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São Paulo ( ; , or, commonly, in English) is the largest city in Brazilmarker and the world's 7th largest metropolitan area. The city is the capital of the state of São Paulomarker, the most populous Brazilian state. It is also the richest city in Brazil. The name of the city honors Saint Paul. São Paulo exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo is considered an Alpha global city.

The city has many renowned landmarks, such as the Museu Paulista do Ipiranga, the gothic Metropolitan Sé Cathedral, the São Paulo Museum of Artmarker (MASP), the Bandeirantes monument and Niemeyer's Ibirapuera complex Bienal, planetarium, and museums; and more recently the Estaiada bridgemarker in the South Side. Paulista Avenuemarker, in Midtown is the most important financial center in the country and South America.

The city is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, or BOVESPA, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges. São Paulo has been home to several of the tallest buildings in Brazil, including the Mirante do Vale Building and Italy Buildingmarker.

With an estimated population of 11,037,593 residents within an area of , São Paulo is the most populous city in the Southern hemispheremarker.

The city also lies at the center of the heavily urbanized São Paulo metropolitan area, with an estimated 19,889,559 people in 2009 over , is the largest metropolitan area in the nation. Depending on which definition is used, the São Paulo metropolitan area is ranked as either the most populous or second most populous in the Americas.

People from the city of São Paulo are known as paulistanos, while paulistas designates anyone from the whole of São Paulo state, including the paulistanos. The city's Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non ducor, duco, which translates as "I am not led, I lead."

A famous nickname for the city is "Sampa." São Paulo is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, architecture, gastronomy, and multitude of skyscrapers. The São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airportmarker operates many domestic and international flights.


Tibirissa' Chief and the Jesuit missionaries Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta founded the village of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga on January 25, 1554. The clergymen established a mission at the Colégio de São Paulo de Piratiningamarker aimed at converting the Tupi-Guarani indigenous Brazilians to the Catholic faith, as well as make it easier for the Portuguese crown to rule them. Anchieta is said to have killed a native, which brings a degree of protest from Indian rights groups against his canonization by the Vatican. The Jesuits were later also often at odds with the Portuguese authorities, mainly the Marquis De Pombal, who eventually expelled them from Brazil for protecting converted natives in their missions. Located just beyond the Serra do Mar cliffs, above the port city of Santosmarker, and close to the Tietê River, the new settlement became the natural entrance from the South East coast to the vast and fertile high plateau to the West that would eventually become the richest Brazilian state.

São Paulo officially became a city in 1711. In the 19th century, it experienced a flourishing economic prosperity, brought about through coffee exports, which were shipped abroad from the port of the neighboring city of Santos. After the abolition of slavery in 1888, waves of immigrants from Portugalmarker, Italymarker, Spainmarker and other European countries emigrated to São Paulo in order to "bleach the race," as Luso-Brazilian authorities feared Brazil's black population would grow far more than the other society's groups. Many of them were granted lands as incentives to immigrate and some worked in an indentured fashion at the enormous coffee plantations established in the State. Newcomers and their descendants ended up "making the America," as they said in Italian and Portuguese and some of Brazil's greatest entrepreneurs have Italian, Portuguese, and German last names: Mattarazzo, Diniz, and Mueller.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the coffee cycle had already plummeted due to, among other factors, a sharp decline in international coffee prices. With the New York Stock Exchangemarker 1929 crash, coffee barons started losing their influence and status. Many committed suicide and the Paulistan economy looked for other alternatives such as sugar cane planting and the production of alcohol. With the difficulties brought about by World War II, when industrialized items were more difficult to reach Brazil, and following the national incipient trend of import-substitution, São Paulo began industrializing itself for domestic consumption. Brazil already showed a pattern of huge importation of most fashionable and industry-manufactured products from Europe, which was maintained well into the late twentieth century, and created huge trade deficits despite the equally huge and lucrative coffee and sugar exports.

Local entrepreneurs then started investing in the industrial development of São Paulo, attracting new contingents of immigrants to the city, mainly Italians. In addition to Europeans, Japanese and Syrian and Lebanese immigrants arrived in large numbers in the first half of the 20th century. Along the 20th century, the booming economy of the city also attracted huge waves of migrants from the poorest regions in Brazil, such as the Northeast. São Paulo maintained a high economic growth rate through the 1920s, driven by interrelated streams of immigration, rapid industrialization, and investment. In the early 1920s the Sampaio Moreira Building reached an unprecedented 14 stories, and by the end of the decade the Martinelli Building attained more than twice that height. Growing fleets of automobiles and diesel buses allowed hordes of service workers to commute from their outlying homes to jobs in the city center.
However, due to competition with many other Brazilian cities, which sometimes offer tax advantages for companies to locate manufacturing plants there, São Paulo's main economic activities have gradually left its industrial profile in favour of the services industry in the late 20th century. The city is home to a large number of local and international banking offices, law firms, multinational companies and consumer services. Although a modern face had emerged in São Paulo's better areas by the 1930s, larger portions were basically unchanged. São Paulo had lacked any city plan before 1889, and no zoning law was passed until 1972. Indeed, well into the 20th century much of the city retained a colonial aspect, with narrow unpaved streets, shabby buildings, and a few old churches of Jesuit and Franciscan styles.

Between 1920 and 1940 the population more than doubled, reaching 1.3 million. Although Rio de Janeiromarker had itself grown spectacularly during this period, São Paulo trailed it by only 460,000 inhabitants and would leapfrog ahead within two decades. During 1939–45 the engineer-mayor Francisco Prestes Maia built the multilane Avenida 9 de Julho and widened numerous other streets despite resistance from displaced residents. By 1947 the new star of São Paulo's skyline was the São Paulo State Bank building, and, starting with the Mário de Andrade Municipal Library, the city's architecture moved beyond the short period of Art Deco design. By 1950 São Paulo had grown to a metropolis of 2.2 million compared to Rio's 2.4 million, but a decade later São Paulo led with 3.7 million to Rio's 3.3 million, thus solidifying its reputation as one of the world's most dynamic urban centres. Famed architect Oscar Niemeyer was lured from Rio to design the sinuous curves of the Copan Building, and the Itália Building became its towering neighbour. The highly imaginative São Paulo Art Museum (begun in 1956 and completed in 1968) was built over the juncture of Avenida 9 de Julho and eight-lane Avenida Paulistamarker.
Anhangabaú Valley in 1920.
In the 1960s São Paulo came to include almost half of the population of the State of São Paulomarker (Brazil's most populous state) and to account for about one-third of the country's total industrial employment. Because automobiles were becoming a São Paulo family staple, expressways were built along the canalized Tietê and Pinheiros rivers in 1967, and the Bandeirantes expressway provided access to the city center. Highway expansion continues to be an ongoing process because the roads running alongside the rivers are among the heaviest used in the country. However, no amount of highway construction and street widening could more than briefly alleviate the intolerable traffic congestion. Construction of a subway system was begun in the late 1960s in hopes of improving the situation, and new subway lines continue to be expanded and added.

Despite its many woes, São Paulo remains a business hub of Latin America. Having prospered first with the coffee industry, and later with industrialization, in the early 21st century it expanded into the tertiary, or services sector. Its huge market (over 20 million people in greater São Paulo) is a magnet for multinational corporations. Thanks to events such as the Feira Bienal Internacional de Arte, and its reputation for hosting cutting-edge music concerts, it has become something of a cultural center as well. Economic growth and exportation of goods has lifted employment and wages. The murder rate has dropped by almost a quarter since its peak.

The historic center profited with the return of the city's government and the arrival of private universities, although businesses continue to move out to new boom neighborhoods such as Itaim and Berrini. São Paulo also claims to attract more visitors (mostly, but no longer exclusively, on business) than Rio de Janeiromarker, testimony of the intense rivalry between the two metropolises.


