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Brasília Collage.png
Brasília (Brazil)
Coordinates 15 ° 48 ′  S , 47 ° 51 ′  W Coordinates: 15 ° 48 ′  S , 47 ° 51 ′  W
Location of Brasília as the 1st administrative region in the Distrito Federal do Brasil
Location of Brasília as the 1st administrative region in the Distrito Federal do Brasil
coat of arms
coat of arms
"Venturi ventis"
winds of the future
founding April 21, 1960
Basic data
Country Brazil
Federal District Federal District
Região intermediária Distrito Federal (since 2017)
Região imediata Distrito Federal (since 2017)
Metropolitan area Distrito Federal e Entorno
structure 31 administrative regions
height 1172 m
Waters Lake Paranoá
surface 5802 km²
Metropolitan area 56,433.6 km²
Residents 2,570,160 (2010)
Metropolitan area 4,291,577 (2016)
density 443  Ew. / km²
estimate 3,015,268 (last July 1, 2019)
Parish code IBGE : 5300108
| style = "vertical-align: top; text-align: left; background-color: # f2f2f4; border-top-style: none" | Metropolitan area 76  Ew. / km²
Post Code 70000-70999
Telephone code (+55)  61
Time zone UTC −3
Website (pt-BR)
governor Ibaneis Rocha (2019–)
Political party MDB
Patron saint Johannes Bosco
Twin cities Xi'an
GDP 235,497,107 thousand R $
79,100  R $ per person 
HDI 0.824 (2010)

Brasília [bɾaˈziljɐ] is the capital of Brazil . It is located in the Distrito Federal do Brasil ( federal district ), which has a little over 3 million inhabitants (2019) on an area of ​​5,802 square kilometers.

The Distrito Federal consists of a single municipality ( município ), Brasília, where the municipality and federal district are legally identical. The federal district, however, is not a contiguous urban area, but - with its relatively low population density and dominant agricultural areas - is more comparable to a small federal state.

The core city (administrative region Plano Piloto ) had 205,030 inhabitants (2010) and an area of ​​472.12 square kilometers. In the metropolitan region of Brasília, which extends into the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais , around 4.29 million people (2016 estimate) live in an area of ​​55,570 square kilometers.

The center of Brasilia since 1987 belongs to the World Heritage of UNESCO .

Different definitions of Brasília

The name Brasília has different meanings:

  • Officially, the name Brasília is used exclusively for the municipality . This is - similar to the USA - identical to the federal district.
  • The 1st administrative region of the federal district: the official name of the 1st of the 31 administrative regions (regiões administrativas) of the federal district was Brasília until 1997 . The administrative region consists of the inner city of Plano Piloto as well as Asa Norte (north wing), Asa Sul (south wing) and most of the Brasília National Park . Since 1997 the administrative region is officially called Plano Piloto to avoid confusion with the municipality of Brasília . In common parlance, however, the name Brasília has remained for the 1st administrative region.
  • The Plano Piloto de Brasília : Furthermore, Brasília is everything that was included in the original urban plan (Plano Piloto de Brasília) . These are three administrative regions: Plano Piloto , Lago Norte (North Sea) and Lago Sul (South Sea).
  • Plano Piloto de Brasília and immediately adjacent settlements: For many of the residents, Cruzeiro and Sudoeste / Octogonal are also part of Brasília . Although these places were not included in the original plan, they originally belonged to the Brasília administrative region .


Geographical location

The capital is located on the central high plateau of the country at an altitude of 1172 meters near the watershed between the rivers that flow north to the Amazon and south to the Río de la Plata , in the middle of Brazil, but far from the other centers like São Paulo (872 km), Rio de Janeiro (930 km), Recife (1653 km) and Belém (1600 km).

The metropolitan area of Brasília (Região Integrada de Desenvolvimento do Distrito Federal e Entorno) has an area of ​​56,433.60 square kilometers and, in addition to the Distrito Federal do Brasil, comprises 19 municipalities in the state of Goiás ( Abadiânia , Água Fria de Goiás , Águas Lindas de Goiás , Alexânia , Cabeceiras , Cidade Ocidental , Cocalzinho de Goiás , Corumbá de Goiás , Cristalina , Formosa , Luziânia , Mimoso de Goiás , Novo Gama , Padre Bernardo , Pirenópolis , Planaltina , Santo Antônio do Descoberto , Valparaíso de Goiás and Vila Boa ) Minas Gerais ( Buritis and Unaí ).


Brasília is located in the tropical climate zone . The annual average temperature of the city is 20.7 ° C, the total annual precipitation 1552 mm. The monthly averages of the temperature hardly differ. The mean value for the warmest month of September is 21.7 ° C and the mean value for the coldest month of July is 18.5 ° C. However, the differences between the maximum values ​​during the day and the minimum values ​​at night are up to 10 ° C on a monthly average, so that the nights in June / July can definitely be perceived as cool.

