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Brasilia's Dramatic Architecture Draws World Cup Tourists

Brasilia's Dramatic Architecture Draws World Cup Touristsi
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June 24, 2014 11:08 PM
Fans from all around the world come to Brazil for soccer and tourism. Among the 12 venues for the FIFA World Cup, one is unique: Brasilia. The city was built 50 years ago in the country's central highlands to replace Rio de Janeiro as Brazil's capital. Brasilia is an architectural gem envisioned by renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. VOA’s Jim Randle narrates for correspondent Nicolas Pinault who visited the city.

VIDEO: Among the 12 venues for the FIFA World Cup, one is unique: Brasilia. Nicolas Pinault has more.

Nicolas Pinault
Fans from all around the world come to Brazil for soccer and tourism. Among the 12 venues for the FIFA World Cup, one is unique: Brasilia.

Built 50 years ago in the country's central highlands to replace Rio de Janeiro as Brazil's capital, Brasilia is an architectural gem envisioned by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
 
Niemeyer, who conceived the United Nations building in New York, received carte blanche to design Brasilia 50 years ago with fellow architect, Lucio Costa
 
In 1987, it was designated a Historical and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO.
 
Twenty-seven years later, tourists like Cesar Augusto Quintero are enjoying the city.
 
"Wonderful, wonderful," he said. "I discovered this city with futuristic projections. It's beautiful."
 
Niemeyer's style is certainly not conventional. The best example is the city's cathedral. You are not really impressed when you see it from the outside.  But once inside, the light and shapes reveal themselves.
 
"It's different from traditional churches but it's good," said Ana Gonzales, a tourist. "Inside, it is very bright. It's contemporary but it's beautiful."
 
The two million people who live Brasilia enjoy everyday treasures like the National Museum.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry building, Palacio da Alvorada, is also something to see for the 500,000 tourists expected in Brasilia during the World Cup.  

Francois, a tourist from Ivory Coast who gives only his first name, is not really surprised by the city.

"There are lots of touristic sites, spaces, and I think it is good for life," he said. "The architecture here is modern. It makes me think about my own political capital, Yamoussoukro. I think that our former president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, visited Brasilia and got inspired to build Yamoussoukro."

While Brasilia may not have Rio's beaches or the Iguazu Falls, Oscar Niemeyer's touch alone is worth the visit.

The global architecture of Oscar Niemeyer
 
  • A man walks near the National Congress building, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in the Ministries Esplanade in Brasilia, December 6, 2012.
  • A view of the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil, December 6, 2012.
  • Members of the "Yo apoyo al Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer" (I support the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center) association gather to pay tribute to architect Oscar Niemeyer in Aviles, Spain, December 6, 2012.
  • A view of the footbridge designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro, December 6, 2012.
  • A view of the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer in Niteroi city near Rio de Janeiro, December 6, 2012.
  • A woman takes a picture of the Niemeyer Center, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in Aviles, Spain, December 6, 2012.
  • The sun is seen behind the monument The Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom (Panteao da Patria e da Liberdade Tancredo Neves), designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in Brasilia, December 6, 2012.
  • A security walks next to the Planalto Palace designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia, December 5, 2012.
  • FILE - This April 17, 2007 file photo shows the government Esplanade of Ministries in Brasilia along the boulevard that features some of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer's most famous works.
  • FILE - This Oct. 8, 2007 file photo, the Ibirapuera Auditorium designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • FILE - This July 27, 2007 file photo shows the United Nations headquarters building, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in New York.
  • Dancers rappel from the Digital TV Tower as part of an aerial performance in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. The tower, also known as the Flor do Cerrado, was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer.
  • This Oct. 22, 2012 photo shows the headquarters of French Communist Party, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, in Paris.
  • FILE - This Aug 14, 2007 file photo, shows a view of the Brazil's National Congress, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1960, in Brasilia.

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