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Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon) ( ) is the capital of the state of Minas Geraismarker, located in the southeastern region of Brazilmarker. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country. Belo Horizonte (or "Beagá", as it is also familiarly known from the sound of its initials "BH" in Portuguese) has a population of over 2.4 million, reaching almost 5.4 million in the official Metropolitan Area.

The first settlements in the region occurred in the early 1700s, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Pretomarker as the capital of Minas Geraismarker. At the present day, the city is well known for the contrast between contemporary and classical buildings, being in fact the location of many modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning it, Brazilian engineers Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho found their inspiration in the town plan of Washington D.C.marker It also is becoming known for its internationally recognized programs in urban revitalization and food security, the latter of which has won several international accolades.

In the area surrounding Belo Horizonte there are several parks. The "Parque das Mangabeiras", located six kilometres south east from the city centre in the hills of the Serra do Curral, affords a view over the city. It has an area of 2.35 million m2, of which 900 000 m2 is native forest. The "Mata do Jambeiro" nature reserve extends over 912 hectares, with vegetation typical of the Atlantic forest. More than one hundred species of birds inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammals.

Belo Horizonte is a leading cultural center, with more than twenty universities, including the traditional Federal University UFMGmarker and several high-ranked private Universities, several museums, numerous libraries, different kinds of private and public music concerts, a diverse traditional and modern cousin, big parks - located in such places as downtown and also in the outskirts -, beautiful plaza squares, numerous options for night life in bars, restaurants and nigh clubs and many other aspects of the city life that lead to arts and entertainment - including that fact that the city has a couple major soccer stadiums, a traditional soccer scene and also big sports centers and private athletic unions or clubs.

The city is built on several hills and completely surrounded by mountains. The constant rising and falling of the streets sometimes makes navigation a bit tricky, but the wide avenues lined with trees are always easy guidelines. The Confins International Airportmarker connects Belo Horizonte with many Brazilian cities and also operates international flights.

Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Production is centred on steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Gold, manganese, and gem stones mined in the surrounding region are processed in the city. Belo Horizonte is home to the Federal University of Minas Geraismarker.

Geography

Surrounding cities and metropolitan area



The nonspecific term "Grande BH" ("Greater Belo Horizonte") denotes any of Belo Horizonte's metropolitan area definitions. The legally defined Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte consists of 34 municipalities in total, and a population of 4,939,053 inhabitants (as of 2007, according to IBGE).

The intense process of conurbation that currently occurs in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte has made ineffective the political boundaries between some municipalities in the region, creating a city whose center is in Belo Horizonte and reaches municipalities, such as Contagemmarker, Betimmarker, Nova Limamarker, Ribeirão das Nevesmarker, Santa Luziamarker and Sabarámarker, among others.

Due to the fact that the capital is a young city, the municipality of Belo Horizonte is much smaller than most major Brazilian centers, which tends to diminish the proportion of peripheral lower-income population situated inside the city's formal limits in comparison to these other large cities in the southeast of Brazil. This is an important fact to take into consideration when analyzing the city's indicators, especially those involving income distribution or the proportion of people living below the poverty line in the population.

The limits of the municipality are Vespasianomarker on the north, Santa Luziamarker on the northeast, Sabarámarker on the east, Nova Limamarker on the southeast, Brumadinhomarker on the south and Ribeirão das Nevesmarker, Contagemmarker and Ibiritémarker on the west. The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte is also composed of the municipalities of Baldimmarker, Betimmarker, Caetémarker, Capim Branco, Confinsmarker, Esmeraldasmarker, Florestal, Igarapémarker, Itaguaramarker, Itatiaiuçu, Jaboticatubas, Juatubamarker, Lagoa Santamarker, Mario Camposmarker, Mateus Lememarker, Matozinhos, Nova Uniãomarker, Pedro Leopoldomarker, Rapososmarker, Ribeirão das Nevesmarker, Rio Acimamarker, Rio Manso, São Joaquim de Bicasmarker, São José da Lapamarker, Sarzedomarker and Taquaraçu de Minasmarker.

