba lake at the point where its waters empty into the huge Lagoa dos Patos is one of Brazil's largest port. Located near the main access roads to Porto Alegre, is 4 km (2.4 mi) away from the Salgado Filho International Airport and has access to the railway station, through the docks of Mauá and Navegantes.[61] Its geographical position enables a permanent traffic between Porto Alegre and Buenos Aires, transporting steel-industry products and mainly agricultural produce.


Metro in Porto Alegre.

The metro is operated jointly by the federal government, the state government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city of Porto Alegre through the company Trensurb (Company of Urban Trains of Porto Alegre) and has 17 stations, totaling 42 kilometres (26 mi) of extension, carrying about 130,000 users a day. The Line 1 of the subway built in Porto Alegre was started in 1980, linking the center of Porto Alegre to cities to the north of the metropolitan area, as Canoas, Esteio, Sapucaia do Sul, São Leopoldo and Novo Hamburgo. The choice of path was made to relieve the heavy traffic of highway BR-116, only option before the construction of this line, which already had serious problems with the transit at the time. The Line 1 was inaugurated on March 2, 1985 between the Central Public Market and Sapucaia do Sul. In December 1997 was extended to Unisinos. An extension of 2.4 miles São Leopoldo-Museum was added in November 2000, after two months of trial service.[62]

The Second Urban Transport (Porto Alegre) Project the construction of a surface suburban rail mass transit system with about 25 electric unit trains between the central business area of the city of Porto Alegre and the town of Sapucaia, 26.7 kilometres (16.6 mi) to the north. The system will have 14 stations spaced approximately every 2 kilometres (1.2 mi), and will have a capacity of 48,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The benefits of the project will mainly accrue to the urban poor, many of whom live on the periphery of the metropolitan area, providing them with more rapid access to employment centers and improving the urban environment in which they live. The project will save on vehicle operating costs including fuel, reduce travel time, and reduce air and noise pollution by achieving a more efficient modal distribution of traffic and use of all transport facilities in the area of influence of the railway. It will contribute to the development of selected employment growth poles along the north-south corridor. The project involves the establishment of the company, TRENSURB, which was recently created to own and operate the system on a commercial basis without government operating subsidies.[63]


There are only two highways in the city, both running close to the northern and northwestern border of the city. This is so because there are no major destinations southeast or south of Porto Alegre (considering the landmass east of Lagoa dos Patos). One of them is BR-290, which runs east-west across the state, linking the northeast coast of the state to the Uruguay-Argentina-Brazil border. It runs close to the northern border of the municipality. The other one is BR-116, which runs northeast-south across the state, linking Porto Alegre to several satellite cities and other Brazilian capitals to the north, and Uruguay to the south. Within the municipality, it only touches the northwest side of the city, close to the end of Rio Gravataí (Gravataí River). The connection between downtown Porto Alegre and the aforementioned highways is made by Avenida Presidente Castelo Branco (President Castelo Branco Avenue), which is a rather short - 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) - avenue also bordering the northwest side of the city.

Since 1999, the largest road work ever, the Terceira Perimetral (Third Perimetral) has been under construction throughout the city. The Terceira Perimetral is 12 km (7.4 mi) long, connecting both north and south regions of the city.[64]

Another way to get to Porto Alegre from the north is using BR-101 to Osório. BR-101 connects Curitiba, Florianópolis and Osório, and is currently being upgraded to highway standards.[65] Porto Alegre's Bus station is located downtown, and is served by several national and international lines (UNESUL, TTL, EGA, PLUMA, FLECHABUS, CHILEBUS). It is also connected to a Trensurb station (Porto Alegre Metro) and several municipal bus lines. Northbound passengers can rely on good bus connections throughout Brazil. However, an express bus might be recommended if traveling to Uruguay or Argentina in order to avoid several stops while enroute.[66]


Bus in Porto Alegre.

