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Porto Alegre (lit. "Joyous Port" or "Happy Harbor", ) is the eleventh most populous municipality in Brazilmarker and the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is the southernmost capital city of a Brazilian state. Porto Alegre is one of the most important cultural, political and economic centers of Southern Brazil. Two Mercosur countries, Argentinamarker and Uruguaymarker, border Rio Grande do Sul. It is also the centre of Brazil's fifth largest metropolitan area.

Porto Alegre was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores, Portugal. In the late 19th century the city received many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Italy, and Poland. The vast majority of the population is of European descent.

The city lies on the eastern bank of the Rio Guaiba (Guaiba Lake), where five rivers converge to form the Lagoa dos Patosmarker (Lagoon of the Ducks), a giant freshwater lagoon navigable by even the largest of ships. This five-river junction has become an important alluvial port as well as a chief industrial and commercial center of Brazil.

The port of Porto Alegre is important for transporting local produce. The "Gaucho capital" has a broad-based economy that lays particular emphasis on agriculture and industry. Agricultural production includes produce such as plums, peaches, rice and cassava grown on rural smallholdings. The shoe and leather industries are also important, especially in Novo Hamburgomarker, in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegre has a long coastline on the Guaíba Lake, and its topography is punctuated by 40 hills. In the lake, a vast body of water, a maze of islands facing the city creates an archipelago where a unique ecosystem makes possible an exuberant wildlife. The city area concentrates 28% of the native flora of Rio Grande do Sul, with 9,288 species. Among these, there are many trees which are the vestiges of the Atlantic Forest. Fauna is also diversified, specially in the islands and hills. The Portoalegrense environs include many parks, squares and wooded streets.

In recent years, Porto Alegre hosted the World Social Forum, an initiative of several Non Government Organizations.

The city

Porto Alegre seen from the Guaíba Lake.
The city is located on a delta resulting from the junction of five rivers, officially called Guaíba Lake (popularly mentioned as a river too). Although its origins date from the mid-18th century, when immigrants from the Azores settled in the area, the city was officially established in 1742. Porto Alegre is also one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America, and one of the most diverse. It has welcomed immigrants from all over the world, the largest numbers coming from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. There are also significant Arab and Jewish contingents in the population. The Afro-Brazilian population is also large in the city.

Before this, Porto Alegre was the port of Viamãomarker on the shore of Guaíba Lake. Its ancient name was Porto dos Casais (Port of the couples), and it was initially settled by Azorians. Many families of settlers also came from the city of Rio Grandemarker (Big River) in the litoral Lagunar region, to the south, a military fortress at that time. Today Rio Grandemarker is the most important port of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is also known as "Porto do Sol" (Port of the Sun) and "Cidade Sorriso" (Smile City). More than 70 neighborhoods (see below) are part of the city and 2/3 of the population are concentrated in the Zona Norte (Northern Zone), where most of the economic activity, including the city center, takes place.

Porto Alegre was the seat of the World Social Forum in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. As the second largest city in southern Brazil, it is also an important industrial center in this geographical area. It is also a center for gaúcho (the popular name for natives of the State) history and culture, famous for its churrasco (barbecue) and chimarrão (a strong and hot tea prepared from erva mate). Important Brazilian universities, such as UFRGSmarker, UFCSPA and PUCRSmarker are located there. In 2000, the literacy rate was 97%. The high quality of life is one of the city's main features. Here people will find an excellent urban infrastructure, telecommunications and excellent medical service.



Porto Alegre is located in the subtropical area and so is called its climate. Average precipitation is high and regular throughout the year. Summer temperatures often rise above and high levels of humidity make the season very muggy. The highest temperature ever registered was in January 1943. Humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and chilly to mild winters. This climate type covers a broad category of climates, and the term "subtropical" may be a misnomer for the winter climate in the cooler areas within this category. Significant amounts of precipitation occur in all seasons in most areas. Winter rainfall (and sometimes snowfall) is associated with large storms that the westerlies steer from west to east. Most summer rainfall occurs during thunderstorms and an occasional tropical storm, hurricane or cyclone.

The winter reveals mild average temperatures, contrasting to the quite changeable, and many times sudden behavioral, windy and rainy weather which also characterizes this time of the year. Usual winter temperatures range from to . Snow is very rare, sometimes confused with sleet. The main snowfall events in Porto Alegre were in 1879, 1910 and 1984. The lowest temperature ever recorded was , in 1918. Autumns tend to be as changeable as winters, but are typically warmer. Spring, stabler akin to summer, is slightly drier than all the other seasons. Occurrence of radiation fog is common, causing several delays in early flights. The coldest part, in fact the only part of Brazil which ever gets really cold, is the South and Southeast, the region roughly from central Minas Geraismarker to Rio Grande do Sul, which includes Belo Horizontemarker, São Paulomarker, Curitibamarker, and Porto Alegre.


The vegetation of the city is the subtropical forest. A number of conservation programmes have been established here to protect native trees. Many of the city's avenues have been planted with different tree species. One striking example of this is Teresópolis Avenue, where bottle trees have been planted. The city is covered in green vegetation and Lapacho and Jacaranda are the main species that can be found here. The trees from the hills are protected. Two environmental conservation areas can be found in this city: "Delta do Jacuí" (Jacuí Delta) State Park and Lami Biological Reserve.

