Federal District Attractions Distrito Federal
Distrito FederalSituation and CharacteristicsThe Distrito Federal (Federal District) is an enclave measuring 60km/37mi by 100km/62mi in the south-eastern highlands of Goiás state, with one corner extending to the boundary with Minas Gerais. As the seat of the federal administration it is of equal status with the self-governing states of the federation. Within the Federal District the city of Brasília was built on a unified plan to be the new capital of Brazil, succeeding Rio de Janeiro in that capacity in 1960.
Brasília National Park
Brasília National ParkThe Parque Nacional de Brasília (area 28,000 hectares/70,000 acres; only part open to public) lies in the north-west of the Federal District, 10km/6mi from Brasília. It offers a representative selection of the characteristic vegetation of the Brazilian middle west, from the low and crooked trees of the cerrado, the bush steppe of the Brazilian interior - including particularly the pau-terra (Qualea cordata), the gujak tree and the aricuri palm, a species of coconut palm - to the imposing trees of the gallery forests found particularly on the banks of rivers and the shores of lakes, among them Ipàs-roxos (Tabebuia impetiginosa, a tree which yields dyewood) and jataís (Hymenaea courbaril). There are also expanses of scrub and grassland, and veredas (swampy plains) with beautiful palms and buritis. The numerous source streams in this area supply the whole of Brasília with drinking water. The attractions of the park also include a number of mineral springs.The park has a rich and varied fauna, with innumerable species of birds, rheas, wild pigs, capybaras, pampas deer, maned wolves, jaguars, caimans, anacondas, rattlesnakes, coral snakes and other species of snake.
Planaltina40km/25mi north-east of Brasília, within the Federal District, is the town of Planaltina. Its Museum of History and Art, housed in an early 20th century building, contains documents, photographs and objects illustrating the development of the town and of Brasília.
Aguas EmendadasWithin the territory of Planaltina is the State Nature Reserve of Aguas Emendadas (area 9768 hectares/24,127 acres), which was established in 1968.
Piripipau Falls40km/25mi from Brasília on the Planaltina road are the Piripipau Falls.
Itiquira Falls, Formosa, Brazil
Itiquira Falls118km/73mi from Brasilia, in the state of Goiás, is the town of Formosa. One of its sights is the Itiquira Falls, which have a drop of 168m/550ft. 5km/3mi outside the town is Lake Feia, which offers good bathing and fishing.
Chapada dos Veadeiros
Chapada dos Veadeiros200km/125mi north of Brasília, in the state of Goiás, is the Chapada dos Veadeiros (area 60,000 hectares/150,000 acres), which is reached on GO 118, via Alto Paraíso de Goiás and Teresinha de Goiás. This plateau is part of the great watershed between the rivers Amazon, Paraná and São Francisco. A permit from IBAMA is sometimes required for entry to the park.
Quilombo CalungaSome 300km/185mi north-east of Brasília, on the border between Goiás and the recently established state of Tocantins, is the Quilombo Calunga, founded 250 years ago by runaway slaves from São Paulo, which has survived the ravages of time. The present population, an estimated 4000, live in villages of mud huts of a type still found in Africa. The area is at present being studied by anthropologists from the University of Goiás. The Calunga Indians live in the Serra da Contenda, near the town of Monte Alegre de Goiás.
Luziánia60km/37mi south of Brasília, in Goiás state, is the historic little town of Luziánia (pop. 16,000), which has preserved a number of colonial-age buildings and handsome 18th century churches, notably the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks). According to some authorities its side altars have been removed to the church of Santa Lusia, also in Luziánia.