Destination Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná.
The Botanical Garden is one of the most favorite locations in the city of Curitiba.
On the way
We went to the tourist information center, next to the railway station, where we obtained extensive information about the city of Curitiba. Quickly we made our plan of the day; we chose to visit to the Botanical Garden, even though the weather was anything but sunny and warm. According to the city plan we only had to follow long streets in order to reach the main entrance of the Garden. The route was longer than previously thought, perhaps the drizzle helped strengthen this idea. We walked along paths parallel to the Avenidas, it was difficult to get lost here. The walk lasted about thirty minutes.
The visit to the Botanical Garden is free. We followed the signs to the visitor center, with hosts an extensive souvenir shop and an exhibition hall with many colorful and fragrant orchids. While fellow walkers were enjoying searching for souvenirs, I enjoyed walking around with my camera. Orchids are very special to photograph. The colors, the patterns, and the angel figure you could discern with some imagination, surrounded by curled and serrated petals. I walked around with the camera for about thirty minutes, and did my work.
We crossed a wooden bridge, and continued our walk through the garden. There was no accumulation of shrubs, plants and trees, but green meadows with scattered groups of trees and shrubs, which represent a certain type of vegetation. High above us towered the pines, which are typical of southern Brazil. The branches appear only in the top of the trees, and bear – in groups – large needles. In front of us, on a hill, stood a greenhouse, which is inspired upon the London’s Crystal Palace. Partly thanks to this ‘copied’ palace, this botanical garden is a main attraction of Curitiba, and recently, it was declared one of the Seven Brazilian Wonders (this list does not include Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World!). The greenhouse looks really impressive and provides a nice contrast with the green fields on both sides, and the French garden to the front. This French Garden consisted of neatly trimmed hedges in tight patterns. Central in this garden is a statue of a woman with a fountain around her body, like she appears to take a continuous shower.
The Jardim Botânico Francisca Maria Garfunkel Rischbieter, the official name for this Botanical Garden, has been named after the engineer who was one of the pioneers in the urban development of Curitiba. The Garden was inaugurated on November 5, 1991. The Garden is almost 25 hectares, slightly less than half the size of the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro, and number four of the country. Since 1992, the Museum hosts the herbarium of botanist Gerd Hatschbach, who in 1965 started collecting all the plants in the country, and now has grown to a respectable number of some 310,000 species. Scientists from around the world come to Curitiba to view this collection.
Besides the Greenhouse of 245 square meters is another special structure: a transparent semi-circle. This semi-circle host a permanent exhibition of the Polish Brazilian Frans Krajcberg, an artist who makes works of charred, illegally harvested timber from the Brazilian forests. It is an indictment against the deforestation, which he worked out artistically. We stayed more than two hours in the garden, until our stomachs were calling for food. We then quickly decided to go find a restaurant for a simple and inexpensive dinner. For us, the visit of this garden was one of the highlights of our short stay in the city.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007