Brasília is the capital of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. 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) as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the fourth largest city in Brazil. However, as a metropolitan area, it ranks lower at sixth. It is listed as a World Heritage Site UNESCO. Brasília hosts 124 foreign embassies.
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. Planning policies such as the locating of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, as well as building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, have 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. New areas are now being developed for hotels, such as the Hotels and Tourism Sector North, on the shore 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. On April 22 of 1960, it formally became Brazil's national capital. Viewed from above, the main portion of the city resembles an airplane or a butterfly. The city is commonly referred to as Capital Federal, or simply BSB. Residents of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos (the latter referring to those not born in the city, but migrated there when the city was established).
In local usage, the word "Brasília" usually refers only to the First Administrative Region within the Distrito Federal (Federal District), where the most important government buildings are located. Brasília has a unique status in Brazil, as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality like nearly all cities in Brazil. Nationally, the term is almost always used synonymously with the Brazilian Federal District, which constitutes an indivisible Federative Unit, analogous to a state. There are several "satellite cities," which are also part of the Federal District.
Brasília International Airport is the main airport in Brasília, 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.
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 Bonifácio, an advisor to Emperor Dom Pedro I. He presented a plan to the General Assembly for a new city called Brasilia, with the idea of moving the capital westward from the heavily populated southeastern corridor. The bill was not enacted because Emperor Dom Pedro I dissolved the Assembly.
Lúcio Costa won a contest and was the main urban planner in 1957, with 5550 people competing. Oscar Niemeyer, a close friend, 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 geographically central location fostered a more regionally neutral federal capital. The idea of locating the capital in the center of Brazil was first suggested in 1891, but not defined until 1922.
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. With the Constitution of 1988 Brasília gained the right to elect its Governor, and a District Assembly (Câmara Legislativa) was elected to exercise legislative power.
According to legend, Italian saint Don Bosco in 1883 had a dream in which he described a futuristic city that roughly fitted Brasília's location. In Brasília today, there are many references to this educator who founded the Salesian order, and one church in the city bears his name.
Brasília was built so that the federal capital of Brazil could be transferred from the coast to the Mideastern interior. The name "Brasilia" comes from Latin and means "Brazil". Previously the capital of Brazil was in Rio de Janeiro (1763–1960) and before that in Salvador (1549–1763). Brazil was not the only federal nation to plan and purpose-build a new capital city: Washington was constructed in the late 18th 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. Brasília is known internationally for having applied the principles in the Athens Charter of 1933.
Brasília was planned to have smooth transit flow. Lúcio Costa planned the streets so that traffic signals would be unnecessary. Cars and buses would take thoroughfares to travel long distances, then use one of several loops for 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 did not foresee such a quick growth of the city, much less the explosive growth in the satellite cities around it. Brasília today has traffic signals, and there is a scarcity of parking places, and traffic jams are usual at peak hours, particularly in some busier loops. The main thoroughfare is the Eixão (big Axis, or Eixo Rodoviário, in Costa's Plan). It is a high speed highway which bisects Brasília from north to south, with three lanes each direction, and no traffic signals.
The national capital's climate is Tropical savanna climate (Aw) according to many of Köppen's classifications. Brasilia's climate closely borders a subtropical highland climate (Cwa/Cwb), 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). 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, 26 °C (79 °F). The lowest average minimum temperature is in June and July 11 °C (52 °F). Average temperatures from September through April are a consistent 22 °C (72 °F). Those, however, are monthly averages; temperatures sometimes fall outside of this range. The absolute minimum temperature recorded was 0 °C (32 °F), and the absolute maximum was 37 °C (99 °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 30% around noon.
According to the IBGE of 2010, there were 2,562,963 residents 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%).
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 over 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.
From the beginning, the growth of Brasília was greater than original estimates. According to the original plans, Brasília would be a city for government authorities and staff. However, during the construction period, Brazilians from all over the country migrated to Brasília, seeking public and private jobs.
This makes it the largest city (by population) in the world at the close of the 20th century that did not 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
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 Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. In the Square of Three Powers, he created as a focal point the dramatic Congressional Palace, which is a composed 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 hidden) 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. 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 with many fashionable homes, and 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 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 towns, with the exception of Gama and Sobradinho were not planned.
Monumental Civic Scale
The city has been acclaimed for its use of modernist architecture on a grand scale and for its somewhat utopian city plan. It has been criticized for 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 efficiency of transit.