Most of the precipitation falls during the rainy season between October and April with about 100 to just over 200 mm in the monthly average, the least in the dry season between May and September with less than 50 mm in the monthly average.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: World Weather Information Service ;
Long-term mean temperature and precipitation (1961–1990)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 26.9 26.7 27.1 26.6 25.7 25.2 25.1 27.3 28.3 27.5 26.6 26.2 O 26.6
Min. Temperature (° C) 17.4 17.4 17.5 16.8 15.0 13.3 12.9 14.6 16.0 17.4 17.5 17.5 O 16.1
Precipitation ( mm ) 241.4 214.7 188.9 123.8 39.3 8.8 11.8 12.8 51.9 172.1 238.0 248.6 Σ 1,552.1
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.1 5.6 5.8 6.7 7.6 8.4 8.6 8.5 6.8 5.4 4.8 4.5 O 6.5
Rainy days ( d ) 19th 16 16 9 5 3 3 4th 6th 14th 18th 20th Σ 133
Humidity ( % ) 76 77 76 75 68 61 56 49 53 66 75 79 O 67.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Plan Brasílias with the Plano Piloto
Brasília from space captured by the Terra satellite
Palácio do Planalto

Originally, today's Salvador da Bahia was the capital of Brazil - since the city was founded in 1549 and for more than 200 years. In 1763, Rio de Janeiro became the capital and retained that status for almost 200 years.


In 1891 the resolution to build a new capital for Brazil was enshrined in the constitution . The occasion was the desire for a neutral federal capital. Due to the location near the geographical center of the Brazilian national territory, the development of the inland infrastructure should also be promoted. In 1893 an area of ​​14,400 square kilometers was demarcated for the future capital. On September 7, 1922, the foundation stone for Brasília was laid near the city of Planaltina . The further expansion of the city was ordered by the President Getúlio Vargas (1930-1954).

In 1956 the area was still far from civilization. The city of Belém is 1,600 kilometers away and Rio de Janeiro 930 kilometers. The nearest railway station was 125 kilometers away, the nearest airport 190 kilometers and the next paved road 640 kilometers. Sand and gravel were available, but lumber had to be fetched from 1200 kilometers and structural steel from 1600 kilometers.

The responsible town planner was Lúcio Costa . As head of the state building authority, the architect Oscar Niemeyer was responsible for the Brasília project and designed the public buildings.

The shape of a cross was chosen as the ground plan for the city, which was to be seen as a symbol of the land marking on a map, one axis of which was bent due to the landscape. It is architecturally shaped by the cathedral and the parliament building. At that time, Costa's documents for the urban planning competition were called Plano Piloto , which can be roughly translated as “master plan”, since Costa hardly ever provided the required documents, such as needs calculations, but merely presented a basic idea. Due to the similarity of the city layout with the outline of an airplane and the name Plano Piloto , it is often wrongly assumed that the plan goes back to the representation of an airplane.


The redesign began on October 22, 1956. The first building to be built was a provisional presidential palace (the Catetinho ). On April 21, 1960, the planned capital was largely completed and was inaugurated by President Kubitschek. Brasília replaced Rio de Janeiro as the country's new capital.

First the ministries were established. Then other central institutions should move. The members of the old families who had lived in Rio de Janeiro for generations, however, resisted the move to Brasília. The government therefore set September 7, 1972 as the date by which every civil servant on penalty of losing his position and every diplomat under threat of losing his immunity had to take up residence in Brasília. At the last moment this led to a race for the few empty apartments.

The University of Brasília was opened on April 21, 1962 . The Brasília TV tower was completed in 1967, the post office in 1977, the city park in 1978 and the central bank in 1981 . On May 31, 1970, after twelve years of construction, the cathedral was inaugurated.

Since 1987, the city center of Brasilia is on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage . In 1992 the construction of the Metrô Brasília began and on March 31, 2001 the first section of the line was officially inaugurated. In March 2008, the city was awarded the title of 2008 American Capital of Culture .

The builders of Brasilia are known as Candangos.

Population development

With 205,030 inhabitants (2008) and an area of ​​472.12 square kilometers, the administrative region Plano Piloto is only the fourth largest in the federal district after Ceilândia (361,601 inhabitants), Taguatinga (274,221 inhabitants) and Planaltina (217,086 inhabitants) . Most of the residents live in the suburbs and rural areas outside the core city .

The population development of the Federal District do Brasil has developed rapidly over the past five decades. While only 36,000 people lived there in 1950, it was almost 85 times as many with an estimated 3.039 million in 2017. The federal district has an area of ​​5802 square kilometers. It is therefore somewhat smaller than the canton of Bern and more than twice the size of the Saarland . It has a population density of 508 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The following overview shows the development of the population according to the respective territorial status. The population decline in the administrative region of Plano Piloto by over 180,000 between 1985 and 1991 is due to administrative measures and the forced relocation of people with low or no income to the satellite towns in the vicinity of the core city.