The urban area has many parks and plazas, making Porto Alegre one of the greenest provincial capital in Brazil. The first city squares date from the second half of the 18 th century and were originally large public spaces used as food markets. The city has 39 million m² of green space, occupying 31 percent of the city's area. This is an average of 17.6 m² per person. More than one million trees line the public streets and SMAM plants an average of 30,000 seedlings each year. The four main parks are: Parque Farroupilha, a 37 hectare park; Jardim Botânico (The Botanical Garden of Porto Alegremarker), with some 725 species of vegetation on about 43 hectares of land; and Parque Marinha do Brasil (The Brazilian Navy's Park), a vast park of more than 70 hectares which offers a wide variety of sports fields and tracks. The city's cycleway is called the Caminho dos Parques, which at over 5 km (2 mi) long links the Moinhos do Vento, Farroupilha and Guaíba shore parks.


View of Guaíba Lake in the afternoon.

Sewer service is available to 84 percent of the city, and with 99.5 percent of the population serviced by treated water. While in most Brazilian cities the water is supplied by large state companies, in Porto Alegre the Municipal Department of Water and Sanitation Services, (DMAE) is the provider. It is the largest municipal water supplier in the country and enjoys operational autonomy and financial independence. As a separate entity from the municipal government it can make its own decisions on how to invest revenues it has collected, and such decisions are not directly subject to interference from the municipality. It receives no subsidies and makes no payments to the municipality itself. As a municipal undertaking, DMAE enjoys tax-exempt status, which allows it to keep water prices lower.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approves US$ 83.2 million to support the Integrated Socioenvironmental Program of Porto Alegre. The program will be carried out by the Municipal Department of Management and Strategic Support and will focus on: Improving water quality in Guaíba Lake and the Cavalhada River; Developing urban infrastructure to reduce flood risk along the Cavalhada River; Improving the environmental management in the Municipality of Porto Alegre; and Promoting efficient municipal water, sanitation and storm drainage services. This program will improve the quality of life of the population of Porto Alegre by restoring water quality along the west side of Lake Guaíba and directly benefitting more than 700,000 residents through expanded public sanitation services and urban environmental improvement.

Air Quality

Panoramic view.
Motor vehicles are responsible for up to 80 percent of the main atmospheric pollutant emissions. In the last 40 years, the population of the city has doubled and the number of cars has multiplied 22 times, about one vehicle for every two inhabitants. The use of new buses along dedicated busways has decreased pollutants as there is less idling time. SMAM (the Municipal Council of the Environment) has encouraged the use of the cleanest fuels and has played a role in monitoring pollution levels.

A partnership between SMAM, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sulmarker, the State Environmental Protection Foundation (FEPAM) and Petrobrás has created a network of five air monitoring stations in Porto Alegre. By utilizing a Petrobrás product called city diesel, sulphur levels in the air have dropped from 1.2 percent in 1989 to 0.5 percent. Hybrid buses which run on both diesel and electricity are also being considered for the future. Because Porto Alegre has a ready supply of natural gas, the city's taxi fleet to gradually being converted to it from gasoline.


Porto Alegre in 1852.
Porto Alegre began as a large farm whose surroundings were inhabited by Indians from several different tribes. A small village formed in the area in 1752 by settlers mainly from the Azores, and in 1772 the parish of São Francisco do Porto dos Casais was formed. A year later the bishop changed the name to Nossa Senhora Madre de Deus do Porto Alegre (The Happy Port of Our Lady Mother of God) and the city was selected as the location for the provincial government.

Porto Alegre had become a city of 12,000 inhabitants by 1822, the year the Brazil gained independence. The main port facilities were built between 1845 and 1860. By the end of the century the population had risen to 73,000. An unsuccessful bid for the presidency by Getúlio Vargas, a Porto Alegre native, led him to overthrow the government in 1930. The city became known worldwide in 1963 through hosting the World University Games. In 1985 the people of Porto Alegre joined the movement for free elections and one of the largest demonstrations took place in the city.


According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 4,158,000 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre. The population density was . The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 3,355,506 White people (80.7%), 444,906 Pardo (brown) people (10.7%), 332,640 Black people (8.0%), 24,948 Asian or Amerindian people (0.6%).

Porto Alegre is mostly composed of Brazilians of European descent. Its colonization started in the mid-18th century, mostly with the arrival of Portuguese colonists from the Azores Islands. From 1748 to 1756, 2,300 Azoreans were sent to the region by the King of Portugal to protect Southern Brazil from neighboring invaders.

These colonists, mostly composed of married couples, established the city of Porto dos Casais (literally translated "harbor of the couples"), nowadays Pôrto Alegre. In 1775, 55% of Rio Grande do Sul's population was of Azorean Portuguese origin.

Porto Alegre was composed mainly of Azoreans and their African slaves until the first half of the 19th century. The first non-Portuguese people to settle Rio Grande do Sul were German immigrants. In 1824, the first immigrants from Germany arrived in Porto Alegre, but they were sent to what is now the city of São Leopoldomarker (28 km (17 mi) away). From 1824 to 1914, 50 thousand Germans arrived in Rio Grande do Sul.

Most of these colonists had rural communities in the interior of the State as their first destination. The large rural exodus in Brazil in the early 20th century brought many German-descendants to Porto Alegre and, nowadays, they compose a large percentage of the population.

The second largest group of immigrants who arrived in Porto Alegre were the Italians. They started immigrating to Brazil in 1875, mainly from the Northern Italian Veneto region. As the Germans, Italians were also first sent to rural communities, mainly in the Serra Gaúcha region. After some decades, many of them started to migrate to other parts of Rio Grande do Sul, including Porto Alegre.

Minority communities of immigrants, such as Eastern Europeans from Poland and Ukraine; Arabs from Lebanon and Syria; Asians from Japan and Jews also made Porto Alegre their home.

