Sao Paulo

One day in Sao Paulo


April 23rd, 2019

Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil with a population of 12 million and well over 20 million in its wider metropolitan area, which makes it the 11th largest city in the world. It is also the wealthiest city and the business center of the country.

I arrived in the Sao Paulo on Monday night on a TAP Portugal flight from Lisbon. Since I had planned to fly to Iguazu Falls on Wednesday, I had only one day in this huge city. I tried to make the best of my short stay, so I started my sightseeing tour at the Parque Ibirapuera, which is a very large city park surrounding a beautifully landscaped lake that was inhabited by lots of black swans.

The park also contains a bunch of interesting modern architecture. On the left is the Planetarium, which is shaped like a UFO, while the strange structure on the right is the Oscar Niemeyer designed Oca ("the hut"), which houses a couple of museums.

The most interesting building is the auditorium, a concert hall also by built Oscar Niemeyer. It is just a large perfectly white wedge with this curved bright red roof over the entrance.

From here I took the metro, which is pretty easy to figure out even if you don't speak Portuguese. You can buy single tickets for a standard price of BRL 4.60 for each trip, and it doesn't matter how far you go. Most of signs as well as the announcements on the trains are in Portuguese and English. I got off at the Praca da Sé, which is the historical center of the city. The Sao Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral is a neo-classical building that was started in 1913 but took forty years to be completed.

Nearby is the much older structure of the Patio do Colegio, which is a Jesiut church and marks the location where the city was founded in 1554. The current church was first constructed in 1556, but extensively rebuilt in the 1650's. I had a nice lunch in the cafe in the beautiful and quiet courtyard inside.

My walk around the city center took me past quite a number of interesting colonial and early 20th century buildings. On the left is the Benedictine monastery of Sao Bento.

The Theatro Municipal is one of the main landmarks in the city. The building was completed in 1911 and has hosted many of the most famous symphony orchestras, opera singers and ballet dancers of the 20th century.

The nearby Praca de Republica is another large city park with the 19th century Casa Caetano de Campos building on one side. Walking through the park was rather interesting, as it seems to be the main hangout of drug addicts, dealers and prostitutes. It felt reasonably safe in daylight, but I probably wouldn't want to hang out here after dark.

Another short ride on the metro took me to the Avenida Paulista, which is the main business and shopping artery through the city. I walked along the avenue to admire some interesting architecture and the bussle of the city. The building on stilts on the right is the Museo del Arte, built in 1968.

Along the Avenida Paulista I found one of the more interesting and beautiful city parks I've seen. It's called Parque Trianon, and it is basically a piece of dense jungle in the middle of busiest part of the city. The trees and foliage are so dense, that you immediately feel like you are in the middle of a tropical rain forest. Even though it's quite small, only a couple of city blocks wide, once inside you cannot see any buildings and can hardly hear the noise from the city.

One day is obviously not nearly enough to explore this huge city in any detail. I just managed to see some of the highlights from the outside. But there is so much more to see, I did not get a chance to visit any of the numerous museums, explore other parts of the city or watch a football match in one of the huge stadiums. All things I will have to leave for another trip some other time.

No comments:

Post a Comment