Located in the South of the country, Paraná was created when the state separated from São Paulo, in 1853. Its name is a reference to the big river which borders its western side.
For a long time, Paraná was sparsely populated, with the Spanish occupying the territory at the beginning of the 16thcentury. Due to the low rural population, an official programme of European integration was introduced at the beginning of the 1800s – Poles, Germans, Italians, Ukrainians and Japanese all helped to build the state.
At the end of the 19th century, Paraná’s economic prosperity was spurred on with the implantation of the railways, which helped the wood industry to grow. The soil, considered the most fertile in Brazil, covers 40% of the state, and was responsible for the rapid expansion of the coffee industry in the 20s. The port of Paranaguá is one of the oldest and most important in Brazil.
Paraná is one of the highest states in Brazil: over half of its territory is above 600 metres. Typical vegetation is the Floresta de Araucárias – common in regions of high altitude – and the Paraná Pine is the state’s symbol.
For tourists, the main feature are the famous Iguaçu Falls, on the border with Paraguay and Argentina. One of the Seven New Wonders of Nature according to the Swiss foundation New7wonders, they are in the Iguaçu National Park, and are a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Curitiba, with its European influences, is the highest and coldest capital in Brazil, and is an example to the world in urban solutions and use of natural resources. The city has approximately 51m2 of green space per inhabitant, a characteristic which can be seen in the dozens of urban parks, such as the Tanguá and the Barigui, in places like the Botanical Gardens and the Arame Opera, a tubular structure which is the city’s symbol.
The Ilha do Mel, one of the most beautiful strips of the Paraná coast, offers beaches, ecotourism and adventure. Cars are not permitted entry to the island, and anyone walking around at night must use a hand torch. In spite of its rustic nature, the island has a good tourist infrastructure, especially the charming Bed & Breakfasts.
With different customs and traditions from most other Brazilian states, the people of Paraná are known for being slightly more reserved, but that doesn’t impede on their hospitality, in a state which offers beautiful natural and cultural attractions.
Area (km2): 199,307.922
Population: 11,163,018 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: paranaense
Dial code: 41 / 46
Bordering states: Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Santa Catarina