Population growth

Changing demographics of the city of Porto Alegre

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bar:1800 text:1800
bar:1822 text:1822
bar:1872 text:1872
bar:1890 text:1890
bar:1900 text:1900
bar:1920 text:1920
bar:1940 text:1940
bar:1950 text:1950
bar:1960 text:1960
bar:1970 text:1970
bar:1980 text:1980
bar:1991 text:1991
bar:2000 text:2000
bar:2006 text:2006
bar:2010 text:2010(*)
bar:2015 text:2015(*)

color:barra width:20 align:left

bar:1800 from:0 till: 6000
bar:1822 from:0 till: 12000
bar:1872 from:0 till: 43998
bar:1890 from:0 till: 52421
bar:1900 from:0 till: 73647
bar:1920 from:0 till: 179263
bar:1940 from:0 till: 272232
bar:1950 from:0 till: 394151
bar:1960 from:0 till: 635125
bar:1970 from:0 till: 885545
bar:1980 from:0 till: 1125477
bar:1991 from:0 till: 1263403
bar:2000 from:0 till: 1360590
bar:2006 from:0 till: 1441554
bar:2010 from:0 till: 1542800
bar:2015 from:0 till: 1661821

bar:1800 at: 6000 fontsize:S text: 6.000 shift:(-8,5)
bar:1822 at: 12000 fontsize:S text: 12.000 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1872 at: 43998 fontsize:S text: 43.998 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1890 at: 52421 fontsize:S text: 52.421 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1900 at: 73647 fontsize:S text: 73.647 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1920 at: 179263 fontsize:S text: 179.263 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1940 at: 272232 fontsize:S text: 272.232 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1950 at: 394151 fontsize:S text: 394.151 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1960 at: 635125 fontsize:S text: 635.125 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1970 at: 885545 fontsize:S text: 885.545 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1980 at: 1125477 fontsize:S text: 1.125.477 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1991 at: 1263403 fontsize:S text: 1.263.403 shift:(-10,5)
bar:2000 at: 1360590 fontsize:S text: 1.360.590 shift:(-10,5)
bar:2006 at: 1441554 fontsize:S text: 1.441.554 shift:(-10,5)
bar:2010 at: 1542800 fontsize:S text: 1.542.800 shift:(-10,5)
bar:2015 at: 1661821 fontsize:S text: 1.661.821 shift:(-10,5)

fontsize:S pos:(20,20)

Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 73.15% 995,330
Protestant 9.33% 126,879
No religion 8.16% 110,959
Spiritist 4.29% 58,380
Jewish 0.49% 6,627
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.45% 6,092
Source: IBGE 2000.


Located at the junction of five rivers, it has become an important alluvial port as well as one of the chief industrial and commercial centers in Brazil. With the advent of the Mercosur accord it should grow and prosper. Products of the rich agricultural and pastoral hinterland, such as soybeans, leather, canned beef, and rice, are exported from Porto Alegre to destinations as far away as Africa and Japan. According to SENAES (National Office of Solidarity Economy), it is considered Solidarity Economy the ensemble of economic activities with the following characteristics: cooperation, self-management, economic feasibility and solidarity. In 2005, the Office identified 14,954 solidary enterprises in Brazil, among which 85 are located in Porto Alegre.

Among the main business located in Porto Alegre are Gerdau, Petroleo Ipiranga, Zaffari and RBS. Since 2000, General Motors (GM) is operating in Gravataí - located in the Metropolitan Region. Also in this Region, but in Triunfo, there is a Petrochemical Pole, in Alvorada Dell Computers has established a plant. In the health sector, there are two hospitals considered among the best in Latin America (Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital and Clinicas Hospital). Commerce is a very important economic activity, vith many malls (like Rua da Praia and Shopping Iguatemi). The Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre, directed to the production of shoes (around Novo Hamburgomarker) and to petrochemical industries, as well as service.

In the city is located the Electronics Technology Center (CEITEC), ocused on the development and production of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), today announced the opening of Latin America's first IC design center. To create state-of-the-art semiconductor products for high-volume markets that will be consumed in Latin America as well as exported to global markets. CEITEC S.A will accelerate the growth of Latin America's electronics industry by leveraging Brazil's regional influence, leadership and economic strength. The company will add 60 engineers to its ranks who will design RFID, digital media and wireless communication chips for its fabrication facility now ramping up for production. The total investment by the Brazilian government is almost US$ 210 million. The company is implementing a fab-lite strategy with the ability to manufacture analog/digital chips at its facility in Porto Alegre. The in-house design center with more than 100 engineers has the capablitity to create products up to 55 nm.

Its rural hinterland yields a variety of agricultural and pastoral products, including meat and hides, wool, rice, beans, cashews, avocados, wheat, grapes, and tobacco. From the forests comes lumber. The city's industries are chiefly concerned with processing these products and include meat-packing, lard refining, leather tanning, shipbuilding, and the manufacturing of textiles, metallurgic goods, electrical and communications equipment, plastics, pharmaceuticals, perfume, beer, and chemicals. There are also steel mills, an oil terminal, and a petrochemical complex. Power comes from coal mined at nearby São Jerônimo and from a hydroelectric plant at Salto. The city has many business and financial institutions and is also an educational centre.

The GDP for the city was R$ 30,116,002,000 (2006).

The per capita income for the city was R$ 20,900 (2006).

Participatory budgeting

The first full participatory budgeting process was developed in the city starting in 1989. Participatory budgeting was part of a number of innovative reform programs to overcome severe inequality in living standards amongst city residents. One third of the city's residents lived in isolated slums at the city outskirts, lacking access to public amenities (water, sanitation, health care facilities, and schools).

Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre occurs annually, starting with a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, where residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement. Porto Alegre spends about 200 million dollars per year on construction and service, this money is subject to participatory budgeting. Annual spending on fixed expenses such as debt service and pensions, is not subject to public participation. Around fifty thousand resident of Porto Alegre now take part in the participatory budgeting process (compared to 1.5 million city inhabitants), with the number of participants growing year on year since 1989. Participants are from diverse economic and political backgrounds.
The participatory budgeting cycle starts in January and assemblies across the city to facilitate maximum participation and interaction. Each February there is instruction from city specialists in technical and systemic aspects of city budgeting. In March there are plenary assemblies in each of the city's 16 districts as well as assemblies dealing with such areas as transportation, health, education, sports, and economic development.

These large meetings, with participation that can reach over 1,000, elect delegates to represent specific neighborhoods. The mayor and staff attend to respond to citizen concerns. In the following month's delegates meet weekly or biweekly in each district to review technical project criteria and district needs.

City department staff may participate according to their area of expertise. At a second regional plenary, regional delegates prioritize the district's demands and elect 42 councillors representing all districts and thematic areas to serve on the Municipal Council of the Budget. The main function of the Municipal Council of the Budget is to reconcile the demands of each district with available resources, and to propose and approve an overall municipal budget. The resulting budget is binding, though the city council can suggest, but not require changes. Only the Mayor may veto the budget, or remand it back to the Municipal Council of the Budget (this has never happened).
Downtown Porto Alegre at night.
A World Bank paper suggests that participatory budgeting has led to direct improvements in facilities in Porto Alegre. For example, sewer and water connections increased from 75% of households in 1988 to 98% in 1997. The number of schools quadrupled since 1986.

The high number of participants, after more than a decade, suggests that participatory budgeting encourages increasing citizen involvement, according to the paper. Also, Porto Alegre's health and education budget increased from 13% (1985) to almost 40% (1996), and the share of the participatory budget in the total budget increased from 17% (1992) to 21% (1999).

Alternative programs


Matriz Square and public lighting.
About 98 percent of the Porto Alegre's residents are connected to the power grid. The vast majority of the city's power comes from hydroelectric sources, at 94 percent of grid output. In Brazil, there are also a few coal-fired plants, fuel-oil fired plants and one nuclear facility. Increased utilization of natural gas and other sources is planned in order to reduce Brazil's overdependence on hydroelectric power. In 1999, a natural gas pipeline from Boliviamarker to Brazil was completed, with its terminus in Porto Alegre. Brazilian investment group Central Termoeletrica Sul (CTSul) has plans to invest US$698 million in a 650MW coal-fired power generation plant in Cachoeira do Sulmarker, located in Rio Grande do Sul.

The largest wind energy park in Brazil, which is being built east of Porto Alegre in Osóriomarker, will add 150 megawatts (MW) to the Brazilian energy matrix. The production represents 5 percent of the energy consumed in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and would be sufficient to meet two-thirds of Porto Alegre's energy demands. The forecast is that energy generation will begin at the beginning of 2007. The project is part of the Alternative Energy Sources Program (Proinfa) from state-owned Eletrobrás, which will purchase the energy produced for the next 20 years.


Porto Alegre was one of the first cities in Brazil to develop a recycling program and has been acknowledged as having the best management practices in the country. Since 1990, household waste already separated by residents has been collected in all neighbourhoods on a weekly basis. The city produces about 900 tonnes of household waste per day. Waste is sorted in recycling units, which are large sheds containing crates for the unsorted waste and benches for manual sorting. Once sorted, the waste is compressed and baled up to be sold as raw material to recycling factories. The units are managed by autonomous cooperatives with directors elected every two years. Organic waste is used to generate thermal energy and to make compost. Since 1997, all non-recyclable waste has been disposed of in landfill sites. Infiltration into the soil is prevented by the double-walled construction of a clay layer and a high-density polythene geo-membrane, the lowering of the water table and the draining off and treatment of any effluent.
Aerial view of Guaíba Lake and Porto Alegre.


The community of Belém Novo is benefiting from a municipal, citywide project to recover the Guaíba Lake and its margins. Discussions with local fishermen led to the inclusion of a pier and two storage and cleaning facilities for the fishermen to use. The group also approved the creation of a multipurpose cooperative, called "Coopeixe", to organize the fishing community. Fish is sold at markets, to restaurants and directly to consumers.


Telecentre. Is used by 10,000 citizens yearly, the goal is to close the digital divide and promote connectivity and social inclusion. Housing Cooperatives. Over 75 housing cooperatives are now operating in the city, with 11,000 housing units built in the last 14 years.

Tourism and recreation

Solar Palmeiro.
The seat of State Government, its construction begun in 1896 after a project by Affonso Hebert, but soon the plan was changed and another project was designed by Maurice Gras, which was erected from 1909 on, and completed only towards the 70's. It shows a blend of baroque and neoclassical features inspired after the french palace Petit Trianonmarker, with rich inner decorations and furniture, and a big garden behind the main building.

Central Public Market

Central Public Market is a neoclassical building opened in 1869. From 1995 to 1996 suffered a major restoration process, which modified its original structure. With over 100 shops and stores, there is great variety of options: restaurants, fruit and fish stores, and a famous ice cream parlor.

Tourism palaeontological

Although Porto Alegre is not in the geopark of Paleorrota, it has the largest number of paleontologists of Rio Grande do Sul. The city has a large number of museums, and the UFRGSmarker as a center for the study of paleontology and there can see the animals of Triassic. We can see Rhynchosaur, thecodonts, exaeretodons, Staurikosaurus, Guaibasaurus, Saturnalia tupiniquim, Sacisaurus, Unaysaurus and many others.

