Destination Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná.
The capital of the state of Paraná with a diversity of European roots.
Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná, is one of the oldest cities in southern Brazil. Long before the Portuguese discovered the country, Tupi and Guarani Indians inhabited the forested region. The forests consist mainly of a certain type of pine tree, the Araucaria angustifolia. It is generally assumed that the name derives from the Curitiba Guarani ‘Kur yt yba‘, which may be translated as ‘many pine trees‘. The first Portuguese adventurers already arrived in the sixteenth century, but it took until 1654 until the first settlement was built. On April 29, 1654, two settlements – ‘Nossa Senhora da Luz‘ and ‘Bom Jesus dos Pinhais‘ – merged into ‘Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais‘ and received the status of a village: this day is considered as the official Foundation Day of Curitiba. Only in 1721 the village was renamed in Curitiba, in the antique spelling Curityba. Slightly more than a century later, in 1842, Curitiba received city rights, and eleven years later, in 1853, the city became the capital of the newly created province of Paraná, which previously was part of the province of São Paulo.
Chilly and wet
Curitiba is the largest city in the southern region of Brazil, with 1.8 million inhabitants. The agglomeration of no less than 26 municipalities almost doubles the population. The city is situated at over 900 meter above sea level, a bit higher than Belo Horizonte, but slightly lower than the federal capital Brasília. The prevailing climate may have been (sub) tropical, but that is not perceived as such by many Brazilians. The climate appears to be even more unpredictable than the Dutch climate. In summer the average is 21 degrees, with some tropical outliers. From time to time it may cool down considerably, and thunderstorms may prevail. Winters are cool, with 13 degrees, but even then tropical fronts may provide higher temperatures. Generally, Curitiba is perceived as chilly, with from time to time a considerable amount of rain.
In the last two centuries, many European migrants were drawn to Paraná, and its capital Curitiba. Many colonies and groups of Italians, Germans, Portuguese, Polish, and Ukrainians are located in and around the city. This European influence is clearly seen in the composition and the mentality of the Curitibans. They generally have a lighter color than the Brazilians, and many descendants of immigrants have naturally blond hair, and blue or green eyes. While the average Brazilian can be very open-minded, the Curitiban generally is regarded as somewhat stiff and cold, similar to the average European mentality. Despite this apparent coolness, they are very cordial and willing to help.
For me it was a positive surprise that Curitiba has good facilities for tourists. In the city one may encounter several hotels and hostels for every price range. Often there are English speakers to be found in these hotels. A special tourist bus is scheduled for every thirty minutes. For the price of 13 reais (5 euros) you obtain 4 tickets, valid for one day. With these tickets you can get off at 4 tourist sites, and embark again. You decide how long you want to stay there, and you get the next bus to the next location. During the bus trip, clear information about the locations and their details are given in Portuguese, Spanish and English. An ideal opportunity to visit the locations outside the city center.
Curitiba has many tourist attractions. One of the most famous is the Botanical Garden, with a greenhouse, which was inspired upon the Crystal Palace, in the center of this beautiful garden. Also worth visiting are the Tanguá and Tingüi parks: city parks with good facilities. The Arame Opera is made of wrought iron. The Ukrainian Monument hosts a copy of a wooden church. When the weather is fine, a visit to the Panorama Tower may be an excellent option. In the center are several historic buildings and places of worship. For example, the mosque, which is freely accessible. The Memorial of Curitiba houses the history and contemporary art of the city. The Museum of Paraná accommodates a large and orderly collection on the history of the city and the state. On Sunday, virtually all streets and alleys are filled with thousands of stalls, especially with artesanato, handmade and hand-carved art, decorative and utilitarian objects.
I have visited Curitiba twice. The first time was in 2005 when I was on the way to Foz do Iguaçu, location of the famous waterfalls, on the border with Argentina and Paraguay. Then I stayed only 10 hours in the city and I was guided around the city by two friends living there. In 2008, In 2008, I spent three full days; now I know and appreciate the city much better. It is one of the cities I would definitely like to visit again.
|Curitiba Tour – Cidade de Curitiba
|Curitiba – Cidades do Futuro CNN
(Future Cities Curitiba – Brazil CNN) Parte 1
|Curitiba – Cidades do Futuro CNN
(Future Cities Curitiba – Brazil CNN) Parte 2
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007