Even these positive features have sparked controversy, expressed in the nickname "ilha da fantasia" ("fantasy island"), indicating the sharp contrast between the city and surrounding regions, marked by poverty and disorganization in the cities of the state of Goiás, around Brasília.
Critics of Brasília's grand scale have characterized it as a modernist platonic fantasy about the future:
- Nothing dates faster than people's fantasies about the future. This is what you get when perfectly decent, intelligent, and talented men start thinking in terms of space rather than place; and single rather than multiple meanings. It's what you get when you design for political aspirations rather than real human needs. You get miles of jerry-built platonic nowhere infested with volkswagens. This, one may fervently hope, is the last experiment of its kind. The utopian buck stops here.
- Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New, Episode 4: Trouble in Utopia
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, an agency of the UN. 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.
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%.
Besides being the political center, Brasília is an important economic center. The city is the 3rd richest of Brazil, showing a gross domestic product (GDP) from 99.5 billion reais, representing 3.76% of the total Brazilian GDP. The main economic activity of the federal capital results from its administrative function. Its industrial planning is studied carefully by the Government of the Federal District. Being a town registered by UNESCO, the government in Brasilia has opted to encourage the development of non-polluting industries such as software, film, video, and gemology among others, with emphasis on environmental preservation and maintaining ecological balance, preserving the city property.
According to Mercer's city rankings of cost of living for expatriate employees, Brasília ranks 33rd among the most expensive cities in the world in 2011, up from the 70th position in 2010, ranking behind São Paulo (10th) and Rio de Janeiro (12th), and just behind New York City (32nd), the most expensive city in the United States.
(91% of local GDP, according to the IBGE):
- Government – the public sector is by far the largest employer, accounting for around 40% of the city jobs. Government jobs include all levels, from the federal police to diplomacy, from the transportation bureau to the armed forces;
- Communications – the telephony used to be a state monopoly, and Brasilia held the HQ of Telebrás, the central state company; one of the enterprises that resulted from the privatization of the system in the 90's, Brasil Telecom, keeps it HQ in the city; the official Postal Service (Correios) HQ is located in the city as well; as it is the main place of Federal Government news, it is also notable the activities of TV stations, including the main offices of four public networks (TV Brasil/Agência Brasil, TV Câmara, TV Senado and TV Justiça), the regional offices of four major private television networks (Globo, SBT, Rede Bandeirantes and Rede Record) and a main affiliate of RedeTV!;
- Banking and finance – headquarters of the Banco do Brasil and the Caixa Econômica Federal, both controlled by the Federal Government, and the Banco de Brasília, controlled by the city local government; it is also the site of the headquarters of the Central Bank, the main government regulatory agency of the fiancial sector;
- Entertainment – the shopping malls Conjunto Nacional, ParkShopping, Pátio Brasil Shopping, Brasília Shopping, Liberty Mall, Boulevard Shopping, Taguatinga Shopping, Terraço Shopping, Shopping Sul;
- Information technology (Politec, Poliedro, CTIS, among others), and legal services.
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 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%.
The Federal District has the largest GDP per capita income of Brazil R$ 40.996,00 (about US$ 27,610 per person, according to the IBGE, 2007 year). Brasília's per capita income is believed to be much higher.
The city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, including accommodation, Hotels Sectors North and South. New hotel facilities are 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 all of Brazil and the world, and offers a range of restaurants serving a variety of Brazilian regional and international food.
Portuguese language is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high curriculum. There are also international schools, such as the American School of Brasília, the Maple Bear Canadian School (elementary) and the Lycée Français François Mitterrand de Brasilia.
There are some well evaluated schools in the city. Some are religious oriented, such as the Catholics Marista, Galois and Católica, and the presbyterian Mackenzie. Non-religious institions include private schools such as Leonardo da Vinci and Sigma, and also the traditional Military School.
There are more than 114 universities in Brasília city.
Main tertiary educational institutions
- Universidade de Brasília – University of Brasília (UnB) (public);
- Universidade Católica de Brasília – Catholic University of Brasília (UCB);
- Centro Universitário de Brasília (UniCEUB);
- Centro Universitário do Distrito Federal (UniDF);
- Instituto de Educação Superior de Brasília (IESB);
- Faculdades Integradas da Terra de Brasília (FTB);
- Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Tecnológicas (FACITEC);
- Escola Superior de Ciências da Saúde (ESCS);
- and many others.
As a venue for political events, music performances and movie festivals, Brasília is a cosmopolitan city, with around 119 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.
Historic sites and museums
At the end of the Eixo Monumental lies the Esplanada dos Ministérios ("Ministries Esplanade"), an open area in downtown Brasília. The rectangular lawn is surrounded by two eight-lane avenues where many government buildings, monuments and memorials are located.