Farroupilha Park

It is located in the Farroupilha Neighborhood. Its 370 thousand sq. meters of extension hosts 45 copper and marble monuments, a luminous fountain and the "O Expedicionário" (The Expeditionary One) monument, representing a double Triumph Arch with relief sculptures which are a homage to Brazilian soldiers who fought in Italy during the World War II. It also hosts a mini-zoo, an amusement park for children, a solar retreat, a market, football and bowling fields, cycleways, athletic sports track, gymnastics equipment, and an auditorium for 4,500 people.

Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho Park

Located at Cidade Baixa District, it occupies 300 thousand sq. meters, hosting in its area a replica of a traditional gaucho farm, the Harmonia Ranch, designed to maintain and practice the regional culture. It also has an aero modelling track, a nautical modelling tank, playground, football and bowling fields, volleyball courts, and over 100 barbecue grills available in different areas of the park.

Botanical Gardens

With an area of approximately 43 hectares, the Porto Alegre Botanical Gardensmarker are in the neighborhood named after it, between Cristiano Fischer Avenue and Salvador França Avenue. It harbours scientific collections with over two thousand issues, 725 vegetal species, spread over the different open areas of the park. It also has a Germplasm Bank, a Seed Bank and a Sapling Terrarium, in addition to developing environmental educational activities. The Natural Sciences Museum is headquartered at the Gardens and preserves flora and fauna species from the State Natural Heritage.

Saint Hilaire Park

Located on RS-040 highway, at about km 02, this park is 17 km (10 mi) away from Downtown Porto Alegre. It occupies 11.8 km² (4.5 mi²), 240 hectares of which are designed for leisure and 940 hectares reserved for permanent conservation. Its name is a homage to scientist Augustin François César Prouvençal de Saint-Hilaire, an internationally renowned French traveller and naturalist who lived in Brazil for many years. The park infrastructure has football fields, bowling fields, volleyball courts and indoor football fields, aero modelling and skating tracks, a playground and approximately 100 barbecue grills.

Lami Biological Reserve

The city has a Biological Reserve 170 hectares long within its territorial limits. Lami Biological Reserve shelters a meteorological station and a terrarium of native saplings. The diverse atmospheres enable growing over 300 vegetal species and a higher number of animal species; the swamps and reeds are home to many aquatic livings.

Rural Area

The rural area is also a chief attraction in this place and turns Porto Alegre into an ideal holiday destination, especially in the south area. A opportunity to forget about the stress of the bustling city life at least for some days and get back to nature, to enjoy the flavours, smells, sounds and colours with the five senses. Picking fruits to eat them later, wandering along the countryside or visiting the conservation areas are some of the activities that can be enjoyed in these rural routes.

Usina do Gasômetro

This is an old powerplant built in 1928 which was refurnished recently and now hosts movie theaters and art expositions. During the sunset, lots of people get together in front of the Usina to watch the sun diving into Rio Guaíba (Guaíba Lake).


Porto Alegre has a beautiful sunset over its main river, Guaíba Lake. Best enjoyed on the western side at places like Gasômetro and Ipanema. Beware that this event lasts about five minutes only.

Moinhos de Vento Park

Known by locals as Parcão, this is a pleasant park with a neat lake and jogging runways.

Santuário Mãe de Deus

A church almost unknown by most porto-alegrenses. It is placed in an great location, with nice views of Porto Alegre and nearby cities landscapes. Built in 1992, it has a modern architecture and engineering, designed to support the strong winds of the location.


Porto Alegre is well known in Brazil for its diverse nightlife. The city's clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants provide entertainment for a wide range of tastes and budgets, going from the cheap, traditional beer-'n-bite in a corner bar to all-night raves, and classy nightclubs. The nightlife here is similar to that of New York City, but on a micro-scale. In the "SoHo" area of Porto Alegre, there is a block full of great bars, restaurants and clubs.

Bars, some with live music and most with a predominantly young and trendy clientele, are spread out along, and just off, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University. Favourites change constantly, but the Doce Vicio, and, for dancing, the Ocidente, are usually lively. Be warned, though, that things don't get going until around llpm. Throughout the year, Porto Alegre's numerous Centros de Tradição Gaúcha organize traditional meals, music and dance performances. Tourist offices have only limited information on the events, but full details are available from the Movimento Tradicionalista Gaúcho.
Opinião bar.
Porto Alegre boasts a good popular music scene and a considerable theatrical tradition. Foreign performers of all kinds usually include Porto Alegre on any Brazilian or wider South American tour. The Sala Jazz Tom Jobim, features the city's best jazz, or there are live afternoon jazz sessions at the Café Concerto within the Casa de Cultura), which also has a good arthouse cinema. There are three more screens at the Espaço Unibanco (Unibanco Cultural Space), another art house cinema. Finally, the Centro Cultural Usina do Gasômetro, a converted 1920s power station on the banks of the river just west of the centre, is well worth a visit; there's always something going on in its cinema, theatre and galleries, and it also has a cafe and a good bookshop.
In Cidade Baixa neighborhood, the historical street João Alfredo has many excellent options. Discos include Dado Bier, Manara, and Venezza. Manara has different environments and a variety of patrons on different floors, the Sundays well popular. Live music to dance 'coladinho' and very forró university sound of. PIPE has live music every day, jazz, Brazilian popular music and blues. The corner between Gal Lima e Silva Street and República Street is the center of the neighborhood's nightlife. In the weekends, it's streets gets crowded of people drinking and having a good time. Cavanhas, Pingüim, Copão, Cotiporã, Panorama (most cheap beer) are some of the bars where people can drink beer and grab some french fries. To dance MPB (Brazilian popular music), historical street João Alfredo has many excellent options. Small bars on "Republica" street are great.

