Sao Paulo (City) Tourist Attractions
São Paulo, capital of the state of that name and the largest city in South America, is 72km/45mi from Santos, 408km/254mi from Curitiba, 429km/267mi from Rio de Janeiro and 586km/364mi from Belo Horizonte. Economically, politically and culturally it is the most important city in Brazil.
Situated on the Piratininga plateau and surrounded by rivers which fan out to provide access to the interior, São Paulo proved soon after its foundation to be the gateway to the sertão. On their expeditions into the wild country of the interior the bandeirantes of São Paulo explored vast tracts of territory in the hinterland of the town, the south and middle west of Brazil and Minas Gerais. Some of the expressways (rodovias) radiating from São Paulo follow the routes opened up by bandeirantes and tropeiros (cattle-drovers) - the Anchieta and Imigrantes roads to Santos, the Via Dutra to Rio de Janeiro, the Fernão Dias road to Belo Horizonte, the Bandeirantes and Anhanguera roads heading for the middle west and the Raposo Tavares, Castelo Branco and Régis Bittencourt roads running south.
São Paulo is a significant cultural centre with diverse areas influenced by Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, African, Jewish, Arab and Japanese residents and culture. Some of the landmarks in São Paulo include the Neo-Gothic Cathedral of São Paulo, Pátio do Colégio (historic Jesuit church and school), Avenida Paulista, and Edifício Copan.
There are numerous cultural events in São Paulo such as the São Paulo Art Biennial, which runs every two years; São Paulo Fashion Week, twice each year at the building of Bienal de São Paulo; the March for Jesus, that takes place every year and reached 2 million participants in 2007.
Mosteiro de São Bento
Pátio do Colégio
Largo de São Francisco
In 1872 São Paulo had only 31,000 inhabitants - fewer than Cuiabá in Mato Grosso - and was practically confined within the boundaries of the original settlement. From 1880 onwards, however, the coffee plantations expanded considerably and the railway network was extended, while new immigrants flocked into the town. As a result São Paulo enjoyed an upsurge of prosperity and expanded at a vertiginous rate. The town now outgrew the limits set by the rivers, and new districts - the Centro Novo - developed round the historic core.
Nossa Senhora da Luz
Museum of Sacred Art
State Picture Gallery
Praça da República
Largo do Arouche
Parque Dom Pedro II
Museum of Art
Santa Cruz dos Enforcados
Museum of Japanese Immigration
The Museum of Japanese Immigration (Museu da Imigração Japonese) has some 1000 exhibits (works of art, everyday objects, books, photographs, reproductions of the boats which brought the Japanese immigrants to Brazil) showing how the immigrants adjusted to their new conditions of life and became integrated into this new world. They still maintain their old traditions, however, as is shown, for example, by the Feira Oriental, an Eastern street market held on Sundays in Praça da Liberdade, when typical Japanese delicacies, plants and craft products are on sale.
Casa das Rosas (State Art Gallery)
Museum of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Aeronautics and Folk Art
Obelisk to Heroes of 1932
Lasar Segall Museum
Casa do Grito
Museum of Image and Sound
Hospital das Clínicas
In Perdizes is the campus of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of São Paulo, with the Teatro da Universidade Católica. Round the University are numerous bookshops, cafés and restaurants catering mainly for young people. The district is traversed by a number of cross streets off Avenidas Sumaré and Pacaembu and by Rua Cardoso de Almeida, which runs from Largo Padre Péricles, in the Agua Branca district, to Avenida Dr Arnaldo.
Fernando Costa Park
From Large Padre Péricles Avenida Francisco Matarazzo runs between the Agua Branca and Barra Funda districts and then heads for Pompéia. On this avenue is the entrance to the Fernando Costa Park (or Parque da Agua Branca). Laid out in 1928, the park has an area of 110,000sq.m/131,500sq.yds, with beautiful expanses of grass and woodland, lakes, a children's play area, a small zoo and the Museum of the Geological Institute. Markets and livestock shows are also held in the park.
Latin America Memorial
On the other side of Avenida Francisco Matarazzo, near the terminus of the Metro line to Barra Funda, is the Memorial da América Latina, a monumental complex covering an area of 80,000sq.m/96,000sq.yds and consisting of seven buildings set round two squares linked by a pedestrian bridge. This huge architectural project designed by Oscar Niemeyer is notable for its great areas of open space and its curving slabs of concrete. Some of the roof structures are borne on supporting beams up to 90m/295ft long.
On the square by the Metro station are the reception building for the whole complex, a restaurant, a library and the Salão de Atos (Athos Hall). In the Athos Hall, in which important decisions of the state government are taken, are a large (18m/60ft by 3m/10ft) wall painting of Tiradentes by Portinari and 15m/50ft high bas-relief panels by Carybé and Poty depicting the peoples and the history of Latin America. The library has 50,000 volumes as well as videos, films and records.
In the square are a piece of sculpture by Franz Weissmann and a monumental hand (7m/23ft high) designed by Oscar Niemeyer, with a map of the American continent carved on the palm.