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What you need to know about Curitiba

Curitiba is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. The city’s population numbered approximately 1,879,355 people as of 2015, making it the eighth most populous city in the country, and the largest in Brazil’s South Region. The Curitiba Metropolitan area comprises 26 municipalities with a total population of over 3.2 million (IBGE estimate in 2010), making it the seventh most populous in the country.

Curitiba is an important cultural, political, and economic centre in Latin America. The city sits on a plateau at 932 metres (3,058 ft) above sea level. It is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of the seaport of Paranaguá and is served by the Afonso Pena International and Bacacheri airports. The city hosts the Federal University of Paraná, established in 1912.

In the 1700s Curitiba possessed a favorable location between cattle-breeding country and marketplaces, leading to a successful cattle trade and the city’s first major expansion. Later, between 1850 and 1950, it grew due to logging and agricultural expansion in the Paraná State (first Araucaria logging, later mate and coffee cultivation and in the 1970s wheat, corn and soybean cultivation). In the 1850s waves of European immigrants arrived in Curitiba, mainly Germans, Italians, Poles and Ukrainians, contributing to the city’s economic and cultural development. Nowadays, only smaller numbers of foreign immigrants arrive, primarily from Middle Eastern and other South American countries.

The biggest expansion occurred after the 1960s, with innovative urban planning that changed the population size from some hundreds of thousands to more than a million people. Curitiba’s economy is based on industry and services and is the fourth largest in Brazil. Economic growth occurred in parallel to a substantial inward flow of Brazilians from other cities of the country, as approximately half of the city’s population was not born in Curitiba.

Curitiba sports one of the few high Brazilian Human Development Index readings at 0.856, and in 2010 was awarded the Global Sustainable City Award, given to cities and municipalities that excel in sustainable urban development.  According to US magazine Reader’s Digest, Curitiba is the best “Brazilian Big City” in which to live.

Curitiba was one of the host cities of the 1950 FIFA World Cup, and again for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Language

Languages of Curitiba. Brazilians speak Portuguese yet it is slightly different in intonation to that of the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. German and Italian is also widely spoken in Curitiba, along with English in touristy areas.

Currency

Real is national currency of Brasil.

Image result for curitiba Real bank notes

Climate

Curitiba has a subtropical highland climate (a form of oceanic or maritime temperate climate) (Cfb), according to the Köppen classification and the Brazilian government classification. Located in Southern Brazil, the humid city lies in a temperate zone. It is located on a plateau and the flat terrain with flooded areas contribute to its mild and damp winter, with an average minimum temperature of 7 °C (45 °F) in the coldest month, occasionally falling below 0 °C (32 °F) on the coldest nights. During summertime, the average temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) at daytime, but it can get above 30 °C (86 °F) on the hottest days. Snowfall was experienced in 1889, 1892, 1912, 1928 (two days), 1942, 1955, 1957, 1962, 1975 and again in 2013. Its altitude makes it the coldest among Brazil’s state capitals.

The terrain’s flatness hinders water drainage after rain, therefore providing water vapor for the atmosphere. Cold fronts come year round, often from Antarctica and Argentina, bringing tropical storms in summer and cold winds in the winter. They can move very quickly, with no more than one day between the start of the southern winds and the start of rain. Curitiba’s weather is also influenced by the dry air masses that dominate Brazil’s midwest most of the year, bringing hot and dry weather, sometimes even in winter.

History

The first ten years of the 16th century had a war of conquest by Europeans (Portuguese colonists) against the Kaingang and Guarani who inhabited the area of the city. Curitiba’s birth is 29 March 1693, when its City Council was founded. At the end of the 17th century, Curitiba’s agriculture was only for subsistence. Its main economic activities were mineral extraction. Waves of European immigrants arrived after 1850, mainly Poles, Italians, Germans (mostly from Russia) and Ukrainians. In 1853, the south and southwest of the province of São Paulo were emancipated, forming the new province of Paraná with Curitiba as its capital.

