Brasília was founded on April 21, 1960, by then president Juscelino Kubitschek and designed by urban planner Lúcio Costa, architect Oscar Niemeyer and engineer Joaquim Cardozo.
Despite being a relatively recent city, the idea of building the capital started in the period of Colonial Brazil, aiming to create the capital in the central region of the country in order to avoid attacks from the sea. Brasília’s name was created in 1823 by diplomat José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, who would later be known as “Independence Patriarch”.
Consecrated with the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 1987 due to its architectural importance, Brasília draws attention for its unique organization and urban planning. The central region of the city, known as “Plano Piloto”, was idealized by Lúcio Costa as the “Cross Sign”, but it is commonly known for its famous shape of an airplane. The urban planner’s concept defined the two arched wings of the airplane to follow the topography of the region. The two wings, known as Northern Wing and Southern Wing, are connected by a road axis and are composed of housing districts. The fuselage of the airplane, known as Monumental Axis, contains public and government buildings. The bus station of the city is located between the two wings.
Some of the various monuments and spots of the capital that have become the identity of Brasília for the world include:
National Congress Palace
The palace of the National Congress of Brazil is one of the pillars of Niemeyer’s monumental architecture. The smaller semi-sphere, facing downwards, is the seat of the Senate, while the larger semi-sphere, facing upwards, is the seat of the Chamber of Deputies. Between them are two office towers with 28 floors, which are destined to the respective public agencies.
Another work by Niemeyer, made possible by Joaquim Cardozo’s expertise for the structural calculation, the Cathedral was founded shortly after the inauguration of Brasília, in 1970. It is made of 16 concrete columns, resembling the shape of a hyperboloid. In the access to the cathedral, there are four bronze sculptures known as The Evangelists. Outside, a 20-meter-tall bell tower sustains four large bells.
Located on the Monumental Axis, the Ministries Esplanade contains the 17 buildings that house the government ministries. With the National Congress in the background, the configuration of the buildings resembles the country’s political structure.
A museum in honor of former president Juscelino Kubitschek, the JK Memorial is located in the central flower patch of the Monumental Axis, in the region of the Cruzeiro Square. The museum shows the history of the 21st president of Brazil, whose tomb is situated there.
The second tallest structure in Brazil, which Is 230 meters high, the TV Tower was a project by Lucio Costa and was inaugurated in 1967 to receive antennas from radio and television stations at the time. The structure features a viewpoint at 75 meters from the ground, with a panoramic view of the Southern and Northern Wings.
Also known as the third bridge in the city, the JK Bridge was inaugurated on December 15, 2002. It has a total length of 1.2 kilometers and is sustained by four submerged pillars, forming three asymmetrical arches in different planes. The bridge was built to create a direct connection to the Lago Sul district, passing through Lake Paranoá.
We look forward to seeing you all in 2023 to get to know these and all other monuments in the city in person.