World Cup 2014 City Guide: Brasilia

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World Cup 2014 City Guide: Brasilia
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Bleacher Report is running a series of articles looking at the cities that are set to host the tournament next summer.

Having begun in Belo Horizonte, next up on the list is national capital Brasilia—the archetypal-planned city. The most modern of all the host cities, its unique nature and cooler climate will doubtless attract many supporters next summer.

 

City: Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil

Population: 2,562,963

 

History

The idea of moving Brazil's capital city away from Rio de Janeiro had been in place since the 19th century and, indeed, the concept was written into the republic's constitution in 1891.

It was president Juscelino Kubitschek who finally acted upon the words of the constitution after coming to power in 1956. The idea behind a new capital was that Brasilia, with its futuristic design, was going to be a symbol of Brazil's new prosperity.

Architect Oscar Niemayer's concepts can be seen across the city, as he was handed responsibility for designing many of the city's public buildings.

Now the established political centre of Brazil, the city has become an important economic player in Brazil's modern development.

 

Stadium: Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha

Renovated ahead of the 2014 World Cup, the stadium was named after great Brazilian footballer Garrincha upon its opening in 1974.

Since renamed as the "national stadium", the Mane Garrincha has been expanded to hold 71,000 spectators ahead of the coming competition and has been redesigned to be a football-specific arena.

The ground will also host games at the 2016 Summer Olympics set for Rio de Janeiro.

 

Major Local Teams: Brasiliense and Gama

FIFA.com

Despite its state league having been established since 1959, Brasilia lacks any footballing representative in the top two divisions of Brazilian football.

At present, it is Brasiliense who lead the way for football in the state. Formed in 2000, the club have won the Campeonato Brasiliense on eight occasions and currently boast Romario's son, Romarinho, and former Sporting striker, Rodrigo Tiui, among their ranks.

Their nearest rivals are Gama, who are historically the most successful side in the state with 10 titles to their name. Gama were dominant at the turn of the millennium, but have not won a title since 2003.

With neither side attracting significant support, neither will advance to the national stadium, post-World Cup.

 

Major Landmark: Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Cathedral of Brasilia)

Another city with a spectacular cathedral, Niemayer's masterpiece in Brasilia—the Cathedral of Brasilia—is one of the most visited locations in the city with over a million visitors per year, according to official figures, via Aboutbrasilia.com.

The circular section visible above ground is said to represent two hands reaching towards God while the walls are fitted with glass panels to allow the Baptistery to fill with light.

Several statues and monuments have since been added while the cathedral's distinctive bell tower is an entirely unique design. The building saw Niemayer awarded the Pritzker Prize for his feats of design.

 

Must-Eat Food: N/A

As such a modern city, Brasilia does not have a unique local cuisine of its own. However, visitors can be assured that the city possesses a huge variety of both international and Brazilian restaurants of all price levels.

Given its absence of a strong local flavour, Brasilia's food scene is perhaps the most varied anywhere in Brazil.

 

The Local's Tip: Rio Coimbra, former-Brasilia resident and football writer:

Overall the weather in Brasilia is cooler and more pleasant—less humid—than it will be in the other host cities. It is also, generally, less crowded which may come as a relief during the tournament.

You'll probably need a car to move about, or have to rely heavily on public transport, with the city far more spread out than many of the older cities. It is not easy to walk from one place to another and that should be taken into account.

 

City Guide: Belo Horizonte

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