Situated in the Central-West region, the smallest of Brazil’s Federative Units and the only one which does not have municipalities, instead being divided into administrative regions.
The Federal District has a recent history. It was created in the middle of the 20th century, to house the country’s new capital, Brasília. Officially opened in 1960, by the then President Juscelino Kubitschek, Brasília was designed by renowned architects Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, and is a UNESCO World Heritage item.
The city was built in the shape of an aeroplane, with its two big ‘wings’ – the so called ‘pilot plan’ – which contains famous architectural features like the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasília, the National Congress and the TV Tower (complete with aerial view of the Plan), all of which are concentrated on the city’s main avenue, called the Esplanada or Eixo Monumental.
In addition to the political attractions, other highlights are the City Park and the Paranoá Lake, which is man-made, and known as the Mar do Cerrado, and is a perfect spot for watching the sun set.
Outside of the capital, the Federal District has a number of other attractions, mainly natural ones. The cerrado, a type of vegetation specific to the region, is semi-desert, dotted with rivers and impressive waterfalls.
Around Brasília there are a multitude of farm hotels, great for relaxation, horse-riding, swimming in natural water and enjoying local cooking, which takes in influences from all over Brazil.
Local cultural influences are mainly from the northeast – the region where the candangos (migrants who predominantly built the city) came from – as well as the neighbouring states of Goiás and Minas Gerais.
The mix of modern architecture, concrete and nature; and the big wide cerrado sky, contribute to making the Federal District a unique destination not only in Brazil but also the world.
Capital: Brasília Area (km2): 5,779.999 Population: 2,914,830 (2015) Term for a person from this state: brasiliense; candango-candanga Dial code: 61 Bordering states: Goiás and Minas Gerais
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