The region’s next economic cycle was based on the “tropeiros” (“troopers”): cattlemen who drove their herds from Viamão, in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, to a market in Sorocaba, in the state of São Paulo. From there, the herds were then taken to the state of Minas Gerais. The drovers would spend winter periods in the middle of the journey, in the “campos de Curitiba” (fields of Curitiba). These campsites would be dismantled when the cold season gave way to spring. The drovers would take advantage of their stay to do business, and by doing so, they made Curitiba into an important intermediate trading post. The traditions of wearing wool ponchos, roasting meat and drinking a bitter mate tea called “chimarrão”, encouraged a common culture that led people to form groups and settle. The cycle of cattle drives lasted for more than two centuries. With it, came many distinct cultural features of the Paraná region, especially the unique accent noticeable by pronounced Es.

The expanded use of the mate plant and wood at the end of the 19th century stimulated the construction of the Paranaguá-Curitiba railroad. This railroad was the first link between the capital of Paraná and the coast. It was built in five years (from 1880 to 1885). This railroad represents one of the greatest works of national engineering, made possible thanks to the engineers and brothers Antonio and André Rebouças. Immigrant manual labor was heavily used. Immigrants had come to this area since the middle of the 18th century.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, Curitiba benefited from the wealth of the yerba mate mills. The owners (known as “Maté Barons”) built mansions in the capital. These have mostly been preserved in the districts of Batel and Alto da Glória.

The next economic cycle was the coffee monoculture. This trade helped found cities in the northern region of the state of Paraná. Coffee was important the capital’s economy. Coffee crops suffered from the relentless effects of bad weather. So, farmers gradually replaced coffee by soybeans. Mechanized soybean farming drove agricultural workers off of the land. Eventually, coffee was completely wiped out in the region’s worst frost, known as the Black Frost of July, 1975.

During the 20th century, especially after 1950, the city’s population rapidly increased. It consolidated its position as a regional hub for trade and services, becoming one of the richest cities in the Southern Cone and a pioneer in urban solutions. In the 1940s and 1950s, Alfred Agache, co-founder of the French Society for Urban Studies, was hired to produce its first city plan. It emphasized a “star” of boulevards, with public amenities downtown, an industrial district and sanitation. It was followed in part, but the plan was too expensive to complete.

When Curitiba received great waves of immigrants, the city was forced to make swift decisions in order to avoid urban chaos and meet future demands. Curitiba invested in urban planning and in city management focused on its residents.

Economy

Since it was declared capital of the State of Paraná in 1853, the city has gone through several major urban planning projects to avoid uncontrolled growth and thus has become an international role model in dealing with issues including transportation and the environment. The city is Brazil’s second largest car manufacturer. Its economy is based on industry, commerce and services. For that reason, Curitiba is considered by many investors to be the best location for investment in Brazil.

The city receives more than two million tourists every year. Most arrive via Afonso Pena International Airport, where almost 60,000 flights land annually.

According to IPEA data, the GDP in 2006 was 32 billion reals, without including agriculture and livestock (0.03%). Industry represented 34.13% and the commerce and service sectors 65.84%.[52] Cidade Industrial de Curitiba, the industrial district, is home to many multinational industries, such as Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen, Philip Morris, Audi, Volvo, HSBC, Siemens, ExxonMobil, Electrolux and Kraft Foods, as well as many well-known national industries, such as Sadia, O Boticário and Positivo Informática.

Curitiba’s infrastructure makes bus travel fast and convenient, effectively creating demand for bus use in the same way that the infrastructure of traditional cities creates demand for private motor vehicles. In July 2001, Curitiba became Brazil’s first city to receive the prize “Pole of Information Technology”, granted by InfoExame magazine. According to the magazine, the companies of “Technology and Information Technology” based in Curitiba in 2001 achieved US$1.2 billion in revenues, representing a growth of 21{06f0a07339105e30134c7ad3a170ed5d278452c0a9dc8b378249c1b5018fc39f} over the previous year.

Curitiba is the 2nd Pole on Technological Innovation in Brazil, according to IPEA (Applied Economic Research Institute). The 2nd Brazil’s Best City for Business and 5th South American Best City for Business, according to America Economia Magazine/2005 and 2006. The Best Destination for Business, according to Veja Magazine of 2007. The 3rd position among the Champions of Infrastructure, Exame Magazine of 2006. The 2nd Best City to Work in Southern Brazil, according to Você S.A. Magazine of 2005. The 49th Position, MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce: Emerging Markets Index of 2008. One of the highlights according to the survey Offshoring Horizons performed by Watson Wyatt of 2007. One of the 10 global sustainability centres, according to Ethisphere Institute of 2008.