Relief

As a region of contact between different geological series of the Proterozoic, is composed of crystalline rocks, which gives to the territory different landscapes. It's located in a large geological unit known as craton of San Francisco, referring to extensive crustal nucleus of central-eastern Brazil, tectonicly stable at the end of the Paleoproterozoic and bordering areas that suffered the regeneration at the Neoproterozoic.
The archean rocks members of Belo Horizonte complex and supracrustais sequences of the Paleoproterozoic is predominant. The area of Belo Horizonte complex includes the geomorphological unit called Depression of Belo Horizonte, which represents about 70% of the municipality area and has its greatest expression in the northern Ribeirão Arrudas (Rues Stream) pipeline. The metasedimentary rocks has its area of occurrence on the south of Ribeirão Arrudas pipeline, constituting about 30% of the area of Belo Horizonte. The characteristics of this area are lithological diversities and rugged topography, which has its maximum expression in the Serra do Curral (Corral Mountain), the southern boundary of the municipality.

Its soil comprises a succession of layers of rocks of varied composition, represented by itabirite, dolomite, quartzite, filities and schists different from the general direction northwest-southeast and dip to the southeast.

The hills of Belo Horizonte are ramifications of the Espinhaço Mountains and belong to the group of the Itacolomi Mountains. Around the city are the mountains of Jatobá, José Vieira, Mutuca, Taquaril and Curral. The highest point in the municipality is in the Serra do Curral, reaching 1,538 meters (5,046 ft).

Hydrography

Located in the San Francisco Basin, Belo Horizonte is not surrounded by any large river, but on its soil there are several streams and brooks, mostly channeled. The capital is served by two sub-basins, Ribeirão Arrudas (Rues Stream) and Ribeirão da Onça (Jaguar Stream), tributaries of the Rio das Velhas (Velhas River). The two sub-basins are located in the top of Rio das Velhas and covers the municipalities of Belo Horizonte and Contagemmarker, in an area of 525.58 km² and located on the left bank of the Rio das Velhas. This is the most urbanized region of the basin, with an estimated population of 2,776,543 million people, according to the IBGE, 2000.

The Ribeirão Arrudas crosses the city from west to east. Further north, part of the basin is in Ribeirão do Onça, dammed to form the shell of the same name, one of the corners of the city's tourism and leisure. The Ribeirão Arrudas ends in the municipality of Sabarámarker and the Ribeirão da Onça in Santa Luziamarker, both in Rio das Velhas.
The Ribeirão Arrudas and Ribeirão da Onça are responsible for drainage of most sewers in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte and still suffer with the decrease in the areas of drainage and disorderly occupation of hillsides and valley, problems caused by the intense occupation of areas of the sub-basin. When these rivers empty their waters in the Rio das Velhas, is observed a sharp deterioration in the quality of this river.

The process of urbanization of the municipality tried hiding the water courses. The channelization was a practice but the orientation of the current municipal administration is not to channelizate the water courses.

In these streams are not found fish in most of its length. As in some tributaries in better conditions, such as in drainages in the Mangabeiras Park may still be found some small catfishes and others. In the Pampulhamarker dam, belonging to the sub-basin of the Riberão do Onça, there are about 20 species, some exotics such as tilapia, of African origin.

With two sewage treatment stations running, Belo Horizonte and Contagem have the capacity to treat 100% of their effluent.

Climate

Belo Horizonte's climate can be classified as Tropical of altitude, with yearly average temperature between 9°C (48.2°F) and 35°C (95°F). The Köppen climate classification of the region is tropical savanna climate, (Tropical on high altitudes, humid/warm summer and a dry/cool winter). As a city located in the southern Hemispheremarker, Belo Horizonte's spring starts in September, its summer in December, its autumn in March, and its winter in June. Belo Horizonte is located about 300 km (186 mi) distant from the sea.


