Posted by: RasmaSandra | November 9, 2017

Spectacular Sao Paulo

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Our armchair travels have taken us to Brazil, a vast country in South America. It stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to vineyards and the massive Iguacu Falls in the south. Our first stop will be the city of Sao Paulo.

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Sao Paulo is a vibrant financial center and is one of the world’s most populous cities. It is the largest city in South America situated on the Piratininga Plateau surrounded by rivers that flow out into the interior. The city was founded in 1554 and became the gateway to the backcountry of Brazil.

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Before you begin exploring the city you can get a spectacular view from the Italia Building, rising 46 floors into the sky. You can relax at the observation bar or have a meal at the restaurant on the 41st floor. The best time is in the late afternoon when the sun is setting and you can listen to live jazz while watching the sunset.

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The Sao Paulo Museum of Art or MASP opened in 1968 and offers an impressive collection of western art. Here you can see artwork by Impressionists and modern masters such as Renoir and Van Gogh among many others. There are 73 bronze sculptures by Degas. This is one of the first art museums on the continent to focus on mid-20th century artists. On display are also artworks by Brazilian contemporary artists. The museum building was designed by Brazilain-Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi. The plaza beneath this structure hosts a Sunday antiques market and concerts are held at different times.

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Teatro Municiple/City Theater was designed by architect Ramos de Azevedo who used the Paris Opera as inspiration. It is a mix of Art Nouveau and Italian Renaissance. The theater was completed in 1911. It is a major center for the performing arts in South America and has hosted performances by many famous artists. It is home to the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Lirico or Lyric Choir and the City Ballet of Sao Paulo.

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Ibirapuera Park was laid out by landscape architect Robert Burle Marx. The buildings within the park were designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The park is a vast green space with monuments, museums, playgrounds, gardens, trails, lakes and performance spaces.

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In the park the Bandeiras Monument commemorates the Sao Paulo pioneers who opened up Brazil’s interior. It was sculpted by Brazilian sculptor Victor Brecheret with impressive heroic figures.

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An obelisk commemorates those who died in 1932 in the struggle for a new constitution.

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Auditorio Ibirapuera is an ultra-modern music hall that was designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

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It is considered to be one of the city’s best concert venues.

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The Aeronautics and Folk Art Museum displays aircraft models and flight equipment on the ground floor. There are almost 20,000 exhibits displaying folk art and traditions from all over Brazil.

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Within Parque Ibirapuera, the Pavilhao da Bienal de Artes was designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It was completed in 1957 and is now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, offering special exhibits and shows. The museum has over 8,000 pieces representing a wide range of artwork like Picasso, Modigliani and Leger as well as leading Brazilian artists. Among Latin America’s largest collection of 20th century Western art, displaying the artwork of Chagall, Kandinsky and Miro. The Sculpture Garden was designed by Roberto Burle Marx and displays 30 large sculptures.

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The Ipiranga District you’ll find Independence Park. You can see formal gardens with roses, topiaries and fountains which were inspired by those at Versailles in Paris, France.

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Here you can find the Museu Paulista or Museu do Ipiranga designed by Italian architect Tommaso Gaudenzio Bezzi. It was modeled on Italian neo-Classicism. You can find displays of  costumes, decorative arts, paintings and furniture of the Imperial Period.

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Se (Cathedral) is a neo-Gothic cathedral was built on the site of an earlier cathedral and building the cathedral took from 1913 to 1967. It was consecrated in 1954 on the 400th anniversary of Sao Paulo’s foundation.

On the facade are statues of prophets from the Old Testament and Christ’s disciples. On top is a Renaissance-style dome. Inside are many interesting features among them the 10,000 pipe organ and stained glass windows depicting the history of Catholicism in Brazil.

The capitals on the columns were carves to represent Brazilian flora like coffee and pineapples and fauna like armadillos. Down below is a crypt with impressive marble sculptures and tombs.

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Patio do Colegio is a square north of the cathedral and is the original nucleus of Sao Paulo. It is here that Manuel de Nobrega and Jose de Anchieta founded the College of the Society of Jesus, a residence and center of study for Jesuits. The first mass in the settlement was celebrated on January 25, 1554.

This is an attractive plaza which also includes the Historical Museum, a museum of sacred art and the Capela de Anchieta. Today all that remains of the 16th century building are the doors and a clay wall. In the gardens of the museum you can find a nice cafe.

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Parque Estadual da Cantareira is one of the world’s biggest urban forests located to the north of Sao Paulo. Here you can see many monkeys and birds as well as native species of flora. Climb the slopes of the Serra Cantareira.

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Here visitors enjoy walking and hiking on the many trails. People also enjoy having picnics. If you like you can also do some biking.

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An interesting place is Parque Aqua Branca where you can see animals like chickens, roosters and horses. If you like you can take riding lessons. In the arboretum are some amazing trees including the tree Brazil is named after, the Pau Brasil. On weekends musicians play here.

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Take the time to explore Japantown. Sao Paulo is home to the biggest population of Japanese people outside of Japan. The district is known as Liberdade. It is full of shops and bars and restaurants with a Japanese atmosphere. At weekends there are special food fairs and the markets always offer special treats.

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