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 Belo Horizonte

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Belo Horizonte Brazil



 From the top of the mountains, the city of Belo Horizonte seems to fit its name perfectly – it is quite a “Beautiful Horizon.” But just below the surrounding mountains sits a modern and booming metropolis, the third-largest city in Brazil full of some 5 million people.

The land on which Belo Horizonte sits was settled in the 18th century, but the city as it is today was created by a group of talented urban planners in the 1890’s. It is based on the layout of Washington, D.C., with one major highway circling the perimeter; downtown streets run perpendicular and diagonal, and are named after Brazilian States and indigenous groups. The local government has a reputation for running the city quite well, and they recently received the first “Future Policy Award" from the World Future Council for their work in reducing hunger in the city.

 The service sector is responsible for around 85% of the city’s GDP, but there are a number of emerging industries focusing on mining and biotechnology. Belo Horizonte is currently one of the Latin American headquarters for Google. Because the city can support its own economy independent of tourism, it is a great place to sightsee without being swarmed by vendors.

 The relatively young founding of the city contributes to its youthful atmosphere. The Pampulha district is known for its modern Brazilian architecture, including several cathedrals. Mineirão, one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, is also located there. In addition to soccer, volleyball is also a popular spectator sport.

 The Savassi region is known for its fine restaurants and nightlife, and Belo Horizonte hosts a bi-annual "Comida di Buteco" festival where bars compete for the best appetizer. There is also an array of theaters, museums, markets, and music venues, including a local symphony orchestra. The culture has a notable Italian influence due to the many Italian immigrants living there. There is an annual International Theater Festival and several local contemporary dance groups.



 The careful planning of the city is evident in places like the Parque Municipal, which is based on the design of many French parks. Another important location is the Praça do Papa, or Plaza of the Pope, built for a visit of Pope John Paul II in 1980. There are also several parks and towns located just outside of the city, including the "Mata do Jambeiro" nature reserve, which boasts over one hundred species of birds. The Alta Vila tower atop the Hard Rock Café offers a great view of it all.

 Belo Horizonte is about seven hours inland from Rio de Janeiro by bus, although there is an airport if you prefer to fly. There is generally a temperate climate; a humid and warm summer begins in December, with temperatures going as high as 95°F, followed by a dry and cool winter in June with temperatures as low as 35°F.
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