Physical setting

São Paulo is located in Southeastern Brazil, in southeastern São Paulo State, approximately halfway between Curitibamarker the Capital of Paraná State, previously part of São Paulo State and Rio de Janeiromarker, formerly capital of Brazil and now capital of the State which bears the same. The city is located on a plateau that is part of the Serra do Mar (Portuguese for "Sea Range"), itself a component of the vast region known as the Brazilian Highlands, with an average elevation of around above sea level, though at a distance of only about from the Atlantic Oceanmarker. This distance is covered by two highways, the Anchieta and the Imigrantes, (see "Transportation" section below) that roll down the range, leading to the port city of Santosmarker and the beach resort of Guarujámarker. Rolling terrain prevails within the urbanized areas of São Paulo except in the North of the city, where the Serra da Cantareira Range boasts higher elevations and a sizable remnant of the Atlantic Rain Forest. The entire region is very stable tectonically, and no significant seismic activity has ever been recorded.

The Tietê River, and its tributary, the Pinheiros Rivermarker were once important sources of fresh water and leisure for São Paulo, only to become grossly polluted by raw sewage and industrial effluents in the latter half of the 20th century. However, a substantial clean-up program for both rivers is underway, financed through a partnership between local government and international development banks such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Neither river is navigable in the stretch that flows through the city, although water transportation becomes increasingly important on the river Tietê further downstream (towards South, near river Paranámarker), as the river is part of the River Platemarker basin.

There are no large natural lakes in the region, but the Billings and Guarapiranga reservoirs in the southern outskirts of the city are used for power generation, water storage, and leisure activities, such as sailing. The original flora consisted mainly of a great variety of broadleaf evergreens. Today, non-native species are common, as the mild climate and abundant rainfall permit a multitude of tropical, subtropical and temperate plants to be cultivated, with eucalyptus being especially ubiquitous.


São Paulo has a humid subtropical climate, (Cfa) according to the Köppen classification. Temperatures seldom reach during summer, while frost is rare during winter due to it being an urban heat island. All-time record temperatures are on November 15, 1985 and on August 2, 1955 (both at the Mirante de Santanamarker National Weather Station, in the north region). In the mountains around the city (Horto Florestal), was recorded also in August 2, 1955 (unofficially). The Tropic of Capricornmarker, at about 23°27' S, passes through São Paulo and roughly marks the boundary between the tropical and temperate areas of South America. Because of its elevation, however, São Paulo enjoys a distinctly temperate climate.

Rainfall is abundant, amounting to an annual average of . It is especially common in the warmer months, and somewhat scant between June and August. Neither São Paulo nor the nearby coast has ever been hit by a tropical cyclone, and tornadic activity is uncommon. Snow flurries were reported officially on just one occasion, on June 25, 1918. During late winter, especially August, the city is subject to the phenomenon known as "veranico" (Little summer), which consists of a bout of unusually hot and dry weather, sometimes reaching temperatures as high as . On the other hand, relatively cool days during summer are also fairly common. On such occasions daily high temperatures may not surpass , accompanied by lows around or even below . During the summer, the rainfall's frequency and intensity in the city is pretty high. More than 80% of the total rain registered in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region occurs between the months of October and March. The rainfall indexes registered in the winter months are low.

Law and government

São Paulo's most recent mayors were:

Mayor Entry in Left Office in Political Party
Gilberto Kassab 2006 - Democratas
José Serra 2005 2006 PSDB
Marta Suplicy 2001 2004 PT
Celso Pitta 1997 2000 PPB, later PTN
Paulo Maluf 1993 1996 PPB
Luiza Erundina 1989 1992 PT
Jânio Quadros 1986 1988 PTB
Mário Covas 1983 1985 PMDB

Metropolitan region

The nonspecific term "Grande São Paulo" ("Greater São Paulo") denotes any of São Paulo's metropolitan area definitions. The legally defined Região Metropolitana de São Paulo consists of 39 municipalities in total, and a population of more than 19 million inhabitants (as of 2005, according to IBGE).

Because São Paulo is sprawling like Los Angelesmarker, it has another definition for its metropolitan area. Analogous to the US's CSA (Combined Statistical Area) type definition of metropolitan area, it is the third largest city in the world with 27 million inhabitants (Complexo Metropolitano Expandido), behind Tokyomarker and Jakartamarker, which includes 2 contiguous legally defined metropolitan regions, and 3 microregions.


The city of São Paulo is divided into 92 neighborhoods and 31 subprefectures (subprefeituras in Portuguese). Each subprefecture is divided into several districts (in most cases, two or three). The subprefectures with the largest number of districts are the boroughs of Sé, in the historical downtown, Butantãmarker, the location of the University of São Paulo, Lapa, Penha and Mooca, all having eleven districts. Together with the administrative division, there is also a geographic radial division established in 2007 by the mayor Gilberto Kassab.

The city is divided in ten regions (historical downtown, extended downtown, north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest), each one identified with a distinct color in the buses and in the street plaques. These divisions have no relationship with the subprefectures and districts, and, in some cases, the same district may be in two or more geographic regions. The district where the headquarters of the subprefecture is located receives the same name of the subprefecture, with exception of M'Boi Mirim.


São Paulo is the most ethnically diverse city in Brazilmarker. After the end of the African slave traffic in the country (1850), São Paulo started to replace the African manpower with immigrants in the coffee plantations. The pioneer in this new project was the senator Nicolau Vergueiro, who brought German, Swiss and Portuguese people to work in his own properties. The next waves of immigrants, Italians and Portuguese from the mid-1800s until the turn of the century were far more adept and in demand for coffee cultivation and became over time the largest immigrant communities in the State of São Paulomarker.

After the abolition of slavery (1888), São Paulo received increasingly large numbers of immigrants, most of them coming from Italymarker, followed by Portugal and Spain. In 1897, Italians were over half of the city's population. Portuguese, Spaniards, Germans, Japanese, Jews and Christian Lebanese and Syrians also came in significant numbers. From 1908 to 1941, many Japanese immigrants arrived. In the 1960s, Chinese and Koreans started arriving. In the mid-20th century, many people from the poor Northeastern Brazil started to migrate to São Paulo. Nowadays, there is a growing community from other Latin American countries in the city.

As in all of Brazil, people of different ethnicities mix with each other, producing a multi-ethnic society. Today, people of 100 different ethnicities make São Paulo their home. The main groups, considering all the metropolitan area, are:
  • 6 million Italians (including descendants).
  • 3 million Portuguese (including descendants).
  • 3 million Africans (including descendants).
  • 1 million Arabs (including descendants).
  • 400,000 Germans (including descendants).
  • 326,000 Japanese (including descendants).
  • 120,000 Chinese (including descendants).
  • 70,000 Jew (including descendants).
  • 60,000 Bolivians (only the immigrants).
  • 50,000 Greeks (including descendants).
  • 50,000 Koreans (including descendants).

Ethnically, São Paulo (city, not the metropolitan area) is made up of:
Ethnic groups Number
White 7,000,000
Pardo (brown) 2,600,000
Black 527,000
Asian 456,000
Amerindian 18,000


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 68.11% 7,107,261
Protestant 15.94% 1,663,131
No religion 8.97% 936,474
Kardecist 2.75% 286,600
Buddhist 0.65% 67,591
Umbanda and Candomblé 0.46% 48,400
Jewish 0.36% 37,500
Source: IBGE 2000.

Population growth

Changing demographics of the city of São Paulo

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bar:1950 from:0 till: 2198096
bar:1960 from:0 till: 3781446
bar:1970 from:0 till: 5924615
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bar:2007 from:0 till: 11105534

bar:1872 at: 31385 fontsize:S text: 31.385 shift:(-8,5)
bar:1890 at: 64934 fontsize:S text: 64.934 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1900 at: 239820 fontsize:S text: 239.820 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1920 at: 579033 fontsize:S text: 579.033 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1940 at: 1326261 fontsize:S text: 1.326.261 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1950 at: 2198096 fontsize:S text: 2.199.096 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1960 at: 3781446 fontsize:S text: 3.781.446 shift:(-10,5)
bar:1970 at: 5924615 fontsize:S text: 5.924.615 shift:(-10,5)
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bar:2007 at: 10886534 fontsize:S text: 10.886.534 shift:(-10,5)

fontsize:S pos:(20,20)

Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.


As in all Brazil, the language spoken by the vast majority of the population is Portuguese. Due to the large influx of Italian immigrants, the Portuguese spoken in the city reflects a significant influence from the languages of the Italian peninsula, particularly from Neapolitan and Venetian.

