Written by Sebastien on 16 February 2013. Posted in Cities

Curitiba is the capital and the largest city in the Parana Brazilian state. It is the eight most populous city in the country and it has a great political, cultural and economic importance in Brazil and Latin America. The expansion of Curitiba started in the 1700s because of its favorable position between cattle breeders and marketplaces. Later on, the increase in agricultural activities made the city even more prosperous. Starting with 1850s numerous European immigrants have reached Curitiba and contributed to its development. The population grew significantly after 1950s because of well though urban planning solutions.

Nowadays half of the population of Curitiba is not actually born in the city. Curitiba has the fourth largest economy in the country and it is one of the richest Brazilian cities. The name of the city is believed to originate in the Tupi language and it approximately means “many pine seeds”. It seems to be related with the multitude of pinecones growing in the forests around the city.

Since it became capital city, Curitiba was subjected to numerous changes in order to control growth of population. The officials have come up with innovative urban planning solutions and the city has become a model in handling problems like transportation and protection of the environment.  Nowadays Curitiba is considered one of the best places for investments in Brazil and it has a boosting economy based on services, industry and commerce. It is the second largest car manufacturer in Brazil and numerous international corporations like Nissan, Renault, Audi, Volvo, Siemens and ExxonMobil are represented here. In 2001 Curitiba was awarded the Pole of Information technology award.

Curitiba receives around 2 million tourists yearly and the tourism sector is growing. There are many important attractions in the area and the officials are very interested in promoting their city. The Tourism Line was opened in 1994 and it is a city tour comprising all important attractions. People embark in comfortable buses which carry them around the town for two and half hours. They hear recorded messages in three languages with details on what they see. The tickets to Tourism Line allow them to get down four times and to continue their trip afterwards, this meaning that they can spend more time at their favorite attractions.

The Botanical Garden and the Woods in Curitiba are highly appreciated by tourists. The local vegetation is impressive and spectacular and Curitiba has one of the largest green areas in Brazilian cities. The German Woods lay on 38.000 square meters and are a tribute paid to German traditions. Important attractions here include the John and Mary path, the German Poetry Square and a library for children. Similarly the Portuguese and Italian Woods pay homage to these two cultures. Japanese immigrants are honored in the Japan Square where there is also a Tea House, a Japanese Portal and a Culture House.

Even though Brazil is famous for its carnivals, these events are not popular in Curitiba. There is no tradition concerning carnivals in the city and most of the locals are not interested in such celebrations. There are though several yearly festivals which are held in Curitiba. Some of them are art festivals and other are tributes paid to immigrants.

Tourists, just like locals, might sometimes find it difficult to travel by car in the city because of the frequent traffic jams and numerous one-way streets. Public transportation is a better and faster alternative. The city is also served by a major airport which is well connected with the city through rapid buses and shuttles.
There are three football teams in Curitiba each of them with their own stadium. Estádio Joaquim Américo Guimarães is going to host games in the 2014 World Cup.


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