Tourism and recreation

Attractions in the city include:

German Woods: Opened in 1996, the German Grove honors the culture and traditions that German immigrants brought to Curitiba. It is a memorial to those immigrants who arrived in the city from 1833 and greatly contributed to the lifestyle of Curitiba. The grove has many other attractions. The Oratory Bach, a hall for concerts. The Tower of the Philosophers, with a gazebo. The Hansel and Gretel trail. The Haunted house, with a children’s library. The Square of the German Culture. In addition to the native forest woods and freshwater springs.

Municipal Market: It isn’t a normal market, there are a lot of organic products, and vegan food. The food court has a lot of Asian food, vegan food and organic too. There you will find everything and more. It is located in downtown, next to the bus station of Curitiba.

Italian Woods: Hosts local celebrations.

Japan Square: Homage to Japanese immigrants who settled there to work in agriculture. Scattered around the square are 30 cherry trees sent from Japan and artificial lakes. In 1993 the Japanese Portal, the Culture House and the Tea House were built.

Tingüi Park: Part of the biggest linear environmental park in the Country, established at the Barigüi river margins, it reminds us of original inhabitants, including a statue of Tindiqüera Chieftain. The Ukrainian Memorial is also there, a replica of an Orthodox church, originally built in inland Paraná State, hosting pysankas (Ukrainian Pascha eggs) and an icon exhibition.

Wire Opera House: Built on the site of an abandoned quarry.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum: Artists from Paraná and other parts of Brazil have their work represented in the museum. Three rooms in the Eye are dedicated exclusively to photography.

Tanguá Park: Inaugurated in 1996, the Tanguá Park was built on top of a complex of deactivated quarries. It is part of the Barigüi river preservation project joining Tingüi and Barigüi parks. This Its area is 450 thousand square meters covers two quarries connected by a 45-meter tunnel that may be crossed on foot by a path over the water. It can be visited on boat or on foot (hiking). The park has a cooper and bicycle track, snack bar, belvedere and Poty Lazzaroto garden.

Panoramic Tower: The 360-foot tall lookout tower allows travelers a 360° view of Curitiba and has a telephone museum on the ground floor.

Portugal Wood: Homage to the Portuguese-Brazilian bonds, this space is highlighted by a track following a small brook, where one can see drawn on tiles excerpts from famous Portuguese language poets, as well as a tribute to the great Portuguese navigators and their discoveries.

Botanical Garden: Besides having a treasure trove of native plants, the Curitiba Botanical Garden is also known for its greenhouse, made of iron and glass and inspired in London’s Crystal Palace.[61] Families are often seen picnicking on the grounds.

Curitiba International Ecological Marathon: The Maratona Ecológica Internacional de Curitiba (“Curitiba International Ecological marathon”) is held in November and is known as the hardest in Brazil, because it happens in the end of the year in the summer heat, and because of the hilly course.

Tourism Line: The Linha Tourismo bus stops at key tourist attractions in the city.

Feirinha do Largo da Ordem, an open-air market place that happens every Sunday morning, in the historical centre of the city. In the Feirinha, visitors can see or buy paintings, sculptures, craftsmanship, workmanship, typical foods. It is also possible to watch live small musical shows from local musicians or see some clowns doing humorous performances.

Cyclist pocket square: A brief square located nearby Largo da Ordem, in the corner of the streets Sao Francisco and Presindente Farias made by the community members with little help from the government. Made with the main objective of being a hotspot for city bikers, it has many pubs and cafes. It also helps on influencing people on changing their way of transiting inside the city, bikes over cars, which good for the environment. The square also supports a new concept of green in the grey, so people can grow plants in the middle of the downtown. The square is a refuge for street art, it has plenty space in the walls and in the street Sao Francisco.

Transport

Curitiba is the capital city of the Parana state in Brazil. Nearly 2 million people live there. The city has had an urban master plan since 1968. Part of the plan is the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System.