Administrative region of Plano Piloto
year Residents year Residents
1959 28,020 1985 396.207
1960 68,665 1991 213.760
1964 90,582 1996 199.020
1970 156,668 2000 198,422
1975 202.775 2005 199,062
1977 236.411 2008 205.030
1980 316.058 2010 204,835
Distrito Federal do Brasil
year Residents year Residents
1950 36,000 1996 1,821,946
1960 140.165 2000 2,051,146
1970 537.492 2007 2,455,903
1980 1,176,935 2010 2,570,160
1991 1,601,094 2012 2,946,635
2017 3,039,444
2019 3,015,268

Development of the living situation

In the administrative region of Plano Piloto today mainly people from the middle and upper classes live. There was no space in the planning for the workers, who came mainly from the northeast of the country and built up the capital. The majority of them now live in the satellite cities around the core city. The industry, for which large areas of the federal district had been kept free, has not settled.

The suburbs are characterized by high unemployment and its social concomitants, such as high alcohol and drug consumption and rising crime rates. The quality of life in Brasília, with its green spaces, utilities and good infrastructure, is high for the people living there compared to other cities in the country. In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Brasília ranked 108th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018. The city was well ahead of Rio de Janeiro (118th place), São Paulo (122nd place) and Manaus (127th place).

The city lacks the pulsating and cultural life of a capital due to the few socio-cultural facilities. The politicians, members of parliament and employees mostly spend the weekend in other cities in the country. The ultra-modern capital with its extravagant-style buildings is a symbol of progress for Brazil and offers further development opportunities with its climatic conditions, quality of life, landscape planning, rich vegetation and reduced traffic situation.

Culture and sights


Congress building Congresso Nacional (Architect: Oscar Niemeyer)

The patron saint of the city is Johannes Bosco ( Portuguese Dom João Belchior Bosco ). In a prophecy on August 30, 1883, Don Bosco spoke of a "promised land in which milk and honey will flow" as the source of a new civilization and also mentioned coordinates "between the parallels 15 and 20". The founders of the new capital of Brazil referred to this.

The architect Lúcio Costa said of Brasília in 1968:

"Everything is monumental, human, simple, grandiose, ascetic in the purity of its forms, which have been reduced to the bare minimum."

Much is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's plans for a “Living City”. At the beginning of the 21st century, the capital is characterized by social and residential segregation . That's why Oscar Niemeyer said in an interview in 2001:

"This experiment was unsuccessful."

Because of its importance for the history of architecture, the center of Brasília has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 . At the time of its creation, Brasília was a praised model of architectural modernism . This euphoria has long since subsided, and today there are traces of decay in many places.

You can get an overview of the futuristic capital from the viewing platform of the 218 meter high television tower, the tallest structure in the city. It stands on the monumental axis , near the old bus station, where the fuselage and wings meet.

To the east of this, the axis is bounded by two slender towers of the parliament building and the lake. To the west of it stands the Kubitschek monument, completed in 1981. To the north and south are the residential districts, hotels and shopping centers. Just outside the densely built-up north and south wings are the Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha , the meteorological observatory , the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet , the campsite and the animal cemetery.

The monumental axis from the Brasília television tower to Praça dos Três Poderes ( Square of the Three Powers ) is accessible on foot. Behind the old bus station is the National Theater on the left and the Cathedral of Brasília on the right (pt. Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida after the basilica in Aparecida ; see also Archdiocese of Brasília )

The Esplanada dos Ministérios , the street of the ministries, starts behind the cathedral. The Palácio do Itamaraty is reflected in the pool of water surrounding the building.

The parliament, the Congresso Nacional , stands at the end of the monumental axis. On the other side, on Praça dos Três Poderes , are the Presidential Palace, the Supreme Court and, since 1986, the Panteão da Pátria e da Liberdade Tancredo Neves - a monument in honor of the national heroes of Brazil. On the left side of the square is the official residence of the President, the Palácio do Planalto .

The church Santuário Dom Bosco , which honors the city's saint, stands in a residential area near the television tower , as well as Niemeyer's chapel Ermida Dom Bosco on Lago Sul.

Parks and nature

Economy and Infrastructure


According to a study from 2014, the Brasília metropolitan area has a gross domestic product of 141.9 billion US dollars (KKB). In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, he came in 92nd place. The GDP per capita was 35,689 US dollars, making Brasília the richest city in Brazil. The largest bank in Brazil, Banco do Brasil , has its headquarters in Brasília.