Even though inter-seasonal differences are not as pronounced as they are in temperate places, and many people believe that, as in much of Brazilmarker, there are just two seasons (a hot and humid one from October to March, and a colder and drier one from April to September), there is a contrast between spring and summer, and between fall and winter.

The coldest month is generally July, with a lowest recorded temperature of 2°C (35°F). The hottest month is usually January, with a highest recorded temperature of 35.4°C (95.7°F).

There can be problems related with low air humidity during August. The 852 m (2795 ft) elevation of Belo Horizonte helps a little in cooling the city, suppressing high maximum air temperatures experienced in nearby cities at lower altitudes.

Belo Horizonte's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures vary between 11°C (51.8°F) and 31°C (87.8°F), the average being 20°C (68°F). Winter is dry, and summer is rainy.

History

Station Square in Belo Horizonte.
The metropolis was once a small village, founded by João Leite da Silva Ortiz, a bandeirante explorer from São Paulomarker. Having found a location with pleasant weather, a nice landscape and good soil for farming, the explorer settled in the region in 1701, leaving a gold hunting expedition. He then established a farm called "Curral d'el Rey", archaic Portuguese for the "King's Corral, which in modern Portuguese would be spelled Curral do Rei." The farm's wealth and success encouraged people from surrounding places to move into the region, and Curral del Rey became a village surrounded by farms.

Another important growth factor of the village were the migrants from the São Francisco rivermarker region, who had to pass through Curral d'el Rey in order to reach southern parts of Brazil. Travelers usually visited a small wooden chapel, where they prayed for a safe trip. Due to that, the chapel was named Capela da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, which means "Chapel of Our Lady of the Good Journey." After the construction of Belo Horizonte, the old baroque chapel was replaced by a neo-gothic church which became the city's cathedral.

The previous capital of Minas Geraismarker, Ouro Preto, was a symbol of both the monarchic Brazilian Empiremarker and the period when most of Brazilian income was due to mining, and that never pleased the members of the Inconfidência Mineira, republican intellectuals who conspired against the Portuguese dominion of Brazilmarker. In 1889, Brazil became a republic, and it was agreed that a new state capital, in tune with a modern and prosperous Minas Gerais, had to be set.

In 1893, due to good climatic and topographic conditions, Curral Del Rey was elected by Minas Gerais governor Afonso Pena from other cities as the spot for the new economical and cultural center of the state, under the new name of "Cidade de Minas," or Minas City.

Aarão Reis, an urbanist from the State of Parámarker, was then set to design the first planned city of Brazil, and then Cidade de Minas was inaugurated finally in 1897, with many unfinished constructions as the Brazilian Government set a deadline for its completion. Inhabitation of the city was subsidized by the local government, through the concession of free empty lots and funding for building houses. An interesting feature of Belo Horizonte Reis designed was the downtown street plan, featuring a regular array of perpendicular and diagonal streets, named after Brazilian states and Brazilian indigenous tribes.

In 1906, the name was then changed to Belo Horizonte, and at that time the city was experiencing a considerable industrial expansion that increased its commercial and service sectors. From its very beginning, the city's original plan prohibited workers to live inside the urban area which was defined by Avenida do Contorno (a long avenue which goes around the city's central areas), reserved for the public sector functionaries (hence the name of the still trendy neighborhood "Funcionários"), and causing an accelerated occupation outside the city's area well provided with infrastructure since its very beginning.
Afonso Pena Avenue.
, the city's original planners didn't count on its population growth afterwards, which proved especially intense in the last twenty years of the 20th century.

In the 1940s, a young Oscar Niemeyer designed the Pampulha Neighborhood to great acclaim, a commission he got thanks to then-mayor, soon-to-be-president Juscelino Kubitschek. These two men are largely responsible for the wide avenue, large lakes, parks and jutting skylines that characterize the city today.