The Italian dialects mixed with the countryside Caipira accent of São Paulo; some linguists maintain that the São Paulo dialect of Portuguese was born in Moocamarker, a neighborhood settled in the early 20th century mainly by people from Naplesmarker, Southern Italy.

Other languages spoken in the city are mainly among the Asian community: Liberdademarker neighborhood is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Although today most Japanese Brazilians can speak only Portuguese, some of them are still fluent in Japanese. Some people of Chinese and Korean descent are still able to speak their ancestral languages. However, most of the Brazilian-born generations only speak Portuguese.

English and Spanish are taught as foreign languages in most schools, although only a small percentage of residents exhibit a high degree of fluency in either language.



São Paulo is the 10th richest city in the world, and is expected to be the 6th richest in 2025. According to data of IBGE, its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 was R$ 282,852,338,000, equivalent to approximately 12.26% of the Brazilian GDP and 36% of all production of goods and services of the State of São Paulo.

The biggest financial center in Brazilmarker and one of the biggest financial centers in the world, São Paulo's economy is going through a deep transformation. Once a city with a strong industrial character, São Paulo's economy has become increasingly based on the tertiary sector, focusing on services and businesses for the country. The city is also unique among Brazilian cities for its large number of foreign corporations. Many analysts point to São Paulo as an important global city, even though this assignment can be criticized considering its serious problems of social exclusion and spacial segregation. Although being the most important financial centre of the country, São Paulo also presents a high degree of informality in its economy.

São Paulo is the business center of the Mercosur economy. Acclaimed as a city of business tourism, attracting today's biggest and most important international events, be they in the economic, cultural, scientific or sporting area. It holds more than 200 events per day, offering more than 250 thousand square meters of space in pavilions and areas for congresses and fairs. This is without taking into account the supply of spaces within hotels, which adds another 70 thousand square meters, suitable for holding events. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) that ranks the greatest event centers in the world, São Paulo is the most important destination for international events in the Americas. São Paulo is also among Top 20 destinations for events in the world and left behind destinations like Madridmarker, Sydneymarker, Athensmarker and Vancouvermarker. Adding space in nightclubs, cultural and business areas, clubs and other alternatives to these numbers, São Paulo boasts approximately 430,000 square meters for the holding of any type of event.

There is still the supply of approximately 30,000 apartments of various categories, a number which is to grow significantly in the next two years, predicted to reach 50,000 apartments in 2003, catering for those seeking the more luxurious options of the large chains, to simpler and more economical options. It is worth pointing out that from the tourist attractions the following stand out: gastronomy and culture. With more than 12,000 restaurants of more than 40 different world cuisines, besides the 70 museums, more than 200 cinemas, around 50 theaters, art galleries and cultural centers, São Paulo has one of the liveliest night-lives in the world.

If the city of São Paulo were a country, its economy would be the 47th in the world, bigger than Egyptmarker and Kuwaitmarker, for example, about the same size as Hungarymarker, New Zealandmarker or Israelmarker. The economy of the city of São Paulo would also be bigger than 22 U.S. States, such as Hawaiimarker and New Hampshiremarker.

In 2005, the city of São Paulo collected R$ 90 billion in taxes, and the city budget was R$ 15 billion; these figures show that São Paulo contributes to redistribution of wealth. The city has 1,500 bank branches. There are 70 shopping malls. Of all the international companies with business in Brazil, 63% have their head offices in São Paulo. According to Mystery Shopping International, the Oscar Freire Street is the eighth most luxurious in the world.

A connected city, always in the vanguard of the greatest cultural movements that changed Brazilian behavior and habits. In higher education, the University of São Paulo (USP) is in the top 100 public universities in the world and, recently, in the annual raking of the Britishmarker newspaper The Times, as the first university in South America. There is also a wide range of short courses, lectures, seminars, literary discussions and a several universities and cultural centers teaching from handicraft to technology.

The São Paulo Stock Exchange (BM&F Bovespa) is Brazil's official stock and bonds exchange. The BM&F Bovespa is the largest stock exchange in Latin America and third largest in the world. In the Stock Exchange, R$ 6 billion (US$ 3.5 billion) change hands every day. If the Greater São Paulo were a country would be the thirty-third richest nation in the world (in Nominal GDP), ahead of the United Arab Emiratesmarker and Hong Kongmarker for example and twenty-eighth richest nation ahead of Belgiummarker and Venezuelamarker (in GDP PPP). São Paulo is the best city to do business in Latin America. The large growth of São Paulo GDP is due to the great economic potential of the city and the appreciation of the Brazilian real to the U.S. dollar. The per capita income for the city was R$ 25,675 (2006).According to PricewaterhouseCoopersmarker annual economic growth of the city is 4.2%.


There are some Web sites and magazines specialising in the cultural event in the city, including the Agenda Cultural de São Paulo (São Paulo's Cultural Calendar).

São Paulo Art Biennial

The São Paulo Art Biennial is a cultural event hosted in town every two years. Almost 1 million people visited the 26th Biennial in 2004. Its theme was chosen to enable a wide range of artistic positions to feel comfortable.

In addition, to an intensification of the North-South dialogue inside Brazilmarker, the Bienal's aims include the promoting of links between non-European cultures along a South-South orientation. The next edition of the Biennial will take place in 2009.

São Paulo Fashion Week

One of the most important fashion weeks in the world (along with Londonmarker's, New Yorkmarker's, Milanmarker's and Parismarker' editions), São Paulo Fashion Week established in 1996 under the name Morumbi Fashion Brasil, it is the biggest and most important fashion event in Latin America.

Brazil first entered the international fashion circuit with the increasing reputation of famous Brazilian top models such as Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, Fernanda Tavares, Ana Beatriz Barros, Izabel Goulart, Brenda Costa and Ana Hickmann, and the "discovery" of some fresh talents such as Alexandre Herchcovitch by some international fashion magazines.

São Paulo Gay Pride Parade

The first parade happened in 1997. São Paulo's version is quite young compared to those in New York, San Francisco and Sydneymarker which have been occurring since the 1970s. It only took 8 years to overcome those cities' parades in attendance. The tourist event in the city, the São Paulo Gay Parade attracted about 1.5 million people to Paulista Avenuemarker in 2006. It is usually opened by the city's mayor and a large carnival runs along the avenue, with several Trio Elétricos. The last parade was held on June 10, 2007, but no official estimate was given by the Polícia Militar. In 2008, the estimated attendance was of 5 million people, according to a story published on Folha de S. Paulo Newspaper on the 28th of May, 2008.

The Parade happens annually, in June, with the aims of bringing visibility to social-sexual categories and fomenting the creation of public policies for homosexuals, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals. Since its 7th year, the Parade is associated with an intense cultural programming that lasts at least a month. Most international hotel companies in São Paulo have specific hotels for the Gay Parade guests due to the huge number of people in the city looking for a room. The city is home of the biggest LGBT nightclub of Brazil and Latin America, The Week International.

March for Jesus

The March for Jesus is an Evangelical parade that takes place on Corpus Christi Thursday every year in Zona Norte. It is organized by the "Rebirth Church", a Pentecostal denomination created in the 1980s which has grown significantly in the first decade of the 21st century. In 2006, more than 1 million people took part in the event, according to official estimates. Evangelicals from across Brazilmarker went to São Paulo Thursday for the "March for Jesus" event as live Christian bands accompanied the more than one million marchers. The annual march, organized by evangelical churches, featured a concert with 30 Christian bands carried on 17 flatbed trucks performing live as participants marched through Brazil's financial capital.

The 2008's March for Jesus was part of a controversy caused by the discrepancy between the estimated number of atendees shown by the organizers and the Police, who accompanied the event. According to organizers, over 5 million people were part of the celebration, but according to official numbers presented by the police, attendance was of 1.4 million people.

São Paulo International Film Festival

The São Paulo International Film Festival is a film festival held annually in São Paulo, Brazil since 1976. It is one of the most important Brazilian film festival along with Rio Film Festival and Brasilia National Film Festival.