This city has a nice transportation system, especially the autobuses. One of the bus companies is named Carris, what is considered the best autobus company in Brazil. The city has also mini-buses from and to all the main neighborhoods in the city, very comfortable and just a few more boxes than the regular bus, and in the mini-buses people will be always seated as it's forbidden to transport passengers standing. Linha Turística (Tourist Line) is a bus that leaves from Usina do Gasômetro tourist terminal around six times per day. During 90 minutes, it traverses the various districts of Porto Alegre. For a modest price of R$ 5.[67] The "lotação" is an alternative system, with fewer lines, smaller cars (up to 20 people), where one can hop on and off at any point (i.e. outside designated stops) of the trip. The fare is usually more expensive.[68] Exclusive bus lanes in the median of seven radial corridors that converge on the city center are used by both urban and regional lines. The bus fleet totals 1,600, with 150 minibuses. About 325 million people use the system annually.[69]

Those lines have no prefix. It is quite common to switch buses at downtown but, considering there is a myriad of lines there, it can be challenging to find the right terminal to hop on the next bus. Transversal lines prefix "T" (T1, T2, ..., T11), connect different neighborhood without going through the downtown area, effectively eliminating the need of changing buses for the most common trips. Circular lines prefix "C" (C1, C2, C3), as the name indicates, run in a circular manner, usually connecting parts of the downtown area to the nearest neighborhoods.[70] Mayor José Fogaça renewed his agreement with EMBARQ and the Center for Sustainable Transport Brazil (CTS-Brasil) to improve accessibility and mobility in downtown Porto Alegre. The agreement, signed on March 11, includes a new partnership with the Andean Development Corporation, a Latin American multilateral financial institution that is expected to provide $1 million in non-reimbursable technical assistance this year to help Porto Alegre complete the preparation phase of the "Portais da Cidade" bus rapid transit project, a groundbreaking transport system designed to reduce pollution and congestion downtown. The system will include a southern extension to accommodate activities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. CAF's technical assistance will be administered through CTS-Brasil, which has been working to expand sustainable transport in Porto Alegre since 2005.[71]


Red taxis of Porto Alegre.

There are plenty of taxis. They can be pricey, if compared to other towns, but they are also an easier, safer and more dependable option than buses in some cases. To ride a cab, one can walk to the nearest "taxi stop" (usually in crowded areas or points of interest), wave for an empty passing cab or call a tele-táxi service. Tele-táxi may charge extra for this service.

The price of the fare is determined by a machine called taxímetro, usually in front of the passenger seat. There is always a minimum price, which is shown when the machine is reset for the trip. Next to the value, there is a "flag" indicator that shows the level of price being paid, always according to the service. Usually there is a table inside of the cab explaining each level of service. It is recommended to check if the correct level is being charged in the beginning of the trip.[72]


Beira-Rio Stadium, home of SC Internacional

Football is a passion of the people from Porto Alegre. There is a big rivalry between two football clubs, Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, founded in 1903. And Sport Club Internacional, founded in 1909. Both teams belong to the national elite and have also won South American top honours by winning the Copa Libertadores, and the highest global trophy for football clubs, the Intercontinental Cup, respectively its successor, the Club World Cup.

Porto Alegre is assumed to become one of the host cities of the World Cup 2014, for which Brazil is the host nation. Despite not having CBF and FIFA's official confirmation, Globo Esporte site believes that five cities are practically confirmed as host cities: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Brasília. The modernization of the Beira-Rio Stadium, home of SC Internacional, at this stage having a capacity for 58.000 spectators, is currently in progress with a view of becoming the cities World Cup venue.

Local rivals Grêmio play in their own stadium, the Estádio Olímpico Monumental which can host a crowd of up to 45.000 people. Grêmio's new Stadium is currently under development at the Humaitá district, and it will be under FIFA-UEFA standards for accommodations, safety and parking.


Neighborhoods of Porto Alegre are geographical divisions of the city. There is no devolution of administrative powers to neighborhoods, although there are several neighborhoods associations devoted to improve their own standards of living. Porto Alegre has nowadays 78 official distinguished neighborhoods and 4 territories.