Belo Horizonte is fast becoming a regional center of commerce, Google has their Latin American headquarters there, from where the popular social networking website Orkut is fully managed and operated. It continues to be a trendsetter in the arts, particularly where music, literature, architecture and the avant-garde are concerned. There are plans underway to move a complex of government ministries north of the center, onto the road to Confins International Airport, liberating space around beautiful palm-fringed Praça da Liberdade to house the city's symphony orchestra and other arts organizations.

Demographics

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 6,082,776 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte. The population density was . The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 2,380,644 Pardo (brown) people (46.9%), 2,065,932 White people (40.7%), 604,044 Black people (11.9%), 25,380 Asian or Amerindian people (0.5%).

The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte is the 3rd most populous of Brazilmarker, after São Paulomarker and Rio de Janeiromarker. The city is the 6th most populous of the country.

During the 18th century, Minas Gerais received many Portuguese immigrants, mainly from Northern Portugal as well as a huge number of slaves from Africa.

Belo Horizonte has a notable Italian influence, around 30% of the city's population have some Italian origin. The Italian culture is present in the cuisine, dance, and language. People of German, Spanish, and Syrian-Lebanese ancestries make up sizeable groups.

Religion

Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 68.84% 1,541,185
Protestant 18.10% 405,265
No religion 8.04% 179,995
Source: IBGE 2000.

Economy

Despite its lack of beaches, Belo Horizonte annually receives large numbers of visitors, as it is in the Brazilian main economic axis, exerting influence even on other states. Both multinational and Brazilian companies, like Google and Oi, maintain their headquarters in the city. The service sector plays a very important role in the economy of Belo Horizonte, being responsible for 85% of the city's GDP, with the industry making up for most of the remaining 15%. Belo Horizonte has a developed industrial sector, being traditionally a pole of the Brazilian siderurgical and metallurgical industries, as the state of Minas Gerais has always been very rich in minerals, specifically iron ore.

The main industrial district of the city was set during the 1940s in Contagemmarker, a part of greater Belo Horizonte. Multinational companies like FIATmarker (which opened its plant in Betim in 1974), Arcelor, and Toshiba have subsidiaries in the region, along with other textile, cosmetic, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furnishing and refractory companies. Between the companies headquartered in the city we can list siderurgicals Açominas (held by Gerdau, one of the largest multinationals originated in Brazil); Usiminas; Belgo-Mineira (held by Arcelor); Acesita (partially held by Arcelor); mobile communication Vivo; and Telecom Italia Mobile, as well as the NYSEmarker-listed electrical company CEMIG, which is said to have the best transmission quality of Brazil. Leading steel product makers Sumitomo Metals of Japanmarker and Vallourec of Francemarker have also recently announced plans to construct an integrated steel works on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte.
Belvedere
are also a large number of small enterprises in the technological sector with regional to nationwide success, particularly in the fields of computing and biotechonology. Due to both governmental and private funding in the diversification of its economy, the city has become an international reference in Information Technology and Biotechnology, and is also cited because of the advanced corporate and university research in Biodiesel fuel.

Projects in these fields are likely to expand due to integration between universities, the oil company Petrobras and the Brazilian Government. Over 16% of the Brazilian biotechnological industries are located in Belo Horizonte, with annual revenues of more than US$ 550 million. During the past few years, the city has made investments in "Business-Tourism", by promoting more than 3,000 national or international events yearly. One of the largest events that ever took place in the city, the IDB meeting, occurred in 2005 and attracted people from everywhere in the world.
The two most important industrial clusters of the State of Minas Geraismarker are around the cities of Juiz de Foramarker and Belo Horizonte. In southern Minas Gerais, near Juiz de Fora, there is a concentration of textile industries, which started to be established in the 19th century. Belo Horizonte and vicinities (Contagem, Betim, Nova Lima, Pedro Leopoldo, Raposo, Rio Acima, Sabará, Santa Luzia e Vespasiano) have a diversified industrial complex; even though minerals processing still have a large importance, there are important industries of vehicles, food products, textile, chemicals and others.Several steel producers are established all around the State: Mannesmann, Belgo-Mineira, Acesita, Usiminas; there is an oil refinery in Betim, directly connected by pipes to the producing areas off shore the Rio de Janeiromarker coast; vehicle makers, like Fiatmarker (in Betim) and Mercedes-Benz (in Juiz de Fora) have plants in Minas Geraismarker.

