Brasilia may not be the prettiest (or touristy) city of Brazil, but the capital does have something to offer for those who somehow end up there. Spoiler alert: it’s not much 😉 Brasilia is a very new city, being built in the 1950s and officially the capital of Brazil since 1960. When the city was constructed, President Kubitschek (who ordered the construction), urban planner Lúcio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer had a clear vision of Brasilia being the new, modern and almost utopian capital of the Brazil they envisioned. It should come as no surprise then that Brasilia’s highlights are mostly architectural.
Here are my three personal highlights, to which I always take my visitors. In a next post, I’ll dive into the other type of highlights: the social hotspots. Because Brasilia is actually a very pleasant city to live in! To get to Brasilia’s highlights mentioned below, I highly recommend you rent a car for a day or uber your way around. They are all in the heart of the city, but public transport is terrible and the city is definitely not made for pedestrians. Brasilia’s traffic is not too difficult to navigate.
Santuário Dom Bosco
Named after the Italian saint who had a dream about a futuristic, new city in Brazil in 1883 (and thus reinforcing the idea for Brasilia), this church is unlike all the other churches you’ve ever seen before. It’s seriously my favourite church in the entire world. I’m always happy to return here and to just take in its beauty. The church is made of 7500 pieces of glass, and the colours are just magnificent.
It’s a beautiful church, with amazing light and colours. Unlike most catholic churches, there is barely any religious decoration (except for one Jesus statue), thus allowing visitors to really go back to the essence. I’m not religious, but this is how I’m interpreting it. The colours and the lack of distraction bring you peace of mind. I just love this church!
Another unconventional church! This one is definitely an architectural highlight, designed by Niemeyer. From the outside, it’s already worth to look at, with a very cool dome and church bells.
But inside, it’s pretty cool too!
Heading down to Praça dos Poderes
Driving down the Eixo Monumental, the main road with all the ministeries, parliament, etc., really gives you this futuristic vibe of the city. The Eixo is a bit higher, so when you drive down, you get a good view of the city with some of its modern buildings. I love driving here! I’d recommend you start from the northern end (close to Dom Bosco) and drive all the way down. In the middle you’ll also pass the Catedral Metropolitana, so it’s easy to stop here. Almost at the end, you have the Praça dos Poderes (Square of the Powers), with an erm.. interesting statue that looks like a giant clothes peg. As well as a great view of the Brazilian flag!