Youngest capital city celebrates 50 years of architectural beauty vitality and history

22nd Apr 2010
Youngest capital city celebrates 50 years of architectural beauty vitality and history

Fifty years may not seem like much in the larger country history, but for Brasilia, fifty years is a great accomplishment. One cannot help but be impressed by the grandeur the federal capital has achieved in such a short time.

Brasilia was built to represent the future in the 1950s, fulfilling a long-held dream to have a capital in the heart of the country. The capital, located in the state of Goias, was inaugurated on April 21, 1960 after three and a half years of rapid development.

Brazil became an empire in 1823 and revolutionary Jose Bonifacio spoke of establishing a new capital in the centre of the country. It took more than a century for the government to finally realize Bonifacio’s dream. On March 15, 1956, after numerous debates on the implications of such a change to Brazil’s history, politics, economy and society, President Juscelino Kubitschek announced a new federal capital would be built.

Urban planner Lúcio Costa won the public bid to design the city. Using the topography of the region to his advantage, he presented the now famous “Pilot Plan” in the shape of an enormous airplane. In 1987, UNESCO declared the Pilot Plan a World Cultural Heritage asset.

Brazil’s third capital was inaugurated April 21, 1960 by President Kubitschek who became a revolutionary in Brazil’s history for gradually moving the entire federal administration and headquarters of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the federal government from Rio de Janeiro to Brazil’s Central-West region.


Many of the city’s most striking buildings were designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, with his trademark use of concrete and curves. Among them were the National Congress, with its concave and convex domes symbolising the two houses of the legislature, and the city’s cathedral with 16 columns coming together to represent hands outstretched to heaven.

Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa, the Square of the Three Powers is the most popular tourist attractions in Brasilia due to the large amount of monuments and sculptures at the site, transforming the square into an open-air museum.

Brasilia is more than just beautiful buildings exemplifying great modern architecture. Over the past 50 years, restaurants and bars in the business district have become traditional, busy meeting places. Future tourists will find that with a large expatriate community from other countries and residents from other states in the nation, Brasilia’s pace is vibrant and its arms are open to visitors. While in Brasilia, tourists are encouraged to take advantage of the gorgeous destinations near the capital.  These include Pirenópolis, Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park and Caldas Novas.


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