Sister cities

Porto Alegre's sister cities are:[73] [74]

See also


  1. ^ Location of Porto Alegre
  2. ^ Vegetation in the city
  3. ^ History of Porto Alegre
  4. ^ Porto Alegre's Rank
  5. ^ Porto Alegre City - Names
  6. ^ Literacy rate of Porto Alegre
  7. ^ Life - Porto Alegre
  8. ^ "BBC Weather: Average Conditions for Porto Alegre". http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT001740. 
  9. ^ Vegetation in Porto Alegre
  10. ^ Green areas in Porto Alegre
  11. ^ Water system in Porto Alegre
  12. ^ Integrated Socioenvironmental Program of Porto Alegre
  13. ^ Air quality in the city
  14. ^ History of Porto Alegre
  15. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Síntese de Indicadores Sociais 2008. Curitiba, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. http://www.sidra.ibge.gov.br/bda/tabela/listabl.z=pnad&o=3&i=P&c=262. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  16. ^ Portuguese and Azorian Portuguese in Rio Grande do Sul
  17. ^ Azorean Portuguese origin in Porto Alegre
  18. ^ German colonies in the State of Rio Grande do Sul
  19. ^ Germans from the interior of the state in Porto Alegre
  20. ^ Italian colonies in the State of Rio Grande do Sul
  21. ^ Polish Brazilian in Porto Alegre
  22. ^ Japanese Brazilian in Porto Alegre
  23. ^ Jew Brazilian in Porto Alegre
  24. ^ Barsa Planeta Ltda
  25. ^ Religion in Porto Alegre by IBGE
  26. ^ Porto Alegre, Brazil by Sergio Koreisha
  27. ^ Solidary economy in Porto Alegre
  28. ^ Porto Alegre
  29. ^ Technology Industry - CEITEC
  30. ^ Porto Alegre - Economy
  31. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) GDP. Porto Alegre, Brazil: IBGE. 2006. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/presidencia/noticias/noticia_impressao.php?id_noticia=1288. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  32. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) per capita income. Porto Alegre, Brazil: IBGE. 2006. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/presidencia/noticias/noticia_impressao.php?id_noticia=1288. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  33. ^ a b c http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEMPOWERMENT/Resources/14657_Partic-Budg-Brazil-web.pdf
  34. ^ a b c Porto Alegre's Budget Of, By, and For the People by David Lewit
  35. ^ State Company of Eletric Energy - Rio Grande do Sul
  36. ^ Energy in Porto Alegre
  37. ^ Recycling program in Porto Alegre
  38. ^ Fisheries Recovery Project
  39. ^ Internet and Housing programs - Porto Alegre
  40. ^ Nightlife POA city
  41. ^ Nightlife Porto Alegre
  42. ^ Discos in Porto Alegre
  43. ^ Calçada da Fama and Goethe Avenue
  44. ^ Nightlife of Moinhos de Vento Neighborhood
  45. ^ High Education in Porto Alegre
  46. ^ Joaquim José Felizardo Museum
  47. ^ Carnival of Porto Alegre
  48. ^ King Momo - Carnival, Porto Alegre
  49. ^ Cuisine in Porto Alegre
  50. ^ Drink in Porto Alegre
  51. ^ World Social Forum - Porto Alegre City
  52. ^ Porto Verão Alegre Event
  53. ^ Farroupilha Week
  54. ^ Book Fair - Porto Alegre
  55. ^ Handicraft Fair - Porto Alegre
  56. ^ Worldwide Pinhole Photography Event
  57. ^ Mercosur Biennal Exhibition - Porto Alegre
  58. ^ http://www.carnaval.com/brazil/portoalegre/carnaval/
  59. ^ Salgado Filho International Airport - Infraero
  60. ^ International Airlines in Porto Alegre
  61. ^ Port of Porto Alegre
  62. ^ Metro (Porto Alegre)
  63. ^ Porto Alegre Metro project
  64. ^ Road in Porto Alegre, RS
  65. ^ BR-101 in Porto Alegre
  66. ^ Bus Station - Porto Alegre - Facts
  67. ^ Bus in Porto Alegre
  68. ^ Lotação Transport in Porto Alegre
  69. ^ Bus System in the city
  70. ^ Bus destines of the city
  71. ^ Bus Transport Project - Porto Alegre
  72. ^ Taxi in Porto Alegre
  73. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Mayor's International Council Sister Cities Program". Porto Alegre, RS. http://www2.portoalegre.rs.gov.br/captare/default.php?p_secao=36. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  74. ^ a b "Partners cities from Paris". Porto Alegre, RS. http://www.paris.fr/portail/accueil/Portal.lut?page_id=6587&document_type_id=5&document_id=16468&portlet_id=14974. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Porto Alegre[1] is the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil.

