Why Is Brasília The Capital Of Brazil?

Why Is Brasília The Capital Of Brazil?
Why Is Brasília The Capital Of Brazil?


Have you ever wondered where Brazil’s capital is, what it’s called, and how it came to be? It’s not common knowledge, but it has an interesting backstory, so let’s find out!

The capital of Brazil is currently Brasília, although it was not always the capital. The city was built specifically to become Brazil’s capital, and it is a very large city. At the end of the 20th century, it was the biggest city in the world, out of those created during the 20th century. It has a high annual growth rate and very high literacy levels.

In this article, we’re going to look at how Brasília came to be, why it was built, and what its top attractions are. If you’re planning a visit to this amazing city, you will soon know everything you need to about it!

Where Is The Capital Of Brazil Located?

Where Is The Capital Of Brazil Located
Where Is The Capital Of Brazil Located

The capital of Brazil is in the top of the Brazilian Highlands, near the center of Brazil, slightly to the west. It was built as part of a goal to move the country’s capital to a more central location, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of its unique and beautiful designs.

It is surrounded by satellite cities, likely as a result of overcrowding, and it’s easily accessible by road and by air. It has the third busiest airport in Brazil.

Brief History Of Brasília

Metropolitan Cathedral Nossa Senhora Aparecida in the Federal District, Brasilia
Metropolitan Cathedral Nossa Senhora Aparecida in the Federal District, Brasilia

Brasília was finished in 1960, by an architect called Roberto Burle Marx. It took 4 years to build it, and it was created to relocate the city’s capital to a more central and convenient part of the country. The city cost approximately 1.5 billion USD at the time, which made it one of the most expensive construction projects undertaken. This would be about 2 trillion USD today.

This diverted funds away from rural areas, and led to fast urban growth as people moved into the city. It had a big impact on the economy, and probably contributed to the recession in the 1980s.

The city is famous for its architecture, and was said to express hope for the future. The intention of the creators was to bring together the different regions of Brazil, and create a stronger national identity.

Today, the city is known for its fabulous music, and this helped the country to put some complex politics behind it, and unify in the arts instead.

When Did Brasília Become The Capital Of Brazil?

Sunset view from JK Bridge at Paranoá Lake
Sunset view from JK Bridge at Paranoá Lake

Brasília became the capital in 1960. Prior to its creation, the capital was Rio De Janeiro, from 1763 to 1960. Before that, Salvador was used as the seat by the Portuguese colonial administration, and many people say that Salvador was Brazil’s first capital city.

Salvador was established in 1549, but Rio De Janeiro was a far more practical port, and the administration moved there in 1763. Rio De Janeiro even became the capital of Portugal briefly, when the Portuguese royal family had to flee from Lisbon to escape Napoleon.

When Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822, Rio De Janeiro remained the capital, and retained this status through the abolition of the monarchy, in 1889.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that talk of moving the capital began in earnest.

Why Is Brasília The Capital Of Brazil?

Brasília was built to be the capital of Brazil because the government wanted to help populate the inner parts of Brazil, which were not well settled. By moving the capital city, they hoped to better unite the country, creating a central hub that would bridge divides and fuel communication and cooperation.

Brasília is an extraordinary feat of architecture, reflected in its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO named it the “City of Design” in 2017, and it holds all 3 branches of the country’s government. Its beauty and architecture set it apart from all other Brazilian cities, and its central location makes it convenient for travel and administration.

Best Places To Visit In Brasília

If you’re planning a visit to Brasília, you’re probably already wondering what the top must-do activities are, and fortunately, you have plenty of options. Checking out the architecture is the most obvious choice, given this city’s fame, and there are plenty of attractions you should visit.

For starters, there’s the Praça dos Tràs Poderes, which means Square of Three Powers. This is in the center of the judiciary, executive, and legislative buildings, and it’s well worth visiting if you are interested in government and politics. There’s also the Supremo Tribunal Federal (the Supreme Court), and the President’s palace.

You might also want to visit the Palácio dos Arcos, which is home to the Foreign Ministry, and which is considered an extraordinary architectural achievement. Its stunning arches stand above a pool, and the gardens surrounding it were designed by Marx (while the building itself was designed by Oscar Niemeyer).

If you’re interested in history, the Catetinho is also worth a visit. This museum is a quiet and unusual opportunity to peek into the past and it served as the home of the President while the city was being built. You’ll learn about the challenges that faced the people who built Brasília, and this is a free attraction that is perfect for the history buffs.

Parque Olhos D’agua is also well worth a visit, especially if you are fond of nature and wildlife. You will see all sorts of unique plants, as well as some birds and possibly other small creatures. The park is not huge, but it is enchantingly beautiful, and it’s a very relaxing place to spend some of your time.

If you’re interested in learning more about Brazil’s native plants or you just want to get outdoors for a while, this could be the perfect spot for you.


Brasília is an extraordinary capital city, full of history and careful design. It stands out for its architecture and interest in creativity and the arts, and it’s a wonderful place to visit if you are interested in history and the unique challenges that Brazil has faced.

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!