In Calçada da Fama, the Padre Chagas Street is full of more fashionable bars, like Lilliput and Dado Pub. Goethe Avenue has a concentration of bars (Tri Bar, Arsenal, Dolphin's), great hotdog called "Bagémarker Dog" and dance clubs, like Manara. Rua Fernando Gomes has a nice concentration of pubs, cafes, bars. Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University has Bars with live music and most with a predominantly young and trendy clientele. Moinhos de Vento is one of the richiest neighborhoods in the city. Its bars and clubs are more likely to be fashionable. Expect the bars to be pricey. Along Padre Chagas Street people can find typical Irishmarker pubs and cafes.

A fictionalized view of the Porto Alegre nightlife could be seen in the Érico Verissimo's novel Noite.


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. There are also international schools, such as the Pan American School of Porto Alegre.

Educational institutions

Educational system

It is the Brazilian capital with the highest level of education, 20% of family leaders have an university degree. There are two important universities in Porto Alegre, such as Federal University of Rio Grande do Sulmarker (UFRGSmarker) and the Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). UFRGSmarker is among the three main universities of the country for post-graduation work. In the Metropolitan Region of the city, there are two other important universities, such as ULBRA and UNISINOS, and many university centers.



Mário Quintana House of Culture.
Old General Military Command of the South.
Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art – MARGS

With an eclectic style, the building was designed by German architect Theo Wiederspahn. Originally it was the headquarters of the Fiscal Surveillance Agency of the Federal Revenue Office. Nowadays, it hosts the largest public collection of art works in Rio Grande do Sul.

Júlio de Castilhos Museum

Created in 1903, being the oldest museum in the state. Its collection comprises thousands of pieces related to the local history, from Indian relics to objects and iconography about the War of Tatters and the War of the Triple Alliance, including an important section showing fine sculptures from the Jesuitic Reductions.

Joaquim José Felizardo Museum

An important museum with a large collection of archaeological artifacts and fotographies of Porto Alegre's old times. Its historical building, dating from 1845-55, is one of the few intact relics of colonial architecture inside the modern urban environment.

Rio Grande do Sul Memorial

Showing a huge collection of documents, maps, objects, prints and other items related to the state's history. Its building, designed by Theodor Wiederspahn, is one of the finest examples of eclectic architecture in the city.

Mário Quintana House of CultureThis House of Culture is located in the place where the Majestic Hotel used to work. One of the country's most important poets among the group of contemporary ones spent most of his life here. Hence, this house became a symbolic building in Porto Alegre. Nowadays, this house is one of the city's major attractions not only because of its eclectic architecture, but also it offers cinemas, exhibition halls, theatre, rehearsal room for dancing and libraries.


The Porto Alegre Carnival began in the 18th century with the entrudo, a prank brought over by the Portuguese from the Azores, whereby people threw flour, water, and "limão de cheiro" missiles at each other. At the end of the 19th century, two important Carnival associations were born. Rivalry between the two long dominated the city's Carnival. The corso, a parade of floats down Porto Alegre's streets, was a celebration enjoyed by the more well-to-do of the city's inhabitants.

One of the most important Carnival personalities is King Momo. At the beginning of Carnival, usually in February, he receives the keys to the city from the Mayor of Porto Alegre, symbolically governing the Carnival during the four days of revelry. Vincente Rao was the most popular King Momo.


One of the most famous foods of Brazil, churrasco (slow-grilled and -roasted meat), originated in Rio Grande do Sul. But cuisine is eclectic here in cowboy country, and rice and beans sit on southern tables beside Italian and Germanmarker dishes, thanks to the South's many European immigrants. Colonial coffee is the elaborate 5 PM tea, with breads, pies, and German kuchen, popular among the Germans in the South.

The traditional beverage is the "erva mate" (a kind of tea). The Chalet of the XV de Novembro Plaza is located along the Glênio Peres Square, it is one of the most traditional bar-draught beer-restaurants in the city, where the last "lambe-lambe" photographs of the region work. "Lambe-lambes" are photographers who develop pictures outdoor using the oldest method known. In the Bavarian style, with art nouveau traits, the centenary Chalet was built up on a demountable steel structure, keeping its original chandeliers and tiles even nowadays.


A wide range of cultural events are held in Porto Alegre. In addition to the traditional celebrations, a wide variety of activities are organized at Porto Alegre during the different seasons.

  • World Social Forum: At several occasions (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005) the World Social Forum has been hosted in Porto Alegre. This event gathered more than 100,000 people from more than 100 countries each year. The main aim of these meetings is to discuss and deal with social issues.
  • Porto Verão Alegre: during the summer, for example, the "Porto Verão Alegre" or (Porto Summer Alegre) takes place in this city. This celebration consists of a number of performances and exhibitions. In 2005 about seventy plays could be enjoyed.
  • Farroupilha Week: this cultural celebration takes place in mid September with parades, food and musical exhibitions. The "Acampamento Farroupilhamarker" takes place in Harmonia Park, where thousands of people set up their tents and eat typical food to commemorate the Farroupilha Revolution.
  • Bookfair: Held each November at Alfândega Square. In October Porto Alegre holds the greatest Book Fair in American continent, an event that has been taking place since 1955. Each year about 2,000,000 people attend this fair.
  • Handicraft Fair: the "Brique da Redenção" is a handicraft fair where a wide variety of antiques can be found. Each Sunday this fair takes place in the well known Farroupilha Park or "Redenção" Park. Crafty pieces and antiques are exhibited in shows. Clowns and acrobats attend this fair as well.
  • Worldwide Pinhole Photography: this is an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. The event is held each year on the last Sunday in April.
  • Mercosur Biennial Exhibition: is held in Porto Alegre every two years between October and December. This is an important art and cultural event that attracts a large number of people as well.