Moinhos de Vento Park - Porto Alegre
Moinhos de Vento Park - Porto Alegre


Porto Alegre is the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul and the biggest urban agglomeration of south Brazil. The perfect blend of Brazilian-Portuguese and Platinian-Spanish cultures, added to a strong European heritage gives the city a unique background within Brazil. The city is one of the richest metropolis in the country, the state capital with the highest life quality and literacy rate (97%), the book capital of Brazil, and is widely known in Brazil as the city with the most beautiful women in the country.

The gaúchos are very proud of their land and culture. In 1835 a revolution which declared Rio Grande do Sul independent from Brazil ecloded, the most significant national conflict of the Brazilian Empire (1822-1889), named the Farroupilha Revolution or Farrapos War. This war wreaked havoc across the entire state during 10 bloody years, killing nearly 20% of the gaúchos and ultimately leading to a peace treaty where the Republica Riograndense once again became part of Brazil. Another major Brazilian revolution also began in Rio Grande do Sul. The Federalist Revolution of 1893 defended the decentralization of powers and greater autonomy for the states, and only finished in 1895, after spreading to two other states. It was also in Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre) where the 1930 Revolution which overthrew the president Washington Luis began, and so was from Rio Grande do Sul the most important Brazilian communist revolutionary of all times: Luis Carlos Prestes, who led the nation-wide communist upheaval in 1935. For such reasons, among many others, the Gaúchos (Riograndenses) are particularly proud of their mother state, many considering themselves as gauchos rather than Brazilians.

Currently, Porto Alegre is a service centered city in between the industrial part of the state (north-east) and the rural part (south). It is also called the "Mercosul Capital".

Getting in

By plane

Porto Alegre's International Airport is Salgado Filho (POA), located 4.3 miles (7km) from downtown. Flights come from and go to cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. It's served by all major Brazilian airlines (Azul, TAM, Gol/Varig, Webjet, Oceanair), regional ones ( NHT and Trip) and international airlines American Airlines, TACA, Pluna and Aerolineas Argentinas.

There is a train station (known as trensurb by locals) and bus stops near the airport. However, it is recommended to take a cab ("taxi" for locals) in order to leave the airport, because the nearby trensurb station is not exactly close to the airport facility and available buses don't take you downtown. Cab rides can be a little pricey.

The airport facility is modern (built in 2001) and has a shopping-like structure, with restaurants, shops and even movie theaters.

By train

Trains serve only the metropolitan area. Locals call it trensurb and services are limited, with only one line connecting Downtown to some metropolitan cities (Canoas, Esteio, Sapucaia do Sul and São Leopoldo).

By car

Coming from the North (Florianópolis, Curitiba, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), one may reach Porto Alegre by two ways. BR-116 is shorter, but much more dangerous. This road is used to reach other destinations in Rio Grande do Sul, such as Caxias do Sul, Gramado and Canela. BR-116 also connects all major metropolitan cities and traffic jams are frequent during rush hours in weekdays. The other way to get to Porto Alegre from the North is using BR-101 to Osório and then BR-290. The first connects Curitiba, Florianópolis and Osório, and is being upgraded to highway standards; the latter crosses Rio Grande do Sul from Osório to Uruguaiana, through Porto Alegre. The section between Osório and Porto Alegre is called free-way by locals, and is a very well-mantained 6-lane toll-road.

Also, in neighbouring Canoas, BR-386 begins, connecting the metropolitan area with other major cities in the countryside, such as Santa Cruz do Sul, Santa Maria and Passo Fundo. It has 4 lanes up to Tabaí and it is in decent conditions.

From the South, coming from cities such as Pelotas, Rio Grande, and Chuí, one would use BR-116.

From the East, Porto Alegre is reachable by BR-290 from Uruguaiana and Argentina. Using this road, it's possible to reach southern cities such as Bagé and Santana do Livramento. This section of BR-290 shares a stretch with BR-116, from Guaíba's Bridge up to Eldorado do Sul interchange.

