Brazil Travel


The city of Sao Paulo is located within the state of Sao Paulo- an area totaling approximately 1,100 miles (1500Km) and nearly 15 million people. The urban area spans 900 km, while the rural area takes up approximately 600 km. Together, the rural and urban areas form the region referred to as Grande Sao Paulo (Greater Sao Paulo) that holds the biggest population within South America.

In the city of Sao Paulo the individual neighborhoods are surprisingly easy to navigate in, despite its reputation for lack of organized planning of the city's layout.

For all of the vibrancy that Sao Paulo has to offer, preservation of buildings was not anywhere near the top of the city's priority list. Centro is the part of the city where you can feel the historic Sao Paulo, even if only in passing bits. The city began here, and the original small colonial town that would come to grow into the cosmopolitan of modern day Sao Paulo, sat on top of the hill that was once between two rivers: Tamanduatei and Anhangabau. This was the former financial center of Sao Paulo, until it was moved to Avenue Paulista, where the many street vendors reveal the struggling working class of the city that is constantly being flooded with immigrants. Centro also contains the city's tallest buildings. The Prace da Se is the center of Sao Paulo and is the site of the Catedral Metropolitana da Se. Up Avenida Ipiranga is the city's tallest building, the Edificio Italia, which offers great views from the restaurant on the 41st floor. Nearby is the Edificio Copan, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Walking up one of the main pedestrian streets, Rua Sao Bento brings you to the Basilica Sao Bento, an early 20th century church. The Martinelli Building built in the 1920's and the Banespa Tower are both near and worth noting for their interesting architecture. Further north at the northern end of Centro you will find the Pinacoteca do Estado (State gallery) and the Sacred Art Museum, which is next to the Luz Station and Luz Park.

This area of the city grew up in the 1850's, but after the abolition of slavery in 1888 the main square that was formerly the Pelourinho (whipping post) of the city was renamed the Praca da Liberdade. In the early 20th century a large wave of Japanese immigrants arrived here with work as contract farm laborers for the Sao Paulo state. However, over a quarter of a million Japanese followed within the next 50 years. It is now the largest Japanese settlement outside of Japan. Many Korean and Chinese immigrants followed as well. Liberdade is located south of Praca da Se (in Centro) with the beginning of the neighborhood identifiable by the red porticoes that line themselves up. From the Praca Liberdade, which is still the center of this area, stroll along Rua Galvao Bueno where you'll find many shops and delicious sushi restaurants. Six blocks from the square is the Museum of Japanese Immigration and a great Sunday Street Fair, where Asian souvenirs, crafts, and foods are sold.

Avenida Paulista
Originally this avenue was home to the rich of Sao Paulo's founders: the coffee barons, who constructed their mansions here, such as the Casa das Rosas. Today it is lined with towering banks and sky-high office buildings that provide for an image of wealth and power. The Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP) is here and has a weekly flea market held along side of it from 10 to 5. At the end of the street is the Siqueira Campos Park or Parque Trianon, its old name. As many of the established institutions here are large patrons of the arts there are often free exhibits set up in the buildings. One common place is the Centro Cultural FIESP, the Espaco Cultural Citibank (a gallery), and the Instituto Cultural Itau, which holds contemporary Brazilian art.

This area refers to a range of neighborhoods that were developed after Avenue Paulista boomed. Rua Augusta runs through the center of the Jardins and it holds many top restaurants and hotels. A great shopping area (one of Sao Paulo's best) is where this street meets Rua Oscar Freire.

The term means "healthy city" and it was called this in the early 1900's when Centro became unsanitary with many mosquitoes and all around filth. As a result, this tree-filled area became very popular. The Museu de Arte Brasileira is in this area.

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