Goiás is the most populated state in the Central-West region of Brazil.
Its history dates back to the beginning of the 18th century, with the arrival of the bandeirantes from São Paulo, searching for gold. Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, known as Anhanguera, led the first expedition which set out with the intention of staying in the region, on 3 July 1722. The area around Rio Vermelho was the first to be occupied, where Vila Boa was founded (later renamed Cidade de Goiás, and nowadays known as Goiás Velho), being the state capital for the following 200 years.
The state’s independence was gained gradually, as the systems became more and more formalised. Development really kicked in once the capital was moved to Goiânia, in the 30s, and also thanks to the construction of Brasília, in 1960.
Today Goiás is notable for its economic growth, especially in the livestock and agriculture sectors, as well as tourism.
Cities such as Caldas Novas, with its hot springs, and Pirenópolis, replete with historic buildings and waterfalls, among which are the Abade and the Lázaro, attract tourists all year long.
Goiás is also a special place for ecotourism, with destinations like the Parque Nacional das Emas, home to wild jaguars, Guara wolves and giant anteaters; Alto Paraíso, a great base for visiting the surrounding waterfalls, such as Almécegas and the stunning Vale da Lua; and also the spectacular Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Goiana cuisine has some uniquely delicious delicacies, including the traditional empadão and pamonha, as well as fruits like the pequi, guariroba and the famous corn ice cream.
Goiana culture features festivals such as the Divino Espírito Santo and the Cavalhadas, Cora Coralina’s literature, cinema and arts festivals and the popular Sertaneja music.
With so many attractions, its history, people and the natural beauty of the cerrado, Goiás is one of Brazil’s most special destinations.
Area (km2): 340,111.783
Population: 6,610,681 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: goiano-goiana
Dial code: 61 / 64
Bordering states: Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Distrito Federal