Be advised that some of these roads are dangerous due to their poor signaling/conditions and lots of trucks. Most of them are toll-roads and have electronic speed traps. Schedule your travels by car during the day; it is simply safer.

By bus

The long distance bus station is located downtown and is served by state, national and international lines. Daily services connects Porto Alegre with several cities inside the country and also Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. It is also connected to a trensurb station and several municipal bus lines.

By boat

Although Porto Alegre has decent port facilities, those are used for cargo transportation only.

Get around

The city is roughly a semi-circle that expanded outward in a concentric manner, beginning from the historical city center, right next to the promontory and the harbor. Avenues going from the center to the outer areas of the semi-circle are the radiais (radials) and are crossed by avenues named perimetrais (perimeters). Hence, to go to and from downtown one will use mostly the former, whereas to go from one neighborhood to another, one uses the latter.


To understand the bus system, one must consider the above description. All lines are identified as "(prefix)-number name/neighborhood". Currently, almost all lines are radial, that is, they connect an outer neighborhood to the various downtown terminals. Those lines have no prefix. It is quite common to switch buses at downtown but, considering there is a myriad of lines there, it can be challenging to find the right terminal to hop on the next bus. Transversal lines (prefix "T" - T1, T2, ..., T11), connect different neighborhood without going through the downtown area, effectively eliminating the need of changing buses for the most common trips. Circular lines (prefix "C" - C1, C2, C3), as the name indicates, run in a circular manner, usually connecting parts of the downtown area to the nearest neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find bus stops with indication of lines' destinations or timetables. Hence, when in doubt, the easiest way is to ask the locals which bus will get you to you destination. Porto Alegre's buses are, in most cases, clean, safe and fast, specially when the line uses the bus corridor, a reserved lane with special stops in main avenues, effectively avoiding traffic jams. In order to use the bus, you must be at a bus stop and signal or wave your hand to the arriving bus you want to ride (they will not stop unless waved upon!).

The fare must be paid to the cobrador before crossing the turnstile located inside the bus. Fares may be paid either in cash or using a smartcard system named TRI. TRI-users get discounts in consecutive trips - currently, a fifty percent discount is granted to the second trip within half an hour. Current fares are listed below:

class fare remarks
infant free must pass under or over the turnstile
student R$ 1,15 must use a special TRI card
adult R$ 2,30 second trip is R$ 1,15
resident senior (60y-) free must use a special TRI card
senior (65y-) free any document proving age is enough


The lotação is an alternative system, with fewer lines, smaller cars (up to 20 people), where one can hop on and off at any point (i.e. outside designated stops) of the trip. The fare is R$3.30 for everyone.


There are plenty of taxis. They can be pricey, if compared to other towns, but they are also an easier, safer and more dependable option than buses in some cases. To ride a cab, one can walk to the nearest "taxi stop" (usually in crowded areas or points of interest), wave for an empty passing cab or call a tele-táxi service. Tele-táxi may charge extra for this service. The price of the fare is determined by a machine called taxímetro, usually in front of the passenger seat. There is always a minimum price, which is shown when the machine is reset for the trip. Next to the value, there is a "flag" indicator that shows the level of price being paid, always according to the service. Usually there is a table inside of the cab explaining each level of service. It is recommended to check if the correct level is being charged in the beggining of the trip, in order to avoid problems when you reach your destination.


Walking around is a reasonable idea only inside a given neighborhood or downtown, as opposed to from one neighborhood to another, as they are usually too far apart. Walking during the night in most parts of the city is outright dangerous. During the day, it is recommended to pay attention to your belongings at all times, due to activity of pickpockets and other thieves. Avoid parks at night. Porto Alegre is a dangerous city at global levels. Be advised that pedestrian crossings, most of the time, are completely ignored by the vast majority of drivers; never rely on them without looking or making sure the driver will stop. It is also not recommended to cross the street outside the proper crossing areas in traffic jams: motorbike riders usually split between stopped cars, causing a great risk to pedestrians.

