7 places in Brasília for anyone who loves architecture

The capital of Brazil is made of lines and curves, mostly designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the country’s most famous architect

Gabriela Soutello Getty Images

Published November 2019

Maybe you don’t know it yet, but Brasília is a young city, inaugurated in the 1960s to be the capital of Brazil. And it was designed symmetrically, according to modernist principles, by some of the main urbanists in the country, including Lúcio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, and Burle Marx. Below, we’ve selected can’t-miss places to visit, appreciate, and make your Instagram account much more beautiful:

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1. Ponte JK

Inaugurated in 2002, this bridge has become one of Brasília’s main leisure spots, especially the area close to Paranoá Lake. The structure’s metallic arches represent the movement of a rock bouncing on water.


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2. Catedral Metropolitana de Nossa Senhora Aparecida

Oscar Niemeyer would obviously appear on this list. The Brasília Cathedral, as it’s known, is located on the city’s Eixo Monumental. The work was designed in an interesting manner: you need to go down a ramp to get inside and, as you enter the cathedral, the high ceiling is revealed, which is even more impressive than you’d expect.


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3. Praça dos Cristais

A reference in landscaping located in the center of Setor Militar, the plaza designed by Burle Marx has reflecting pools and sculptures that, even though are made of concrete, resemble crystal items.


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4. Praça do Cruzeiro

Nearby Memorial JK and Eixo Monumental, this plaza is a great place to observe the green landscape surrounding the Plano Piloto. Even though it doesn’t feature a special architecture, it offers a great view of Brasília’s urban planning and is the perfect place to observe the horizontal amplitude of the sky.


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5. Torre de TV

From the top of the tower known as Torre de TV you can see the Esplanada dos Ministérios, one of Brasília’s iconic areas. It stands out not only for its architecture, but also because, from there, you can contemplate the city’s architectural project from above.


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6. Torre de TV Digital

Here’s the last project in Brasília designed by Niemeyer: Torre de TV Digital. Created as an homage to the flowers that grow in the cerrado and completely different from the first tower, it’s made of white concrete. The tallest structure in Brasília, at 558 feet [170 m], at night, it’s illuminated by spotlights projected by Peter Gasper.


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7. Santuário Dom Bosco

If you want to attend a psychedelic Mass, this is the right place. Viewed from the outside, Santuário Dom Bosco looks like a block of concrete, but when you get inside and see the huge stained glass windows in shades of blue, in addition to impeccable lighting, the sanctuary fills your heart. The work was inspired by the utopic dreams Italian priest Don Bosco used to have, foreseeing the existence of “a new world.”


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