For a long time it was marked by the predominance of its industrial sector, but from the 1990s there has been a constant expansion of the service sector economy, particularly in computer science, biotechnology, business tourism, fashion and the making of jewelry. The city is considered to be a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy.

The GDP for the city was R$ 32,725,361,000 (2006).

The GDP for the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte was R$ 62,329,388,000 (2005).

The per capita income for the city was R$ 13,636 (2006).

Statistics



Education

Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.

Educational institutions



Culture

Modern Art in the city.
There are many notable Brazilianmarker artistic groups which have their origins in Belo Horizonte.Grupo Corpo, which is perhaps the most famous contemporary dance group in the country, was created in the city in 1975, travel internationally and are acclaimed throughout the world.Giramundo is an important group, specialized in performing puppet shows. They maintain the museum of the puppets they created since their foundation in 1970, first launched a complete album in 1981, and has released 11 works since that year.

Another innovative artistic group is Uakti. They create their own musical instruments using materials like PVC, wood, metals and glass. The origin of their name is based in a myth by the Tukano Indians, and reflects the indigenous feeling present in their works. Many important rock groups were founded in Belo Horizonte, being among them Jota Quest, Pato Fu, Skank, 14 Bis, Sepultura and Tianastácia.
Clube da Esquina is a musical movement that originated in the mid 1960s, and since that time their members have been considered influent in Minas Geraismarker culture and have important artists such as Tavinho Moura, Wagner Tiso, Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges, Beto Guedes, Flávio Venturini, Toninho Horta, Márcio Borges, Fernando Brant and 14 Bis, among others.

Every two years, the city realizes the FIT BH, The International Theater Festival of Belo Horizonte, which attracts artists from all over Brazilmarker and many parts of the world. In 2006, there was an extreme sports event in Belo Horizonte with a slogan that became very popular in Belo Horizonte: "Eu amo BH radicalmente", or "I love Belo Horizonte radically."

The regional food and the "Cachaça", international drink from the State of Minas Geraismarker are the most top rated of this city.

Museum

Belo Horizonte has a number of museums, among them: Mineiro Museum, Abílio Barreto Historic Museum, Arts and Workmanship Museum, Natural History Museum and the UFMG Botanic Gardens, Telephone Museum, Pampulha Art Museum, Mineralogy Museum Prof. Taylor Gramke, UFMG Conservatory, Giramundo Museum. Since 2006, the greater Belo Horizonte also counts with a contemporary art center in its outskirts, Inhotim, located in the city of Brumadinho and home of a relevant collection of the art production from the last 30 years.

Events

BH at evening.
Comida di Buteco

In January and February, a specialist jury selects 31 bar which, in the months of April and May, compete to see which one makes the best appetizers.

International Theater Festival

With the merger of two projects that would happen separately in 1994, one stage based, organized by the Francisco Nunes Theater, and the other street based, idealized by Grupo Galpão, came FIT-BH Palco & Rua. Produced every two years, under responsibility from the Belo Horizonte City Hall, through the Municipal Culture Office and the Association Movimento Teatro de Grupo of Minas Gerais, in the program there are street and stage shows, and also seminars, workshops, courses, talks, etc.

