Sao Paulo’s Old Downtown (Part 1)

Day 2 in the big city!

I woke up to a dark night, being jet-lagged and unable to go back to sleep, I tiptoed downstairs and began a productive discussion with my self. I debated whether I should go to the free tour which I read about earlier or if I should just spend the day within the safety of the neighborhood.

Going to this tour would mean taking the subway, transferring trains and walking alone into the unknown. The reality of me being alone in Brazil slowly bit me and I felt scared.

Thankfully, the creative side of my brain had dominance over the logical side. The explorer in me quickly put on her shoes before fear could get hold of her feet.

I was surprised that the subway was not scary at all. The train colors, the big signs and the helpful guards made it very convenient. In 15 minutes, I arrived at the meeting point.

São Paulo’s city downtown area (Centro) is where the city was founded, in 1554. It contains many historical buildings and areas which are protected by the municipality

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The Republic Square (Praça da República), originally known as the Curros Largo serves as the primary location for concerts, political protests, and other large gatherings.

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Rapha was our energetic tour guide for the day. We started off with a little history lesson. There was a huge turn up, a mix of tourists from all around the globe.

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The Edifício Copan (Copan Building) is a 140-metre, 38-story residential building that has the largest floor area of any residential building in the world. This concrete wave building, famous for its sinuous facade, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, has inspired writers, filmmakers, photographers, and other artists from all over the world.

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The Mário de Andrade Library (Biblioteca Mário de Andrade) is the largest public library of the city. Founded in 1925 it became one of the most important cultural institutions and the leading research libraries of Brazil. It is named in honor of Mário de Andrade, one of the founders of Brazilian modernism.

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Luís Vaz de Camões  is considered the Portuguese language’s greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante.

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The Municipal Theatre of São Paulo (Theatro Municipal) is a landmark significant both for its architectural value as well as for its historical importance, having been the venue for the Week of Modern Art in 1922 which revolutionized the arts in Brazil.

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The Matarazzo Building (Edifício Matarazzo or Palácio do Anhangabaú) is the cityhall of the city of São Paulo. It belonged to Banespa until 2004, when it was sold to the city government. It was designed by Italian architect Marcello Piacentini under the will of Ermelino Matarazzo, in order to host the headquarters of his industries.

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Halfway through this 4-hour walk, we all stopped for a break.

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I had a local favorite dessert and my photo bomber looked happier than me.

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Açaí na tigela (Açaí in the bowl) is a typical Brazilian dish made of frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit from the Amazonian region.

Continue to Part 2


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