Porto Alegre

Written by Sebastien on 16 February 2013. Posted in Cities

Porto Alegre is the capital city of the Rio Grande do Sul Brazilian State. It is also the largest city in this state and the 10th most populous Brazilian city. Porto Alegre is an important political, cultural and economic hub and it is also the southernmost capital city in Brazil. The city was founded in 1772 by Portuguese immigrants from Azores and it received numerous European immigrants in the 19th century. Nowadays numerous people living in Porto Alegre are of European descendant.

Porto Alegre is located at the junction of five rivers and the alluvial port has contributed a lot to the growth of economy in the city. Nowadays the economy of the area is known as solidarity economy, this meaning that economic activities are characterized by cooperation, feasibility, solidarity and self-management. In order to reduce social inequalities, the officials have adopted the Participatory Budgeting. People as well as their delegates vote the budgetary priorities and identify the best way to spend public money by prioritizing problems. It is believed that participatory budgeting has greatly improved the quality of life in the city and has contributed to the development of facilities.

Even if it is not one of the most famous Brazilian tourist destinations, Porto Alegre has lots of fabulous attractions. The most important ones include the Piratini Palace (the seat of State Government inspired after the Petite Trianon), the Public Market (a neoclassical building hosting over 100 shops and stores), the Mother Church Square, the House of Justice, the Saint Peter Theatre, the Azorians Monument, the Mario Quintana Culture House and the Solar Palmeiro. Most of these attractions are located downtown.

Porto Alegre has a large number of parks and also a Botanical Garden covering a surface of 43 hectares. Farroupilha Park lies on 370.000 square meters and includes several monuments and sculptures, a luminous fountain, a small zoo, sport fields, gymnastic equipment, an amusement park for children, athletic tracks and an auditorium for 4.500 people. Every Sunday there is a flea market in the park and locals gather here to socialize. People who want to escape crowded urban centers can spend a relaxing holiday in the Porto Alegre rural area.

Tourists in search of an attractive nightlife won’t be disappointed in Porto Allegre. Nightlife here is diverse and it caters for people with all sorts of tastes and budgets. The city is filled with bars, pubs, discos and clubs ranging from cheap ones to very classy venues. Numerous musical and theatrical performances are hosted regularly in the city.

Porto Alegre is also famous for its events which take place all year long. The carnival here has a long tradition dating back in the 18th century. In the 19th century the celebration was dominated by the rivalry between the two carnival associations in the city. Nowadays the mayor of Porto Allegre offers the keys of the city to King Momo when the carnival starts. This popular character symbolically governs the city during the celebration. Besides the Carnival, Porto Allegre also hosts numerous other events like the World Social Forum, the Mercosur Biennial Exhibition, the Handicraft Fair or the International Free Software Forum.

Tourists reaching Porto Alegre should not miss the local cuisine. The most famous food here is churrasco which consisted of grilled and roasted meet. Local cuisine however was highly influenced by European immigrants.

There are two football clubs in Porto Alegre, both of them belonging to the national elite. However, there is also a constant rivalry between them. Porto Allegre is going to host the 2014 World Cup together with other Brazilian cities. The Beira-Rio stadium is currently being modernized in order to meet FIFA requirements.

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