Electronic Language International Festival

The Electronic Language International Festival is a non-profit cultural organization, whose purpose is to disseminate and to develop arts, technologies and scientific research, by means of exhibitions, debates, lectures, and courses. The festival promotes a yearly meeting in Brazil, in the city of São Paulo.

Festival of Electronic Art

Every two years, Associação Cultural Videobrasil's International Electronic Art Festival brings groundbreaking work by cream-of-the-crop artists from all over the world to São Paulo. In keeping with the constant transformations in media and support, the curatorship has added installations, performances, VJs, CD-ROM art, and Internet art to the programme. art shows, debates and meetings introduce new ideas and artwork, setting new guidelines for contemporary art in Brazilmarker. Exhibitions featuring work by prominent electronic artists are also part of the Festival. Brazilian pioneers such as Rafael França and Olhar Eletrônico, and international guests such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola and Gary Hill, have featured in the event's past editions. Each edition has a theme of its own.


São Paulo holds one of the largest carnival parades in Brazil. Some clubs, such as the Club Athletico Paulistano, organize carnival parties as well. It happens at the sambódromo in Anhembi Park "Parque Anhembi." Some of the Schools of Samba "Escolas de Samba" are:

  • Nenê de Vila Matilde (Baby from Vila Matilde);
  • X9 (X-Nine);
  • Camisa Verde e Branco (Green and White Shirt);
  • Vai Vai (Go Go);
  • Acadêmicos do Peruche (Peruche Academicians);
  • Gaviões da Fiel (Fiel's Hawk);
  • Mancha Verde (Green Stain);
  • Dragões da Real (Real Dragons).

São Paulo International Transport Industry Show

The Salão Internacional da Indústria do Transporte (FENATRAN) is held in São Paulo in the Park Anhembi, every two years and usually in October. It's a major event presenting new trends for the industry related to transport, such as truck manufacturers, components for vehicles, fuel, motors and services for the industry, such as financial and insurance companies.


Educational institutions

The city has several universities and colleges:

Primary and secondary schools

Educational system

São Paulo has a well-developed system of primary and secondary education, both public and private, and a variety of vocational-technical schools. More than nine-tenths of the population is literate, and roughly the same proportion of those age 7 to 14 are enrolled in school. Among the many institutions of higher education, the largest and most esteemed is the state-supported University of São Paulo (USP), established in 1934, which incorporated the historic College of Law (Faculdade de Direito) in the old São Francisco Square. USP, as it is generally known, enrolls a very high proportion of Brazilmarker's doctoral students and has spawned a wide variety of research institutes and policy centre. Affiliated institutions include the Butantan Institute, a world-famous centre for research on snakes and the production of toxins and antitoxins.

The Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo was established in 1946 and has earned an enviable reputation among the continent's private institutions of higher learning. Also of note among Greater São Paulo's many other public and private colleges and universities is the School of Business Administration of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.

Health care

São Paulo is the largest health care hub in Brazil. In terms of public health facilities, the city is home to institutions from all the three levels of government, federal, state and municipal. The private health care sector is also very large, and most of the best hospitals in Brazil are located in the city. As of September 2009, the city of São Paulo had:

  • 32,553 ambulatory clinics, centers and professional offices (physicians, dentists and others);
  • 217 hospitals, with 32,554 beds;
  • 137,745 health care professionals, including 28,316 physicians.

Municipal health

Public health facilities in charge of the municipal government are spread all over the city's territory, with a grand total of 770 basic health care units (UBS), ambulatory and emergency clinics, and 17 hospitals. The Municipal Secretary of Health has 59,000 employees, among them more than 8,000 physicians and 12,000 nurses. A population estimated in more tham 6,000.000 citizens uses these facilities, which provide drugs at no cost, and manages an extensive family health program (PSF - Programa de Saúde da Família).

The Rede São Paulo Saudável (Healthy São Paulo Network) is a satellite-based digital TV corporate channel, developed by the Municipal Health Secretary of São Paulo, with the goal of bringing programs focused on health promotion and health education, which may be watched by the entire population seeking health care in its units in the city. The network consists of two complete TV studios, and a system for transmission of closed digital video in high definition via satellite, with about 1,400 points of reception in all health care units of the municipality of São Paulo.

Medical schools and teaching hospitals

The city of São Paulo has six medical schools with their corresponding teaching hospitals, which are an important component of public health attention to the city's citizens:

Private medicine



Adoniran Barbosa was a famous samba singer and composer who became successful during São Paulo's radio era. Born in 1912 in the town of Valinhos, Barbosa was known as the composer to the lower classes of São Paulo, particularly the poor Italian immigrants living in the quarters of Bexiga (Bela Vista) and Brás, as well as the poor who lived in the city's many shanties and cortiços (degraded multifamily row houses). The topics of his songs are drawn from the life of low-wage urban workers, the unemployed and the vagabonds. His first big hit was Saudosa Maloca ("Shanty of Fond Memories", 1951), wherein three homeless friends recall with nostalgia their improvised shanty, which was torn down by the landowner to make room for a building. In his Trem das Onze ("The 11am Train", 1964) record, which has been ranked one of the five best samba songs ever, the protagonist explains to his lover that he cannot stay any longer because he has to catch the last train to the Jaçanã suburb, for his mother will not sleep before he arrives. An old-school samba band called Demônios da Garoa still plays his songs in the traditional Bar Brahma venue in Downtown. Another important musician with a similar style is Paulo Vanzoline. Vanzoline is a Phd in Biology and semi-professional musician. He composed an important song depicting a love murder cene in São Paulo called Ronda.

In the late 1960s, a psychedelic rock band called Os Mutantes led the way in the national avant garde music scene. Their success is sometimes related to that of other tropicalia musicians, but they also had a musical style and ideas of their own. They were regarded as very paulistanos in their behaviour and clothing. Os Mutantes released five albums together before lead singer Rita Lee departed in 1972 to form another group called Tutti-Frutti. Although almost exclusively known in Brazil at that time, Os Mutantes became quite successful abroad after the 1990s (a legend has it that a Brazilian young woman in an exchange programme in Californiamarker forgot one Mutantes' vinyl record at her host home when she returned home, and thus helped make the band popular in that U.S. state). In 2000, Tecnicolor, a album recorded in the early 70's in English by the band was released with artwork designed by Sean Lennon.
After the two oil price shocks in the 1970s, the country suffered from an economic recession during the 1980s, a phenomenon that was named the lost decade. The very repressive military government of the day did not help in any way the social situation. At the end of the military rule in the early 80's a band called Ultrage a Rigor emerged in the city. They played a simple and irreverent style of rock. The lyrics depicted the changes in society and culture that not only São Paulo but Brazilian society as a hole were experiencing at the time. A late punk and garage scene became strong in the 1980s, perhaps associated with the gloomy scenario of unemployment and few actual prospectives from the viewpoint of the youth. All of thriving musicians and artists waiting for their moment to come. Examples of bands originating from this movement include Ira!, Titãs, Ratos de Porão and Innocentes. In the 1990s, drum & bass became another musical movement in São Paulo, with artists such as DJ Marky, DJ Patife, XRS, Drumagick, and Fernanda Porto. Many heavy metal bands also originated in São Paulo, such as Angra, Torture Squad, Korzus and Dr. Sin. Many "alternative" cultures of São Paulo mingle at a small shopping mall dubbed Galeria do Rock (English: "Rock Gallery"), which includes shops which cater to a broad range of alternative niches. Famous alternative band Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS (Portuguese for "tired of being sexy") also came from São Paulo.

The classical music in São Paulo is also very prevalent. Many of the most important classical Brazilian composers who are still alive, like Amaral Vieira, Osvaldo Lacerda and Edson Zampronha, were born in and live in São Paulo. São Paulo has two important opera houses: Teatro Municipal de São Paulomarker and Theatro São Pedro, and some opera performances are sometimes hosted in other theaters like Credicard Hall. Local baritone Paulo Szot has won international acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for his performance in a 2008 revival of South Pacific. The São Paulo State Symphony is one of the outstanding orchestras in Latin America and in the world.