Metro Brasília

The construction of the Metrô Brasília began in 1992, it was opened in 2001 and consists of two routes ( Linha laranja , German: Orange Line and Linha verde , German: Green Line ), which together connect the bus station in the center with the suburbs in the form of a Y-shaped line . The network is around 45 kilometers long and currently includes 30 stations.


The international airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto Internacional de Brasília - Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek ; IATA code: BSB , ICAO: SBBR ) had around 9.7 million passengers in 2006.


Road traffic

Central Bus Station

The capital was built with large-scale thinking, and large motorways were designed accordingly. According to the Athens Charter , which wanted to combine modern living, working and leisure activities while saving as much time as possible, pedestrians were not considered. With cars in underground garages under all important buildings, residents should be connected to one another as quickly as possible.

See also: Eixo Monumental , Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge


Brasília has twinned cities with 23 cities, including:


In Brasília there are currently more than 114 universities recognized by the MEC (Ministry of Education).

sons and daughters of the town


  • Lucien Clergue : Brasilia - The architect Oscar Niemeyer and the photographer Lucien Clergue. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2013, ISBN 978-3-7757-3550-6 . (in English: ISBN 978-3-7757-3313-7 )
  • Robert Cohen : Future glory of the test-tube city of Brasília. In: The argument . 50th vol., No. 1, 2008, pp. 83-92.
  • Carmen Stephan: Brasília Stories. Living in a new city. Blumenbar, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-936738-19-X . (with photographs by Gleice Mere)
  • Wolf Donner , Erika Donner: Brasília Space Station. Memories of a city of the future. Pro Business, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-937343-91-1 . (Experience report)
  • Alexander Fils: Brasília. Modern architecture in Brazil. Beton-Verlag, Düsseldorf 1988, ISBN 3-7640-0233-6 . (also dissertation, University of Bochum)
  • Christina Haberlik: 50 classics. 20th century architecture. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 2001, ISBN 3-8067-2514-4 .
  • Felix Richter, Martin Fiegl: Brasília. Alipna, Rio de Janeiro 2004, ISBN 85-87467-07-7 . (multilingual guide)
  • Laurent Vidal: De Nova Lisboa à Brasília. L'invention d'une capitale (XIXe-XXe siècles). IHEAL, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-907163-88-4 (Travaux & mémoires de l'Institut des hautes études de l'Amérique latine, 72), extended edition of a dissertation. Université de Paris III, 1995.


  • Brasília. Pilot plan for modernity. Television documentary, Germany, 1995, 13:55 min., Script and direction: Jens Dücker, production: SWF , series: Schätze der Welt , episode 33 of March 31, 1996 with online video .
  • Brasília - utopia of modernity. Documentary, Germany, 2007, 26 min., Script and director: Christoph Schaub, production: AVE, Schweizer Fernsehen , Bayerisches Fernsehen , arte , table of contents by 3sat with archive recordings.
  • Adventure in Rio . Feature film, France / Italy 1964, part of the action takes place in the still young city of Brasília

Web links

Commons : Brasília  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Brasília  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Federal District - Panorama. In: IBGE , accessed August 31, 2019 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  2. Produto Interno Bruto dos Municipios - PIB por Unidade da Federação, 2016. In: IBGE , accessed July 28, 2019 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  3. City Population: Agglomerations in Brazil ( Memento from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. UNESCO: World Heritage List. Retrieved January 14, 2015 .
  5. LEI Nº 1648, DE 16 DE SETEMBRO DE 1997., accessed on May 26, 2017 .
  6. Universidade Federal de Uberlândia: Brasília: uma metropole singular no Centro-Oeste brasileiro. Vol. 15, No 1 (2000)
  7. Estimate 2017 ( Memento from October 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved August 18, 2018 .
  9. Brasília - Ermida Dom Bosco. In: Federal District, Midwest Destinations., September 16, 2008, accessed October 4, 2010 .
  10. a b c Christina Haberlik: 50 classics. 20th century architecture. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 2001, ISBN 3-8067-2514-4 .
  11. ^ Poetry in Reinforced Concrete , January 15, 2010.
  12. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( [accessed July 19, 2018]).
  13. ^ Film text from Brasília. Pilot plan for modernity , 1995.
  14. Brasília Twin towns, Sister cities. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  15. Ache Tudo e Região Lima, Peru
  16. Brasília e Luxor agora são cidades-irmãs. In: Jornal Coletivo - POLITICA - BRASILIA, November 23, 2010, archived from the original on November 14, 2012 ; accessed on April 13, 2018 .
  17. Brasília e Washington: cidades irmãs ou primas distantes? In: Brasil 247 March 16, 2013, accessed May 28, 2017 (Portuguese).
  18. ^ Xi'an Municipal People's Government: Sister Cities. ( Memento of October 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved on May 28, 2017 (English).
  19. Ser Universitario: Faculdades reconhecidas pelo MEC