International Airport

Salgado Filho International Airportmarker serves flights operated by major Brazilian airlines to many areas in Brazil and other South American countries. Salgado Filho International Airport also has an air cargo terminal, built in 1974, with 9,500 thousand square meters of area and capacity to handle 1,500 tons of export cargo and 900 tons of imports each month. The average daily movement (arrivals and departures) is 174 aircraft, flying scheduled routes connecting Porto Alegre directly or indirectly to all the country's other major cities, as well as smaller cities in the interior of the states of the South Region and São Paulomarker. There are also international flights with direct connections to cities of the Southern Cone.
With 37.6 thousand square meters of constructed area and four levels, the passenger terminal at Porto Alegre International Airport can receive 28 large airplanes simultaneously. The terminal has 32 check-in counters, ten boarding bridges, nine elevators and ten escalators. It has a totally automated aircraft movement control center and the main spaces are air conditioned. The apron, surfaced with prestressed concrete, can serve jumbo jets like the Boeing 747-400. The garage structure has eight levels, 44 thousand square meters and 1,440 parking spaces. Another terminal, with 15 thousand square meters and capacity for 1.5 million passengers a year, serves general, executive and third-tier aviation (conventional piston-engine and turboprop planes).

The Aeroshopping area, a center for commerce and leisure, operates 24 hours a day with shops, services, a food court, along with a triplex cinema, the first to be established at a Brazilian airport. The main airlines that operate in Salgado Filho International Airport are: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Azul, Gol, Ocean Air, TAM and Varig.


The Port of Porto Alegre is situated in the Eastern margin of Guaíba Lake. The port lying on the eastern bank of the Guaíba lake at the point where its waters empty into the huge Lagoa dos Patos is one of Brazilmarker's largest port. Located near the main access roads to Porto Alegre, is 4 km (2.4 mi) away from the Salgado Filho International Airportmarker and has access to the railway station, through the docks of Mauá and Navegantes. Its geographical position enables a permanent traffic between Porto Alegre and Buenos Airesmarker, transporting steel-industry products and mainly agricultural produce.


The metro is operated jointly by the federal government, the state government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city of Porto Alegre through the company Trensurb (Company of Urban Trains of Porto Alegre) and has 17 stations, totaling of extension, carrying about 130,000 users a day. The Line 1 of the subway built in Porto Alegre was started in 1980, linking the center of Porto Alegre to cities to the north of the metropolitan area, as Canoasmarker, Esteio, Sapucaia do Sulmarker, São Leopoldo and Novo Hamburgomarker. The choice of path was made to relieve the heavy traffic of highway BR-116, only option before the construction of this line, which already had serious problems with the transit at the time. The Line 1 was inaugurated on March 2, 1985 between the Central Public Market and Sapucaia do Sul. In December 1997 was extended to Unisinos. An extension of 2.4 miles São Leopoldomarker-Museum was added in November 2000, after two months of trial service.
The Second Urban Transport (Porto Alegre) Project the construction of a surface suburban rail mass transit system with about 25 electric unit trains between the central business area of the city of Porto Alegre and the town of Sapucaia, to the north. The system will have 14 stations spaced approximately every , and will have a capacity of 48,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The benefits of the project will mainly accrue to the urban poor, many of whom live on the periphery of the metropolitan area, providing them with more rapid access to employment centers and improving the urban environment in which they live. The project will save on vehicle operating costs including fuel, reduce travel time, and reduce air and noise pollution by achieving a more efficient modal distribution of traffic and use of all transport facilities in the area of influence of the railway. It will contribute to the development of selected employment growth poles along the north-south corridor. The project involves the establishment of the company, TRENSURB, which was recently created to own and operate the system on a commercial basis without government operating subsidies.


There are only two highways in the city, both running close to the northern and northwestern border of the city. This is so because there are no major destinations southeast or south of Porto Alegre (considering the landmass east of Lagoa dos Patos). One of them is BR-290, which runs east-west across the state, linking the northeast coast of the state to the Uruguaymarker-Argentinamarker-Brazilmarker border. It runs close to the northern border of the municipality. The other one is BR-116, which runs northeast-south across the state, linking Porto Alegre to several satellite cities and other Brazilian capitals to the north, and Uruguaymarker to the south. Within the municipality, it only touches the northwest side of the city, close to the end of Rio Gravataí (Gravataí River). The connection between downtown Porto Alegre and the aforementioned highways is made by Avenida Presidente Castelo Branco (President Castelo Branco Avenue), which is a rather short - - avenue also bordering the northwest side of the city.

Since 1999, the largest road work ever, the Terceira Perimetral (Third Perimetral) has been under construction throughout the city. The Terceira Perimetral is 12 km (7.4 mi) long, connecting both north and south regions of the city.

Another way to get to Porto Alegre from the north is using BR-101 to Osório. BR-101 connects Curitibamarker, Florianópolismarker and Osóriomarker, and is currently being upgraded to highway standards. Porto Alegre's Bus station is located downtown, and is served by several national and international lines (UNESUL, TTL, EGA, PLUMA, FLECHABUS, CHILEBUS). It is also connected to a Trensurb station (Porto Alegre Metro) and several municipal bus lines. Northbound passengers can rely on good bus connections throughout Brazil. However, an express bus might be recommended if traveling to Uruguaymarker or Argentinamarker in order to avoid several stops while enroute.