São Paulo was home to the first Jesuit missionaries in Brazil, in the early 16th century. They wrote reports to the Portuguese crown about the newly found land, the native peoples and composed pieces of poetry and music for the catechism. Among them were priests such as Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta, living in or near the colony then called Piratininga. They also helped to register the Old Tupi language, lexicon and its grammar.

In 1922, the Brazilian Modernist Movement, launched in São Paulo, also began to achieve a similar cultural independence through different means. Brazilmarker had gone through the same stages of development as the rest of Latin America, but its political and cultural independence came more gradually. The first emperor of Brazil, Pedro I, was a legitimate member of the royal Portuguese dynasty. Although he declared Brazil's independence from Portugalmarker in 1822, the country remained under imperial rule and the dominance of the court in Rio de Janeiromarker until 1889.
With Brazilmarker thus tied to Portuguese culture, Brazilian writers only little by little assumed responsibility for giving expression to their own landscape and ethnic mix of peoples. The presence of large numbers of former slaves added a distinctive African character to the culture. And subsequent infusions of immigrants of non-Portuguese origin, from different parts of Europe, helped the new nation to find its own voice and to use it. Mário de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade are the prototypical modernists. With the urban poems of "Paulicéia Desvairada" and "Carefree Paulistan land" (1922), Mário de Andrade established the movement in Brazil. His rhapsodic novel Macunaíma (1928), with its abundance of Brazilian folklore, represents the apex of modernism's nationalist prose through its creation of an offbeat native national hero. Oswald de Andrade's experimental poetry, avant-garde prose, particularly the novel Serafim Ponte Grande (1933), and provocative manifestos exemplify the movement's break with tradition. Modernist artists and writers chose the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo to launch their Modernist manifesto. The site happened to be a bastion of European culture with Opera and classical music presentations brought from Germany, France, Austria, and Italy. It was significant for them to choose such house as their starting point because the high society which frequented it denied its Brazilian roots by speaking languages such as French only in the opera house. Moreover, it behaved as if the rest of Brazil, and Brazilian culture itself, did not matter or did not exist. Both these authors were influential writers from the Modernist school: Mário de Andradeand Oswald de Andrade.

Science and technology

The city of São Paulo has one of the best Research and Development structures in Latin America, and has been attracting a growing number of companies due to the increasing importance of innovation as a decisive differential in the global market. Among the several factors that justify such an attraction, it's worth to highlight the presence of several renowned universities that links higher education and internationally renowned laboratories and research centers that acts in several areas of knowledge. With an ample technical training educational system and several internationally renowned institutions of higher education, the city presents excellent infrastructure aimed at qualifying its workforce. The institutions of higher education in the city of São Paulo are the best of the country and many are internationally renowned.

The system of science, technology and innovation of São Paulo is also leveraged by the allocation of funds from the state governmentmarker, mainly carried out by means of the Foundation to Research Support in the State of São Paulo (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo - Fapesp), one of the main agencies of promotion of the scientific and technological research of the countrymarker.

Tourism and recreation

São Paulo is a major cultural centre. The city has an ethnically diverse metropolitan area, with heavy Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, among other influences. The city is known for its varied and sophisticated cuisine, ranging from Chinese to French, from fast food chains to five star restaurants. There are approximately 62 different types of cuisines in São Paulo, and more than 12,000 restaurants. Other venues such as bars, pubs, lounges and discos cater to a variety of music tastes.

São Paulo is home to the São Paulo Museum of Artmarker (MASP), dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II in the first half of the XX century and "Pinacoteca do Estado" art museums, a symphonic orchestra (São Paulo State Symphony (OSESP - based in the Sala São Paulomarker theatre in the gorgeous Julio Prestes train station), and a Formula One Grand Prix racing circuit (Interlagosmarker).



Many historians believe that the first theatre performance in Brazilmarker was held in São Paulo. The Spanish Jesuit missionary José de Anchieta (1534-1597) wrote short plays that were performed and watched by the Tupi-Guarani natives. After that, however, São Paulo became a province and cultural activities lost momentum. It was only in the beginning of the 20th century that, thanks to the coffee cycle and the wealth it brought, major European ethnic groups started making presentations in some of the state's countryside cities. Theatres such as Pedro II, in Ribeirão Preto, welcomed groups that had already performed in Manausmarker, Rio de Janeiromarker and Buenos Airesmarker. The most important period for the art in São Paulo took place during the avant-grade time. It was in São Paulo that a professional company, Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia, or TBC (Brazilian Theater of Comedy) made its first presentation. During the 60s, major theater productions in São Paulo and Brazil were presented by two groups. Teatro de Arena began with a group of students from Escola de Arte Dramática (Drama Art School), founded by Alfredo Mesquita, in 1948. In 1958, the group excelled with the play "Eles não usam black tie," a masterpiece by Gianfrancesco Guarnieri that, for the first time in the history of the Brazilianmarker drama, had labor workers as protagonists.

Further to that, after the coup of 1964, theater plays started focusing the Brazilian history (Zumbi, Tiradentes). Teatro de Arena was an embattled stage for the democratic resistance during the military dictatorship period, marked by its censorship. Teatro Oficina also played an important role. It was there that the Tropicalist movement began. There was a number of plays that represented historic moments, among which "O Rei da Vela", "Galileu Galilei" (1968), "Na Sela das Cidades" (1969) and "Gracias Señor" (1972). Today, all kinds of plays are performed at São Paulo's dozens of theatres, going from classical music, ballet to avant-garde plays.


  • Museu do Ipiranga
The first monument especially built to preserve the memory of the Independence of Brazil, was opened on September 7, 1895, with the name of Museu de Ciências Naturais (Natural Science Museum). In 1919, it became once again a historic museum. Its collection, with approximately 100,000 pieces, comprises works of art, furniture, clothing, and appliances that once belonged to famous people who took part in Brazilian history, such as explorers and emperors, and revolutionists. Its facilities are also home to a library with 100,000 books and the "Centro de Documentação Histórica," Historic Documentation Center, with 40,000 manuscripts.

  • Memorial da América Latina
Stretching over 78,000 square meters, Memorial da América Latina (Latin America's Memorial) was conceived to be a place for the integration of Latin American countries and their roots and cultures. Memorial is home to the headquarters of Parlamento Latino-Americano - Parlatino (Latin American Parliament). Designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, Memorial has an exhibition pavilion, where there is a permanent exhibition of the continent's craftwork production; a library with books, newspapers, magazines, videos, films and records about the history of Latin America; and an auditorium with capacity for 1,679 people.
Nationalities of guests in the Immigrant'sHostel of São Paulo (1882-1891)
Nationality Number
Italians 202,503
Portuguese 25,925
Spaniards 14,954
Germans 6,196
Austrians 4,118
Russians 3,315
French 1,922
Danes 1,042
Belgians 851
English 782
Swedes 685
Swiss 219
Irish 201
Others 483
Total 263,196

  • Museu da Imigração e Memorial do Imigrante
Hospedaria do Imigrante (Immigrant's Hostel) was built in 1886 and opened in 1887, when the first immigrants were housed there. The Immigrant's Hostel was built in Brás to welcome the immigrants who arrived in Brazil through the Port of Santosmarker, quarantining those who were sick and helping new arrivals to find work in coffee plantations in Western, Northern, and Southwestern São Paulo State and Northern Paraná State. From 1882 to 1978, 2.5 million immigrants of more than 60 nationalities and ethnicities were guests there, all of them duly registered in the museum's books and lists. The hostel used to serve approximately 3,000 people on average, but under special circumstances, this number reached 8,000. The hostel received the last immigrants in 1978.

In 1998 the Hostel became a museum, and it preserves the documentation, memory and objects of the immigrants that came to Brazilmarker in search of hope and wealth. Located in one of the few centennarian buildings left in the city of São Paulo, the museum occupies part of the former Hostel. Aside from bringing the immigrants' history to the public, the museum also restores wooden train wagons from the former São Paulo Railway. There are two restored wagons in the museum. One of them dates from 1914, and another one a second class passenger car, dates from 1931. The Memorial do Imigrante pays homage to the ancestors of millions of Brazilians who arrived through the port of Santos and had São Paulo as a gateway to Brazil. It is possible to find in the museum the names of all immigrants who were hosted there from 1888 to 1978.