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 connected by tunnels.
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. A chapel and heliport are 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 government.
The main working office of the President of the Republic is in the Palácio do Planalto. The President and his family do not live in it, rather in the official residence, 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 along the Esplanada dos Ministérios.
The architect of the Palácio do Planalto was Oscar Niemeyer, creator of most of the important buildings in 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 is a large artificial lake built to increase the amount of water available to the region. It has the second largest marina in Brazil, and hosts wakeboarders and windsurfers.
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 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
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 would meet harmoniously.
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 reaching up, open, to the heavens. 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.
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 19th century by the Italian saint Don Bosco.
According to Don Bosco's prophecy:
- Between parallels 15 and 20, around a lake which shall be formed; A great civilization will thrive, and that will be the Promised Land.
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.
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. 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. 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, outside the metro system. There are many taxis outside the main gate, and some bus lines which connect the airport to the central area of Brasília. The parking lot accommodates 1,200 cars. In addition to domestic and regional services (TAM, GOL, Azul, WebJET, Trip and Avianca). Brasilia is improving its international connections; non-stop flights to Miami, United States with AA started in Nov 2010 and with TAM in Dec 2010. There are already direct flights to Atlanta, United States with Delta; Lima, Peru with LAN and TACA ; and to Lisbon, Portugal with TAP. On March 28, 2011 PLUNA will begin direct service to Montevideo, Uruguay, and connections and on June 18 Copa Airlines will begin direct service to Panama City, Panama increasing and improving connections to the rest of the American continent through the company's Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport.
Metrô de Brasília is Brasília's underground metro system. The subway system has 24 stations on two lines, the Orange and Green lines, distributed along a total network of 42 km (26 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 comprehensive, so buses may provide better access to the city center. The metro leaves the Rodoviária (bus station) and goes south, avoiding most of the political and tourist areas. The main purpose of the metro is to serve 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.
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 original plan was to have a bus station as near as possible to 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 interstate buses should also stop at the Central Station. Because of the growth of Brasília (and corresponding growth in the bus fleet), today the interstate buses leave from the older interstate station (called Rodoferroviária), located at the western end of the Eixo Monumental. The Central Bus Station also contains a main metro station.
A new inter-state station was opened in July 2010. It is on Saída Sul (South Exit) near Parkshopping and a metro station.
Distances to Other Brazilian Major Cities
- Goiânia: 209 km (130 mi);
- Belo Horizonte: 740 km (460 mi);
- Cuiabá: 1,009 km (627 mi);
- São Paulo: 1,020 km (630 mi);
- Campo Grande: 1,134 km (705 mi);
- Rio de Janeiro: 1,160 km (720 mi);
- Vitória: 1,237 km (769 mi);
- Curitiba: 1,400 km (870 mi);
- Salvador: 1,540 km (960 mi);
- Palmas: 1,614 km (1,003 mi);
- Aracaju: 1,650 km (1,030 mi);
- Teresina: 1,662 km (1,033 mi);
- Florianópolis: 1,700 km (1,100 mi);
- Maceió: 1,899 km (1,180 mi);
- São Luís: 1,953 km (1,214 mi);
- Porto Alegre: 2,027 km (1,260 mi);
- Belém: 2,130 km (1,320 mi);
- Recife: 2,133 km (1,325 mi);
- João Pessoa: 2,249 km (1,397 mi);
- Fortaleza: 2,285 km (1,420 mi);
- Macapá: 2,396 km (1,489 mi);
- Natal: 2,507 km (1,558 mi);
- Porto Velho: 2,589 km (1,609 mi);
- Rio Branco: 2,923 km (1,816 mi);
- Manaus: 3,490 km (2,170 mi);
- Boa Vista: 4,085 km (2,538 mi).
Nearby attractions include:
- Chapada dos Veadeiros – A National Park with plenty of cerrado wildlife and surrounded by several spectacular waterfalls.
- Itiquira Falls – this 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.
Brasília is home to two major football teams:
- Brasiliense Futebol Clube from Taguatinga
- Sociedade Esportiva do Gama
The main 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 ongoing. The brand-new stadium which is being constructed in its place will be called National Stadium of Brasilia.
Brasília will also host football tournaments during the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
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 27, it has host the 2nd stage of the Brazilian Hang Gliding Championship.
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. Currently NBB champion (2010 and 2011). The club host some of its games at the 16,000 seat Nilson Nelson Gymnasium.