  • Sunset: Porto Alegre has a beautiful sunset over its main river, Guaíba. Best enjoyed on the western side at places like Gasômetro and Ipanema. Beware that this event lasts about five minutes only. If you go up to level 5 of Gasômetro building, you can have a broader view of the sunset. During the winter (around July), it is recommended to take additional clothes, because the wind can be very strong.
  • Santuário Mãe de Deus, Rua do Santuário 400, Bairro Cascata (accessible from Av. Oscar Pereira): A beautiful church almost unknown by most porto-alegrenses. It is placed in an great location, with nice views of Porto Alegre and nearby cities landscapes. Built in 1992, it has a modern architecture and engineering, designed to support the strong winds of the location. It is somewhat difficult to get to this place, for there are no buses near and a cab ride from downtown would be pricey. However, if you rent a car in Porto Alegre, it's worth trying.
  • Usina do Gasômetro: is a old powerplant built in 1928 which was refurnished recently and now hosts movie theaters and art expositions. During the sunset, lots of people get together in front of the Usina to watch the sun diving into Rio Guaíba (Guaiba river).
  • MARGS, Praça da Alfândega, Downtown, phone (51) 3227-2311, (fax (51) 3221-2646, e-mail museu.margs@terra.com.br), [2] (in portuguese): The local Museum of Art. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 7pm. There's a permanent collection and an area that is often receiving new exhibitions. There's also a bistro and a store that sells art books and souvenirs. Admission is free.
  • Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia da PUC, Av. Ipiranga 6681, Building #40, phone (51) 3320.3597 [3] (in portuguese): It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9am to 5pm. Admission is 10 reais (7 reais for children under 12, seniors, university students and professors).
  • Parque Moinhos de Vento (Moinhos de Vento Park) - Known by locals as Parcão, this is a pleasant park with a neat lake and jogging runways.
  • Parque Farroupilha (Farroupilha Park) - Known by locals as Redenção, where is located the Araujo Viana Auditorium, which has hosted several political acts and music concerts. Also on Sundays, a antique-fair happens in a side street and is called by locals as Brique da Redenção.
  • Monumento aos Açorianos (Açorianos monument) - It is a 17m high momument in the memory of the people from the island of Azores, who were the first to settle in Porto Alegre.
  • Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra (Monkey Canyons)- 120 miles from Porto Alegre going on BR101 by Praia Grande/SC or RS-020 by Cambará. Thousands of square miles of exuberant nature teeming with life. Miles of escarpments, innumerable waterfalls, rushing streams in an area absolutely undisturbed by human intervention--comprising not only tropical forest zones, but also the coastal, high plateau. And the coast--visible from the canyon’s rim. The unforgettable landscape is the result of immense volcanic eruptions more than 130 million years ago. For travel information, contact the RS Tourist Bureau or planitbrazil.com (US)925-270-4190
  • Linha Turismo. Travessa do Carmo Street 84, phones (51) 3213-3464 and (51) 3212-1628: a tourist bus line that rides through 11 neighbourhoods and shows the main attractions of the city (parks, trees, statues, hospitals, churches, etc), with audio guides in three languages. The trip is 28km long and lasts for about 1h20min, and the arrival is at the same departure address. From Tuesdays to Sundays (holidays included), at 9am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30m (winter) or 10:30am, 1:30pm, 3pm, 4:30pm and 6pm (summer). The tickets cost 5 reais for the lower floor and 7 reais for the superior one (which has no ceiling).
  • Planetário
  • Cisne Branco Boat, Mauá Avenue, 1050, phone (51) 3224-5222, [4] (in portuguese).
  • Feira do Livro (Book Fair) - Every october, hundreds of publishing editors sell books on Praça da Alfândega. It's possible to find rare books and cheap prices.


Global companies like Dell, Inc. maintain their presence in Porto Alegre.

