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Curitiba Guide, Brazil

The city of Curitiba is one of the finest examples of a bulky economic and industrial development carried out with responsibility and organisation. Since it was declared the 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 such sensitive issues as transportation and the environment.

Curitiba is now the most populous city in the southern region of Brazil, with 1.8m inhabitants, and stands right at the centre of a metropolitan area whose economy ranks fourth in terms of contribution to the country’s gross national product. With all that, Curitiba still maintains the structural conditions to offer a remarkable welfare and quality of life to its residents, thanks to its innumerable parks and a high-profile cultural schedule.

The curitibanos owe a lot of their cultural richness to the massive immigration process through which the south of Brazil underwent during the 19th century, when it welcomed a huge contingent of Germans, Italians, Ukrainians and Polish. These traits are noticeable in such city landmarks as the Santa Felicidade neighbourhood, with its first-class Italian cantinas; the Bosque Alemão (German Wood) and the Ukrainian church replica at fabulous Tingui Park

Besides the Tingui, other important parks that showcase Curitiba’s concern with preserving green areas include the Tangua, the Barigui and the impressive Botanical Garden. Other city attractions revolve around its pulsating cultural life, like the Opera de Arame (a theatre all built with glass and iron wires) and the pungent Oscar Niemeyer Museum, designed by the architect himself.

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