FID - Circulando BH

In March and April is the performance program from FID promoting contemporary dance in Belo Horizonte. The program presents groups from Belo Horizonte. For this project the priority invitations go to the shows created by groups and choreographers living in the city. The purpose is to take shows and other activities such as workshops, talks and video screenings to the less privileged regions of the city regarding access to cultural assets.

Transportation

International Airport

Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airportmarker is located in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa and Confins, 38 km (23 mi) from Belo Horizonte, and was opened in January 1984. It was planned from the start for future expansion in steps to meet growing demand. The airport has one of the lowest rates of shutdown for bad weather in the country. However, the Confins airport was not using much of its capacity until 2005, when it was decided that a large part of the Pampulha Airport flights (which is smaller and located inside Belo Horizonte's urban area) would move to Confinsmarker. It was planned from the start for future expansion in steps to meet growing demand. The Tancredo Neves International Airport has both domestic and international flights to Miamimarker, United Statesmarker; Lisbonmarker, Portugalmarker; Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker; Panama Citymarker, Panamamarker; and Parismarker, Francemarker.

Highways

The Viaduto Santa Tereza is dated from the foundation of Belo Horizonte and is still a very important connection between Floresta and Downtown.


The city is connected to the rest of Minas Gerais state and the country by a number of roadways. Minas Geraismarker has the country's largest federal highway network.

The city is also served by other minor roads such as state highways MG-020, MG-050, MG-030, and MG-433. There is also an East-West Express Way, which goes from the city to the nearby industrial centers of Contagemmarker and Betimmarker (together having a population of ca. 900,000), and Anel Rodoviário, a kind of "beltway" - indeed it is not circumferential, but connects many highways, such as the federal (BR-ones) so it is not necessary for a large number of cars and trucks to pass through the city center. Many of these roads are in poor condition, but in the last years many revitalization and rebuilding projects have been started.

Distances

View of Belo Horizonte.
View of Belo Horizonte.
  • Nova Lima: 22 km (13.6 mi)
  • São Sebastião das Águas Claras: 23 km (14.2 mi);
  • Sabará: 25 km (15.5 mi);
  • Santa Luzia: 26 km (16.1 mi);
  • Contagem: 27 km (16.7 mi);
  • Ravena: 30 km (18.6 mi);
  • Betim: 31 km (19.2 mi);
  • Rio Acima: 34 km (21.1 mi);
  • Caeté: 46 km (28.5 mi);
  • Juatuba: 49 km (30.4 mi);
  • Esmeraldas: 50 km (31 mi);
  • Brumadinho: 58 km (36 mi);
  • Moeda: 60 km (37.2 mi);
  • Florestal: 63 km (39.1 mi);
  • Sete Lagoas: 76 km (47 mi).


Bus system

The bus system has a large number of bus lines going through all parts in the city, and is administrated by BHTRANS. Among the upcoming projects are the expansion of the integration between bus lines and the metro, with integrated stations, many already in use. And the construction of bus corridors, with lanes and bus stops exclusively for the bus lines. Keeping buses from traffic congestions, making the trips more viable for commuters.



Metro

Belo Horizonte Metro or MetroBH started operating at the end of 1970s, and is one of the oldest urban railways in the country. There is still just one line, with 19 stations, from Vilarinho to Eldorado Station, in Contagem, but it is now insufficient to address the commuting needs of the entire city, transporting a little over 160,000 people daily. Two new lines, one from Santa Tereza to Barreiro, which is being built, and one from Pampulhamarker to Savassi, which is being planned. There is also a project for the expansion for the first line, from Vilarinho to Ribeirão das Nevesmarker and from Eldorado to Betimmarker. When completed, the MetroBH is expected to transport over 800,000 people daily.

Tourism and recreation

Liberty Square.
The Municipal Park (Américo Reneé Giannetti) in downtown Belo Horizonte.