  • Museu de Zoologia da USP

Occupying an area of 700 square meters, the animals shown in the museum are samples of the country's tropical fauna and were prepared (embalmed) more than 50 years ago. In the entrance hall, there is information about the main activities carried out by USP's staff and by the museum's researchers. The animals are grouped together according to their classification: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and some invertebrates such as reefs, crustaceans and mollusks. The library, specialized in zoology, has modern facilities and equipment and serve both the scientific community and the public in general. It has 73,850 works, of which 8,473 are books and 2,364 are newspapers, in addition to theses and maps.

  • Museu de Arte de São Paulo
The museum was founded by the journalist Assis Chateaubriand and by Pietro Maria Bardi. Its current headquarters, opened in 1968, were designed by the architect Lina Bo Bardi. Two enormous colonnades support the 9,2 thousand ton building, forming a 74-meter free space. MASPmarker has one of Latin America's most important collections of European art, including works of art by distinguished artists such as Degas, Renoir, Modigliani and Bonnard, among others.
  • Acervo do Palácio dos Bandeirantes

The headquarters of the State Government has an important collection of works of art by Brazilian artists, such as Portinari, Aldo Bonadei, Djanira, Almeida Júnior, Victor Brecheret, Ernesto de Fiori and Aleijadinho. Additionally, it also gathers colonial furniture, leather and silver artefacts, and European tapestry. In eclectic style, its walls are covered with panels describing the history of São Paulo.
  • Museu da Imagem e do Som

Opened in May, 1990, the main aim of Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum) is to keep and preserve manifestations in the music, cinema, photography, and graphical arts areas, as well as any other manifestation related to the Brazilian contemporary life. MIS has a collection of more than 200,000 images, distributed in thematic collections of diverse content. It has more than 1,600 fiction videotapes, documentaries and music, and 12,750 titles recorded in Super 8 and 16 mm. Additionally, MIS organizes concerts, cinema and video festivals, and photography and graphical arts exhibitions.



As in the rest of Brazil, football is by far the most popular sport in the city. The major teams in São Paulo are Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo FC and also, Portuguesa. There are two other small clubs in the city, Juventus and Nacional. Another popular club in São Paulo is Santos FC from the nearby coastal city of Santosmarker.

São Paulo is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazilmarker is the host nation. The matches will take place in Morumbi Stadiummarker.

Football/Soccer teams

Club League Venue Established
Corinthians Série A (1st National League Division) Pacaembu Stadiummarker40,260 (71,280 record)(not owner) 1910
Palmeiras Série A (1st National League Division) Palestra Itália Stadiummarker29,173 (40,283 record) 1914
São Paulo FC Série A (1st National League Division) Morumbi Stadiummarker73,501 (138,032 record) 1930
Portuguesa Série B (2nd National League Division) Canindé Stadiummarker19,717 (25,000 record) 1920
Juventus 2nd Regional State League division Rua Javari Stadiummarker2,730 (9,000 record) 1924
Nacional 3rd Regional State League division Nicolau Alayon Stadium9,650 (22,000 record) 1919

Corrida de São Silvestre

The São Silvestre Race takes place every New Year's Eve. It was first held in 1925, when the competitors ran about 8,000 metres across the streets. Since then, the distance raced varied, but is now set at .

Brazilian Grand Prix

The Formula One Brazilian Grand Prixmarker ( ) is held at the Autódromo José Carlos Pacemarker in Interlagosmarker continuously since 1990. Since 1973, the first year Formula One Grand Prix had been held in Brazil, 4 Brazilians have won the Grand Prix in São Paulo: Emerson Fittipaldi (1973 and 1974), José Carlos Pace (1975), Ayrton Senna (1991 and 1993) and Felipe Massa (2006.

In 2007, new station of Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), Autódromo of the Line C (Line 9), was constructed near the circuit to improve to reach.

São Paulo profits the most in the year during the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix due to boosts in tourism, commerce and nightlife.

Other sports

Volleyball, basketball and tennis are other major sports. There are several traditional sports clubs in São Paulo that are home for teams in many championships. The most important are Esporte Clube Pinheiros (waterpolo, volleyball, swimming, basketball and handball), Clube Atlhetico Paulistano (basketball), Esporte Clube Banespa (volleyball, handball and futsal), Esporte Clube Sírio (basketball), Associação Atlética Hebraica (basketball), São Paulo Athletic Club (rugby union), Clube de Regatas Tietê and Clube Atlético Ipiranga.

International sports events

Tennis court in Villa Lobos Park.
The following international sports events have been held in São Paulo:



The city is crossed by 10 major Brazilian motorways and automobiles are still the main means to get into the city.They are:


São Paulo grew quickly from the 1940s to the 1980s and many roads and buildings were built without major planning. As a result, heavy traffic is common on the city's main avenues, and traffic jams are relatively common on its largest highways. The main means of commuting into the city is by car and by bus. An effective way of avoiding heavy vehicles traffic in the city, such as buses and trucks that crossed the city for other destinations, was planned by ex-governor Mário Covas as a road ring that circles the city, called Rodoanel Mario Covas, and is being built by DERSA.


The two major São Paulo train stations are Luz and Julio Prestes in the Luz/Campos Eliseos region. Luz is the seat of the Santosmarker-Jundiaímarker line which historically transported international immigrants from the Santos port to São Paulo and the coffee plantation lands in the Western region of Campinasmarker. Julio Prestes connected the SW São Paulo State and Northern Paranámarker State to São Paulo and products were transferred to Luz Station from which they headed to the Atlantic oceanmarker and overseas. Julio Prestes ceased from transporting passengers through the Sorocabana or FEPASA lines and now only has limited suburban service. Due to its acoustics and the beauty of its interior, surrounded by Greek revival columns, part of the rebuilt gare was transformed into the São Paulo Hall, or Sala São Paulo, home of the internationally, known São Paulo Orchestra.

The Luz Stationmarker, which was built in Britainmarker and assembled in Brazil, has an underground station and is still very active with east and westbound suburban trains that link São Paulo to the Greater São Paulo region to the East and the Campinas Metropolitan region in Jundiaí in the western part of the State. Besides housing the interactive Museu da Língua Portuguesamarker (Portuguese Language Museum), Luz Station is surrounded by important cultural institutions such as the Pinacoteca do Estado, a brick Greek revival structure planned by the famous local architect Azevedo, where an impressive painting collection is housed. The Museu de Arte Sacra on Tiradentes Avenue with Barroc works of Aleijadinho and a Neapolitan gigantic Nativity Scene. The first Brazilian male saint's, Frei Galvão, tomb is located in the chapel of Convento da Luz, adjacent to it. Jardim da Luz, in front of the gare, is an elegant turn of the century park with cascades, tropical trees, statues and a gazebo which was built to entertain the privileged class who lived in what used to be a grand neighborhood with avenues that borrowed French names such as Avenida Campos Eliseos, translated from the French Champs Elisees.
When an outbreak of yellow fever erupted in the area, affluent Portuguese, Italian, Jewish, and Arabic descendants moved to the newly-built Higienópolismarker section further SW of here. About a century later, the Luz district struggles with panhandling, prostitution, drug activity, crime, and dilapidation. Under the Old Centro revitalization program, and in an effort to do away with the Cracolândia, "crackhead land," nickname to the Luz district, Luz station has been restored, buildings in disrepair demolished, and incentives are being offered to companies that transfer their headquarters to the region, where new highrises are being erected. The city still does not know how to address the drug addiction problem and homelessness, as shelters are crowded and human rights groups often monitor attempts to clear the streets of adult and minor crack addicts without promoting better perspectives.

Although poorly maintained by heavy rail services, there is an infrastructure project to build a high-speed rail service linking Brazil's two largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The trains would go as fast as (the trip would last about 1 hour and 30 minutes). This specific project is still waiting an official announcement by the Brazilian government, who is trying to obtain international financing through a public-private partnership.

