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Overview

Built from scratch in the flat, dusty, middle of nowhere, Brasília is the world’s most famous – and fabulously futuristic – planned city. The inspired brainchild of fervent Brazilian modernists, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s federal capital was erected in a frenzied four years (1956-1960) with the aim of opening up the country’s isolated Wild West. A half-century later, the jury is divided as to how close Brasília came to meeting its utopian goals (it’s certainly more auto-friendly than people-friendly). However, there’s no denying the otherworldly allure of the gleaming white, sensually curvaceous ensemble of buildings that, ...

Built from scratch in the flat, dusty, middle of nowhere, Brasília is the world’s most famous – and fabulously futuristic – planned city. The inspired brainchild of fervent Brazilian modernists, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s federal capital was erected in a frenzied four years (1956-1960) with the aim of opening up the country’s isolated Wild West. A half-century later, the jury is divided as to how close Brasília came to meeting its utopian goals (it’s certainly more auto-friendly than people-friendly). However, there’s no denying the otherworldly allure of the gleaming white, sensually curvaceous ensemble of buildings that, divided into “Sectors,” comprise one of the world’s greatest architectural feats. As the seat of government, Brasília offers plenty of sophisticated cultural and dining options. Urban enticements aside, one can easily escape to colonial gold mining towns and splendid landscapes riddled with waterfalls and covered with native Cerrado vegetation.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Eastern South America
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: real
  • Research: Wikitravel
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June-September coincides with the dry season, which can be throat-parchingly dry (and hot). Weekends — when politicos skip town — are quieter; in terms of hotels, vacancy increases while rates go down.