  • Barra Shopping Sul: New shopping in the city, it has an 8-room cinemark cinema theater inside, and many good restaurants with a incredible view to the Guaiba Lake. Located in "Av. Diário de Notícias, 300". You can get more info on their [5] (in portuguese)
  • Brique da Redenção: It is a large flea market near Parque da Redenção with lots of authentic gaúcho art, crafts, furniture and hand-made stuff. It happens every Sunday, from 9am to 6pm.
  • Shopping Iguatemi: Located in the north side of the city, Av João Wallig 1800, it's the biggest Shopping Mall of Porto Alegre. You can get more info on their [6] (in portuguese)
  • Shopping Praia de Belas: Next to the Marinha do Brasil Park, it's a very good mall
  • Shopping Total: Built in the place of the old beer factory, it has a supermarket a lot of stores. It has very good restaurants outside in the parking lot.
  • Shopping Moinhos de Vento: Has a Sheraton hotel inside it.
  • Bourbon Shopping Country: One of the biggest Shopping Malls in town, located in Av Tulio de Rose, 100. It has a large variety of stores and restaurants.
  • X Speed (Cidade Baixa, Av. Lima e Silva)- Typical sandwich of Porto Alegre; it's a cheap option, but they don't care too much for cleaning.
  • Churrascaria Giovanaz, Venâncio Aires. An inexpensive churrascaria in the Cidade Baixa. You can eat as much meat (and side dishes) as you like for less than R$ 15 (US$ 7.50)  edit
  • Tudo Pelo Social, Rua João Alfredo 448, Cidade Baixa. 51 3226-4405. Serves simple dishes, such as beef and fries, but the quality is awesome and the prices are unbelievable. Buffet self-service on lunch hour. Expect lines during lunch and dinner time.
  • Lancheria do Parque, Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, 1086 (Bairro Bom Fim, across from the Parque Redençao), 3311 8321. 6AM-midnight. Has possibly the best cheap eats in Porto Alegre. Lunch is a very good buffet where the offerings are always fresh and tasty. The menu offers incredible fresh juices and vitaminas and they are big. Sandwiches include the traditional Bauru: steak or chicken with egg, cheese, lettuce and tomato on a special bun (meal size). X~s with excellent ingredients. Plates--steaks mostly. A great chicken soap. Risotto. Everything is good, much better than most lancherias. Despite what your Brazilian friends might say, the staff does appreciate a ten percent tip, even though they rarely receive it. For the great service you will receive they will certainly deserve it! Buffet from R$ 6, juices from R$ 2.  edit
  • Reçaka Bar, at Lima & Silva streets, is the perfect place to drink some beer after a long, stressful and busy day! There are delicious dishes, steaks, fries, salads and whatever you ask them to prepare especially for you, offered by Jorge and family. They have run the place personally since it's opening and know almost all of their clients by name. There, it is possible to find gremistas and colorados rooting at the same place while watching a football game, an extraordinary and unbelievable event in Porto Alegre. Very attractive prices.
  • Bar do Beto, Rua Sarmento Leite, Cidade Baixa. Delicious options including typical Italian plates such as Fillet à parmeggiana (bovine meat covered with tomato sauce, cheese and ham). You can also ask for snacks or sandwiches.
  • Na Brasa, Rua Ramiro Barcelos, 389, Floresta, 51 3225-2205. [7] Typical gaúcho barbecue, serves all kinds of meat - cow, chicken, pork, sheep and wild boar. Has also a good-quality salad buffet and wines. Prices are around R$ 35 per person.
  • Steinhaus, Rua Coronel Paulino Teixeira 415, Rio Branco. 51 33308661. German restaurant.


Porto Alegre's nightlife is basically divided onto two neighborhoods: Cidade Baixa and Moinhos de Vento. Although, several pubs and clubs are located throughout the city.

Cidade Baixa

Cidade Baixa is an old neighborhood, filled with historical buildings and oldfashioned mansions. Most of the popular and cheap bars are located in Lima e Silva Street; they are the traditional xis (cheeseburgers) places, such as Speed and Cavanhas. In República Street, pubs and bars are fancier and more expensive too. Inside the old mansions of João Alfredo Street, several dance clubs party every night. The places are perfect to dance Brazilian popular music (called MPB) and samba.

  • Bar Opinião, Rua José do Patrocínio , 834. Since 1983, the Bar Opinião is a reference in the port-alegrense nightlife. With its newly extended physical space, the house can receive up to 2,300 people. The bar has had major improvements and offers a more comfortable structure now. In its menu, different drinks and tidbits.