This city has a nice transportation system, especially the autobuses. One of the bus companies is named Carris, what is considered the best autobus company in Brazil. The city has also mini-buses from and to all the main neighborhoods in the city, very comfortable and just a few more boxes than the regular bus, and in the mini-buses people will be always seated as it's forbidden to transport passengers standing. Linha Turística (Tourist Line) is a bus that leaves from Usina do Gasômetro tourist terminal around six times per day. During 90 minutes, it traverses the various districts of Porto Alegre. For a modest price of R$ 5. The "lotação" is an alternative system, with fewer lines, smaller cars (up to 20 people), where one can hop on and off at any point (i.e. outside designated stops) of the trip. The fare is usually more expensive. Exclusive bus lanes in the median of seven radial corridors that converge on the city center are used by both urban and regional lines. The bus fleet totals 1,600, with 150 minibuses. About 325 million people use the system annually.

Those lines have no prefix. It is quite common to switch buses at downtown but, considering there is a myriad of lines there, it can be challenging to find the right terminal to hop on the next bus. Transversal lines prefix "T" (T1, T2, ..., T11), connect different neighborhood without going through the downtown area, effectively eliminating the need of changing buses for the most common trips. Circular lines prefix "C" (C1, C2, C3), as the name indicates, run in a circular manner, usually connecting parts of the downtown area to the nearest neighborhoods. Mayor José Fogaça renewed his agreement with EMBARQ and the Center for Sustainable Transport Brazil (CTS-Brasil) to improve accessibility and mobility in downtown Porto Alegre. The agreement, signed on March 11, includes a new partnership with the Andean Development Corporation, a Latin American multilateral financial institution that is expected to provide $1 million in non-reimbursable technical assistance this year to help Porto Alegre complete the preparation phase of the "Portais da Cidade" bus rapid transit project, a groundbreaking transport system designed to reduce pollution and congestion downtown. The system will include a southern extension to accommodate activities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. CAF's technical assistance will be administered through CTS-Brasil, which has been working to expand sustainable transport in Porto Alegre since 2005.


There are plenty of taxis. They can be pricey, if compared to other towns, but they are also an easier, safer and more dependable option than buses in some cases. To ride a cab, one can walk to the nearest "taxi stop" (usually in crowded areas or points of interest), wave for an empty passing cab or call a tele-táxi service. Tele-táxi may charge extra for this service.

The price of the fare is determined by a machine called taxímetro, usually in front of the passenger seat. There is always a minimum price, which is shown when the machine is reset for the trip. Next to the value, there is a "flag" indicator that shows the level of price being paid, always according to the service. Usually there is a table inside of the cab explaining each level of service. It is recommended to check if the correct level is being charged in the beginning of the trip.


Football is a passion of the people from Porto Alegre. There is a big rivalry between two football clubs, Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, founded in 1903. And Sport Club Internacional, founded in 1909. The regional championship is usually won by one of these teams. The confrontation between Grêmio and Internacional is known as Gre-Nal. Both teams already won the main championships possible to South American clubs: the Copa Libertadores and the Club World Championship.

Porto Alegre is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation. Despite not having CBF and FIFAmarker's official confirmation, Globo Esporte site believes that five cities are practically confirmed as host cities: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Brasília. For the 2014 World Cup Extraordinary Secretary, José Fortunati, "the change increases the expectation. It is evident that we would like to know the result of the 5 chosen cities as soon as possible.

However, we will use the extra time to have a broad discussion together with the population about the importance this sport event will have for future of the city," he enhanced, saying that the differentials of the gaúcha candidateship will be emphasized. Lectures and exhibitions will be promoted in institutions, universities and association of the civil society from the month of April on." It will be a great opportunity to show the work we have developed until the moment and to project the development legacy that the World Cup will bring to Porto Alegre" emphasized Fortunati.
Beira-Rio Stadium in 2006.
The modernization process of Beira-Rio Stadiummarker – Giant Forever (Gigante Para Sempre) – advances with the completion of each planned step. On Feb. 19th , the club received from Planning Secretary Márcio Bins Ely, the City Declaration of the urban conditions of land occupation regarding the area of the old Eucaliptos Stadium. "This document permits a thorough evaluation of the area's worth", stated president Vitorio Piffero on the club's site.

Authorized by the Consulting, Deliberative, and Fiscal Councils, Internacional will sell the area and use the money exclusively for the enhancement and renovation of the Beira-Rio Complex as part of the modernization project "Gigante Para Sempre", also having in view the 2014 World Cup. The Complementary Law which alters the urban regimen in the old Eucaliptos Stadium area was approved last December by the City Chamber of Representatives and sanctioned by Mayor José Fogaça on Jan. 8th , 2009.

The DM (City Declaration) is the first step for requiring approval and licensing of building or activity projects with Porto Alegre"s City Hall, informing the urban regimen and the legal conditionings of the required area. Now, being able to make the correct evaluation of the area, Sport Club Internacional can define the date for launching the sales edict and consequently get the guarantee of resources to be invested in Beira-Rio"s renovation.


Neighborhoods of Porto Alegre are geographical divisions of the city. There is no devolution of administrative powers to neighborhoods, although there are several neighborhoods associations devoted to improve their own standards of living. Porto Alegre has nowadays 78 official distinguished neighborhoods and 4 territories.

Sister cities

Porto Alegre's sister cities are:

See also


External links

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