Another important project is the "Expresso Bandeirantes," which is a medium-speed rail service (about 160 km/h) from São Paulo to Campinasmarker, which would reduce the journey time from the current one hour and a half by car to about 50 minutes by train, linking the towns of São Paulo, Jundiaímarker, Campinas Airport, and Campinas city center. This service is also going to be connected to the railway service between São Paulo city center and Guarulhos Airport. Major works on an express railway service between São Paulo city center and Guarulhos International Airport were announced by the São Paulo state government in 2007, which will be a milestone in the revitalisation and improvement of the Brazilian passenger railway services.


São Paulo has three airports. Two are major: São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airportmarker , for domestic and international flights, and Congonhas/São Paulo Airportmarker , for domestic and regional flights. The third, Campo de Marte Airportmarker, serves light aircraft and helicopters. The three airports together movimentarma 34,342,496 passengers, making São Paulo one of the cities busiest aircraft in the world.

Guarulhos International, also known to São Paulo dwellers as "Cumbica" is north-east of the city center, in the neighbouring city of Guarulhosmarker. Every day nearly 100 thousand people pass through the airport, which connects Brazil to 28 countries around the world. There are 370 companies established there generating 53 thousand employments. With capacity to serve 15 million passengers a year, in two terminals, the airport currently handles 12 million users.

Construction of a third passenger terminal is pending, to raise yearly capacity to 29 million passengers. The project, in the tendering phase, is part of the airport’s master plan and will get under way shortly. São Paulo International Airport is also one of the main air cargo hubs in Brazil. The roughly 100 flights a day carry everything from fruits grown in the São Francisco Valley in the Northeast to the most sophisticated medications created by science in the Southeast. The airport's cargo terminal is South America's largest and stands behind only Mexico Citymarker's in all of Latin America. In 2003, over 75 thousand metric tons of freight passed through the terminal.
Congonhas Airport operates flights mainly to Rio de Janeiromarker, Belo Horizontemarker and Brasíliamarker. Since of the last reform, Congonhas Airport has had a new face. This is when the first step was completed of the upgrade work Infraero has been undertaking at South America's busiest airport. Passengers now enjoy new boarding lounges, located on the mezzanine level, accessed by escalators. Besides this, eight boarding bridges were installed to provide more comfort to passengers by eliminating the need to walk in the open to their flights.

The terminal area was expanded from 37.3 thousand to over 51 thousand square meters. This expansion did not seek to raise capacity, which was already saturated, but only to satisfy current demand. Congonhas Airport, built in the 1930s, was designed to handle 6 million passengers a year and was operating with 12 million a year. The ample new boarding area, separated from the main concourse, adds greatly to passenger comfort.
Campo de Marte is located in the northern zone of São Paulo, the Campo de Marte Airport handles small aircraft, particularly private craft belonging to flying clubs and air taxi firms. Opened in 1935, Campo de Marte today is the base for the largest helicopter fleet in Brazilmarker. It has no scheduled airlines, but its terminal is equipped with a snack bar, restaurant and bank branch. This airport also is the home base of the State Civil Police Air Tactical Unit, the State Military Police Radio Patrol Unit and the São Paulo Flying Club.

A city with possibly the world's highest helicopter ownership rate. Largely using this airport, an elite wealthy class takes advantage of some one hundred remote helipads and heliports to conveniently bypass heavy road traffic. Campo de Marte also hosts the Ventura Goodyear Blimp.


Metro Station.
The city has of underground railway systems (34.6 km (21.4) fully underground) (the São Paulo Metro, locally known as the Metrô), with 4 lines in operation and 55 stations, complemented by another of Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM, or "Paulista Company of Metropolitan Trains") railways. Both CPTM and the underground railway lines carry some 5 million people on an average weekday, and a few new underground lines to be constructed are expected to add another million people to the system within the next five years. The projects expected to expand São Paulo's urban railway system from the current to more than on the next 10 years, surpassing the London Underground, and it became the largest rail system in the world.

São Paulo has three rapid transport systems:
  • The underground rail system (called "metrô", short for "metropolitano" and in plates in English is called "subway"), with three complete lines.
  • The suburban rail system, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), has six lines that serve many regions not reached by the underground system, and even some other cities in the metropolitan region. The CPTM network is longer than the underground rail system.
  • The fast-lane bus system: there are many such bus lines in the city, called "Passa Rápido," which are street-level, placed on large avenues, and connected with the underground or suburban train stations.

São Paulo has no tram lines, although trams used to be common in the first half of the 20th century. São Paulo's underground train system is modern, safe, clean and efficient, considered one of the best subway systems in the world, as certified by the NBR ISO 9001. It has four lines (a fifth, the Yellow line, is under construction) and links to the metropolitan train network, the CPTM.

The underground rail lines are:
  • Line 1 - Blue: The first subway line built connects the North and the South Side of São Paulo. Connections are available for the Green, Red and Yellow lines and also for CPTM trains. Tietê and Jabaquara bus terminals are also reachable through the use of this line.
  • Line 2 - Green: The Green line transverses the Paulista Avenuemarker ridge, connecting Ipiranga to Vila Madalena, and also integrating the Blue and Yellow lines. It was the third Metrô line built.
  • Line 3 - Red: One of São Paulo's busiest lines, the second Metrô line built connects the East Side to the West Side. Connections to the Blue and Yellow lines are possible, as are with CPTM trains. The Barra Funda bus terminal is located on this line.
  • Line 4 - Yellow (under construction): Scheduled to be open in 2009, the Yellow line will connect the central Luz station to the west side in a route constructed immediately below the Consolação and Rebouças avenues. Connections will be available to the Blue, Green and Red lines and to CPTM trains.
  • Line 5 - Lilac: Built for users who need to reach specific places in São Paulo's South Side. Only a short distance of the line is already available (six complete stations), connecting to CPTM trains at Santo Amaromarker station.
  • Line 6 - Orange (planned): Announced in 2008 and scheduled to be open in 2012, the Orange Line will connect the borough of Freguesia do Ó, in the northwestern side of the city to downtown São Paulo. It will be connected to the subway lines 1 and 4, as well as the line 7 of CPTM.

The following lines are composed by surface trains and managed by CPTM, named after precious stones:
  • Line 7 - Ruby: Formerly the northern part of the ancient São Paulo Railway, it connects the Luz station downtown to the city of Francisco Moratomarker, crossing all of the northwestern side of the city. An operational extension connects Francisco Morato to the city of Jundiaímarker. This is the longest line of the railway system in São Paulo.
  • Line 8 - Diamond: Formerly part of the ancient Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana, it connects the Julio Prestes station downtown to Itapevimarker, going across the western side of the city. An operational extension with another train links this line to four more stations in Itapevi. The last station (Amador Bueno) is placed near the border with São Roquemarker. The Julio Prestes station houses the State of the Art concert hall Sala Cidade de São Paulo.
  • Line 9 - Emerald: It's located along the Nações Unidas Avenue (Marginal Pinheiros), and connects the region of the Interlagos Speedway to the neighbouring city of Osascomarker. Presently, it makes the only connection with the subway Line 5 - Lilac.
  • Line 10 - Turquoise: Formerly the southern part of the ancient São Paulo Railway, it's actually a continuation of the Line 7 - Ruby, and crosses the ABC Region.
  • Line 11 - Coral: Also known as "Expresso Leste" (East Express), it crosses all the eastern side of São Paulo from downtown, to Guaianases. It is within the largest distance between two stations (between Tatuapé and Itaquera) in all the railway net. There is an operational extension from Guaianases to the campus of the Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes (University of Mogi das Cruzes), in the city of Mogi das Cruzesmarker.
  • Line 12 - Sapphire: It crosses the northeastern side of São Paulo, from the Brás station downtown until the city of Itaquaquecetubamarker.


The bulk of the public transport (government and private companies) is composed of approximately 17,000 buses (including about 210 trolley buses), coloured uniformly according to the non-central region served (ex.: light green for the buses that go South West, dark blue for the Northern area). Until the past few years, there was a strong presence of informal transport vans (dab vans), but the vast majority of such vans are already fully registered with the city council, legalized and operating under the same color scheme of the main system.