Moinhos de Vento

Moinhos de Vento is one of the richiest neighborhoods in town. Its bars and clubs are more likely to be fashionable. Expect bars to be pricey. Along Padre Chagas Street you can find typical Irish pubs and cafes.


Other options are:

  • Shamrock Irish Pub, Rua Vieira de Castro, 32 [8] (in portuguese). Typical Irish pub, 1km from Cidade Baixa area. Opens from Tuesdays to Sundays at 6pm (on Saturdays at 7pm).
  • Bar do Beto, Venâncio Aires Avenue, 876 [9] (in portuguese). Opens every day from 5pm to 3am. The beer is always really cold, there is a good variety of dishes and snacks and the food is aways delicious. It's a good place to flirt too.
  • Manara, Av. Goethe, 200. The place has different environments and gathers a varied public. On the first floor, a bar and a dancefloor. A stage for shows is also available. On the mezzanine, some tables and chairs to make the attendence feel comfortable. The Sundays are specially agitated. The band Maria Bonita puts the public to dance to the sound of 'forró' music. Offers private parking lot.
  • República de Madras, Shopping Total, Av. Cristóvão Colombo, 545. Inspired on the Indian culture, specially on the old city of Madras, the club has four floors and an outside terrace. On Thursdays, some of the top DJs in town usually play there. Friday and Saturday, the club offers pop music and pagode.
  • John Bull Pub, Shopping Total, Av. Cristóvão Colombo, 545. The place has a stage for shows where usually rock and roll cover bands performe.
  • Dissonante, website. The bar encourages the alternative rock porto-alegrense, offering an excellent space for the exposition of independent bands of the most varied styles - from instrumental rock to punk rock. Basically almost everything that involves a distorted guitar.
  • Bar do Nito, Lucas de Oliveira, 105, Phone: 3333-6221. The owner plays every night old songs from Brazilian Popular Music (MPB). Every 29th day of the month you could enjoy the excellent and tradicional nhoque.
  • Hotel Ritz, Rua Des. André da Rocha 225 (Bus line C1 from bus terminal to 2 blocks from the hostel (circular centro)), +55 (51) 3225 0693 (, fax: (51) 32253423), [10]. Quite a few students, and some others, living here permanently. Clean bedrooms. Internet, Wifi. Free use of kitchen. English and Espagnol spoken. Dorm bed R$ 35, also singles and doubles. Breakfast extra R$ 5.  edit
  • Marechal Hotel, Rua Andrade Neves 123 (Centro), Cep. 90010-210, Phone/Fax 51 3061 3076, [11]. Very basic rooms but probably one of the cheapest options right in the middle of town. Singles from R$ 27.  edit
  • Master Executivo, Alberto Bins Avenue, 618, 51 3025-4000, e-mail: reservas@master-hoteis.com.br [12]
  • Arvoredo Residence, Fernando Machado St., 347, 51 3027-5199, e-mail: reservas@master-hoteis.com.br [13]
  • Ibis Hotel
  • Master Express, Rua Sarmento Leite, 865, 51 3018-3636, e-mail: reservas@master-hoteis.com.br [14]
  • Master Express Perimetral, Av. Loreiro da Silva, 1840, 51 3023-9503, e-mail: reservas@master-hoteis.com.br [15]
  • Grande Hotel Express, Rua Riachuelo, 1070, 51 3287-4411, e-mail: reservas@master-hoteis.com.br [16]
  • The Sheraton Hotel
  • Caesar Park Hotel
  • Swan Tower Hotel
  • Plaza San Rafael Hotel

Stay safe

Be aware when walking around downtown, specifically on Rua dos Andradas (commonly known as Rua da Praia), during daylight, since pickpockets may wander about. One should not need to be overcautious, however. Porto Alegre can be dangerous but it is still a fairly safe city by South American standards.

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!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Porto Alegre

  1. State capital of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).

Simple English

File:Lago do parque da redençã
View of a park in Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is a Brazilian city, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. It has, approximately 1.4 million inhabitants and an area of 496.8 km².

Its main famous park is the 'Parque Dos Expedicionários' also known as 'Parque da Redenção' [Redemption Park, in English]. Porto Alegre became known all over the world by The Social World Forum. Also known worldwide by the hottest city in the world at February, 2009.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address