Built in 1897 with the city foundation.
São Francisco de Assis Church (Pampulha's Church).
Belo Horizonte has several significant cultural landmarks, many of them situated in the Pampulhamarker district, where there are notable examples of Brazilian contemporary architecture. These include one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, the Mineirãomarker stadium, and the São Francisco de Assis Churchmarker, widely known as Igreja da Pampulha, designed by Brazilian Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. In Pampulha there is also the Universidade Federal de Minas Geraismarker campus, whose buildings themselves are important contributions to the city's architecture. Other notable Pampulha buildings include the Mesbla and Niemeyer buildings, in addition to the headquarters of corporations such as Usiminas, Seculus, and Telemig Celular.
In downtown Belo Horizonte, are located the neo-Gothic Boa Viagem Cathedral, the church of São José, the Praça da Estação (Station Square), which is an old train station that now is also the Museum of Arts and Workmanship, the Municipal Park, the famous Sete de Setembro Square, where an Obelisk built in 1922 marks the one hundred years of Brazilian independence from Portugalmarker.

Near downtown, in the Lourdes neighborhood, the Lourdes Basilica is located, which is an example of Gothic Revival style. The Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church, in Santo Agostinho neighborhood, is situated in Carlos Chagas Square. Both churches are referred to as the Assembléia Church and the Assembléia Square due to their proximity to the state's legislative assembly.

Next to downtown is the famous Savassi region, known for fine restaurants and as a center of cultural events as well as the best of the city's nightlife. Many landmarks are located there, such as the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Plaza), and its surrounding buildings, including the Executive Offices of the governor called the Palace of Liberty (Palácio da Liberdade), the first building to be finished during the city's planned development in the late 1890s. Last but not least is the "Rua do Amendoim" (Peanut Street), an example of a gravity hill, where parked automobiles appear to roll uphill, defying gravity. Whether this is an illusion or a magnetic phenomenon is left to the visitor to decide. Though most of the effect seems to have disappeared due to housing development in the area, many people still believe that the street is magic.

Another important landmark is Praça do Papa (Plaza of the Pope), located at a high point just south of the downtown area, with its spectacular view of the entire city. It is named for the July 1, 1980 visit by John Paul II, who held a youth mass there. The nearby Parque das Mangabeiras (Mangabeiras Park) features extensive wildlife, and-owing to its considerable size-has its own bus service, which operates solely within the confines of the park.

Sports

As in the rest of Brazil, football is the most popular sport among locals. Belo Horizonte has two of the most successful teams in the country, and the city also has one of the biggest football stadiums in the world, the Mineirãomarker, opened in 1965. The older Independência Stadiummarker hosted a legendary victory of the United States World Cup Team 1950 in a 1-0 triumph over England. See England v United States and Atlético Mineiromarker, which is also called by its nickname and mascot "Galo" (rooster) . Yet, one of the oldest football clubs in the city and was founded in 1908. Atlético Mineiromarker was the first Brazilian champion, in 1971, and has also won two CONMEBOL Cups (nowadays called Copa Sudamericana) and 39 State Championships. In spite of so much tradition, the team has suffered through very difficult times recently and was relegated to the Brazilian Série B. However, the club won the championship in 2006 and is back to Série A in 2007.

Cruzeiromarker was founded in 1921 by the members of the local Italian community. Cruzeiro has been one of Brazil´smarker most victorius clubs in the 1990s and early 2000s, winning 4 National Cups, 1 National League, 2 Copa Libertadores, and 2 Supercopa Libertadores, and is also the winner of Taça Brasil in 1966 and 34 State Championships including Supercampeonato Mineiro in 2002. The city is also home to América Mineiro, which has its own playing field, the Independência Stadiummarker. It was a major team in Brazil decades ago, but passed three years striving to leave Brazilian League Série C. Things came worse at the beginning of 2007. The team was relegated to the Módulo II of Campeonato Mineiro and didn't even qualify for playing the Série C, being completely out of Campeonato Brasileiro.

