Arriving by air into Sao Paulo for the first time, one is in awe of the magnitude of the city. South America’s as well as Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo seems to spread for eternity. It is said that Paulistanos, the nick name of the residents of Sao Paulo, are at times just as overwhelmed with the size of the city.
Sao Paulo with a estimated population of 10 million people makes it the largest city by far in all of South America, but where does the city end?, the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo covers over 3000 sq miles with a population reaching 20 million people. Rivaling Mexico City in size, Sao Paulo could be number one or two in metropolitan population in all of Latin America let alone the world.
Situated in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo, the city lies on a plateau 2493 feet high above sea level. Sampa, as the city is known by the locals, is the Capital of Sao Paulo State. The city of Sao Paulo is also the powerhouse of Brazil, a world force in the banking and global commerce. Sao Paulo boasts a lot of firsts or biggest in the county of Brazil, Sao Paulo is Brazil’s largest industrial machine, largest banking system, Latin Americas largest stock market is found in Sao Paulo. With the largest population, Sao Paulo also is home to the largest immigration population, the city is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. The richest of the rich and the poor of the poorest can be found in Sao Paulo, as well as the largest middle class in all of Brazil.
Millions of people bring on millions of automobiles, Sao Paulo sitting high on a plateau is blocked from the Atlantic Ocean a mere 45 miles away by the Serra do Mar mountain range thus making smog a problem. The city sees cold winters and hot humid summers, being in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean the summers are quite humid yet the temperature will rarely get in the high 90’s and during the winter the temperature will seldom reach the freezing point.
Sao Paulo was settled by Jesuit Priest in 1554, as the years rolled by, Banderiantes used Sao Paulo as their home base as they searched westward looking for slaves, silver gold and diamonds. In the 17th century slaves from Africa started replacing the indigenous slaves as the land around Sao Paulo was found to have good soil for growing sugar cane, it wasn’t till the early 19th century that the sugar cane plantations started converting to the growing of coffee, a more profitable commodity on the world market.
Ave Paulista is Brazils and Latin Americas financial zone, with world banks making up the skyline Sao Paulo’s stock market is found here. The Jardins district is Sao Paulo’s social scene, home to many restaurants, bars and Brazilian rodizios and churrascarias. Being a large cosmopolitan city, Sao Paulo is also home to have some of South America’s best museums and theaters.