Besides football, Belo Horizonte has one of the largest attendances at volleyball matches in the whole country. Crowds usually go to Mineirinhomarker in order to watch either the Brazil national volleyball team or Minas Tênis Clube matches. Minas Tênis Clube is a sport association with various modalities. Besides Mineirinho, the clubs also plays on its own ground, the modern Vivo Arena. Both its male and female volleyball teams have already won the Brazilian Superleague of Volleyball titles. Belo Horizonte is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazilmarker is the host nation.

Human Development

Belo Horizonte at night.
The human development of Belo Horizonte varies greatly by locality, reflecting the city's spatial social desiguality and vast socioeconomic inequalities. There are neighborhoods that had very high human development indexes in 2000 (equal to or greater than the indexes of some Scandinavian countries), but also those in the lower range (in line with, for example, North Africa).

Highest-scoring neighborhoods and localities:
  • Carmo/Sion (0.973) - (Greater than Icelandmarker - 0.968)
  • Cruzeiro/Anchieta (0.970) - (Greater than Icelandmarker - 0.968)
  • Grajau/Gutierrez (0.965) - (Greater than Australia - 0.962)
  • Belvedere/Mangabeiras/Comiteco (0.964) - (Greater than Australia - 0.962)
  • Serra/São Lucas (0.953) - (Equal to Japanmarker, Netherlandsmarker - 0.953)


Food as a right

In 1993, under mayor Patrus Ananias de Souza, the city started a series of innovations based on its citizens having the "right to food". These include, for example, creating farmers' markets in the town to enable direct sales, and regularly surveying current market prices and posting the results across the city. The city's process of participatory budgeting was linked with these innovations, as a result of which the infant mortality rate was reduced by 50% in a decade. There is also some evidence that these programs have helped support a higher quality of life for the local farmers partnering with the city, and that this may also be having positive effects on biodiversity in the Atlantic Rainforest around the city. The city's development of these policies recently garnered the first "Future Policy Award" from the World Future Council, a group of 50 activists (including Frances Moore Lappé, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, and Youssou N'Dour) concerned with the development and recognition of policies to promote a just and sustainable future.

The city has also undertaken an internationally heralded project called Vila Viva ("Living Village" in portuguese) that promises to "urbanize" the poorest areas (favelas), relocating families from areas with high risk of floods and landslides, but keeping them in the same neighborhood, paving main avenues to allow public transportation, police and postal service to have access to those areas. And all the work is done with 80% of locals, reducing unemployment and increasing family income. Former mayor Fernando Damata Pimentel was nominated for "World's Best Mayor" in 2005 on the strength of these and other programs.

Gallery

Image:Bhcity2.jpg|Belo HorizonteImage:Tigre_Zoologico_BH_MG_29.09.2007.JPG|Tiger in ZooImage:Fundacaozoobotanica03.jpg|Elephant at the zooImage:Belo7.jpg|Neighborhood Belvedere

Image:Belo_Horizonte-night.jpg|Belo Horizonte at nightImage:Boaviagem.JPG|Church of Boa ViagemImage:ParquedasMangabeiras01.jpg|Mangabeiras ParkImage:Serra_do_Curral_vista_de_dentro_do_Parque_das_Mangabeiras.jpg|Sierra of Curral

Image:Serra rola moca.JPG|Sierra of Rola MoçaImage:Torrealtavilaud5.jpg|Alta Vila TowerImage:Cemig.JPG|Headquarters CemigImage:Senhora do carmo.JPG|Neighborhood Belvedere

Image:Pracatiradentes.JPG|Headquarters Seculus da AmazôniaImage:Praça jk bh.JPG|JK PlaceImage:Contorno.JPG|Contorno AvenueImage:Belo Horizonte metro train.JPG|Belo Horizonte Metro

Sister cities

Belo Horizonte's sister cities are:



See also

A view of Belo Horizonte.


References

External links

Official



Education



Photos



Architecture

Tourism

Food Security






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