In a transportation world that has dreamed up such systems as maglev bullet trains and "smart roads" capable of guiding vehicles, bus-based mass transit may appear quite low-tech. But in São Paulo the buses themselves are only the most visible part of a vast operation that relies on a number of advanced technologies: computer simulations help plan the bus network, GPS monitoring keeps track of the fleet, and electronic payment streamlines fare collection. And in an experiment to reduce pollutant emissions, later this year São Paulo will test a small number of hydrogen fuel cell buses on one of the city's busiest busways. None of this technology would be of much use without experienced bus engineers, of whom São Paulo has plenty. Over the years this cadre of bus pros has been disseminating its expertise throughout Brazilmarker and beyond.
Together with the New York/New Jersey Port Authority terminal, the São Paulo Tietê Bus Terminal is considered the largest in the world. It serves directly 565 localities in all the States of Brazil, with the exception of Amazonasmarker, Roraima and Amapámarker, as well as five countries (Uruguaymarker, Paraguaymarker, Argentinamarker, Chilemarker and Boliviamarker). It offers a special line to the airports of Congonhas and Guarulhos, and a ride sharing automobile service São Paulo to Santosmarker.

The Barra Fundamarker Bus Terminal is much smaller and is connected to the Barra Funda Train and Subway Stations. It serves Southwestern São Paulo State cities such as Avarémarker, Pirajumarker, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardomarker, Ipaussumarker, Chavantesmarker, and Ourinhosmarker in the border with Paranámarker State.

For buses to São Paulo State shore, one needs to get off at the Jabaquara subway station, which is the final southbound stop. The Litoral, shore, bus terminal serves Praia Grandemarker, Santos and São Vicente in the South Shore and Mongaguá, Bertioga, and Guarujámarker in the North Shore. Buses to North Shore cities such as Maresia, Riviera de São Lourenço, Caraguatatuba, Ubatubamarker, and Paratymarker, in Rio de Janeiromarker State must be taken at the Tietê Bus Terminal, at Tietê Sta. on the northbound subway Blue line.


Due to the intense traffic jams on the roads combined with a fears of kidnappings among its richer citizens, São Paulo has become the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world, more than cities like New Yorkmarker and Tokyomarker. With 462 private helicopters in 2008, and around 70,000 flights per year within central São Paulo, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, is turning into a "real life South-American episode" of The Jetsons.

Helicopters enable businessmen and other executives to sharply reduce their commuting time, at least to the most important meetings and conferences. They are also used to bring executives in from their homes in distant parts of the greater metropolitan area and back to them at the end of the work week. Some companies own their helicopters, others lease them, and still others use helicopter taxi services. One suburban helicopter shuttle service, located about 15 miles from the center of the city in a suburb called Tamboré, is unique in the sense that it is run and operated totally by women, including its pilots.

Current critical problems

Since the beginning of the 20th century, São Paulo has been a major economic center in Latin America. With the arrival of the two World Wars and the Great Depression, coffee exports to the United Statesmarker and Europe were critically affected, leading wealthy coffee farmers to invest in industrial activities which eventually turned São Paulo into Brazil's largest industrial hub. The new job positions thereof contributed to attracting a significant number of immigrants from Europe and Asia and migrants from within the country, especially the northeastern states. From a population of merely 32,000 inhabitants in 1880, São Paulo increased its population to approximately 250,000 in 1900, 1,800,000 in 1940, 4,750,000 in 1960 and 8,500,000 in 1980. The effects of this population boom have been:
  • Although urban planning has been implemented in some areas, São Paulo has developed quickly without major planning.
  • Overcrowded public transport associated with a high number of cars and other vehicles in circulation lead to consistently congested traffic on many roads of the city.
  • Due to heavy usage and poor maintenance, the quality of the pavement on certain roads (especially in the outskirts of the city) is problematic, and potholes and other asphalt defects are common.
  • For a long time considered to be one of the most critical problems found in the city, crime rates are, finally, about to reach acceptable levels, according to the UN parameters of violence, with its numbers consistently decreasing for the past 8 years. The number of murders state-wide in 2007 was 67% lower than it was in 2000, one-quarter of that in the State of Rio de Janeiromarker. During the first nine months of 2008, 19 people were kidnapped.
  • High air pollution, mainly due to the high circulation of automobiles and buses in town.
  • The two major rivers crossing the city, Tietêmarker and Pinheiros, are highly polluted. A major project to clean up these rivers is in process.


  • State Legilature approves a antitobacco Law in the whole State of São Paulo, in 2009. Project forbids tobacco in "collective enclosures" and creates free environments. This law will be adopted nationally.
  • The Clean City Law or antibillboard, approved in 2007, focused on two main targets: antipublicity and anticommerce. Advertisers estimate that they removed 15,000 billboards and that more than 1,600 signs and 1,300 towering metal panels were dismantled by authorities.
  • Some countries have adopted vehicular restriction in order to reduce air pollution levels. In São Paulo metropolitan region, the vehicle restriction was adopted from 1996 to 1998, in order to reduce air pollution, during wintertime. Since 1997, a similar project was implemented during the whole year in the central area of São Paulo in order to improve the urban traffic.

Human development

In 2007 the city of São Paulo conducted a survey about the quality of life of its inhabitants to help the government in the social politics of the city. The indicator used was the HDI - the same used by the United Nations for qualifying the development of the countries in the world.

It was noted in this survey that the neighborhoods around in the center of the city tend to be more developed than the neighborhoods located around the border areas of the city. 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, the Magreb) region. Most of the districts have high human development (higher than 0.800) and none of them have medium human development (lower than 0.800).

Top 5 districts

Districts in last 5 places:

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

São Paulo is twinned with:
  Americas   Europe   Asia and Africa
Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker Luandamarker, Angolamarker
La Pazmarker, Boliviamarker Yerevanmarker, Armeniamarker Beijing, Chinamarker
Torontomarker, Canadamarker Milanmarker, Italymarker Seoulmarker, South Koreamarker
Santiagomarker, Chilemarker Coimbra, Portugalmarker Tel Avivmarker, Israelmarker
Havanamarker, Cubamarker Cordobamarker, Spainmarker Naha, Japanmarker
Chicagomarker, United Statesmarker Bucharestmarker, Romaniamarker Ammanmarker, Jordanmarker
Asunciónmarker, Paraguaymarker Cluj-Napocamarker, Romaniamarker Damascusmarker, Syriamarker
Montevideomarker, Uruguaymarker Góismarker and Leiria, Portugalmarker Osaka, Japanmarker
Limamarker, Perumarker Santiago de Compostelamarker, Spainmarker Macaumarker, Chinamarker
Miami Dademarker, United Statesmarker Lisbonmarker, Portugalmarker Ningbomarker, Chinamarker
Mendozamarker, Argentinamarker Coimbra and Funchalmarker, Portugalmarker Shanghai, Chinamarker

See also


  1. R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, "Which are the largest? Why published populations for major world urban areas vary so greatly", City Futures Conference, (University of Illinois at Chicago, July 2004) – Table 5 (p.34)
  2. São Paulo - A global city
  3. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; Estimativas das Populações Residentes, em 1o. De Julho de 2008. Zip-file from ftp-archive. Estimated population of municipalities in Brazil on 2008-07-01. Retrieved on 2008-10-14.
  4. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; Resolução No. 05, de 10 de Outubro de 2002, Área Territorial: UF – São Paulo – SP - 35 Pdf-file from ftp-archive. Areas of municipalities in São Paulo state. Retrieved on 2008-10-14.
  5. Citimayors website - Largest cities
  6. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; Estimativas das Populações Residentes, em 1o. De Julho de 2008. Zip-file from ftp-archive. Estimated population of municipalities in Brazil on 2008-07-01. 22,105,060 is the total population of the 39 municipalities within the official metropolitan area of São Paulo. Retrieved on 2008-10-14.
  7. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; Resolução No. 05, de 10 de Outubro de 2002, Área Territorial: UF – São Paulo – SP - 35 Pdf-file from ftp-archive. Areas of municipalities in São Paulo state. Total area of the 39 municipalities within the official metropolitan area of São Paulo. Retrieved on 2008-10-14.
  8. Consejo Nacional de Población, México; Proyecciones de la Población de México 2005-2050 The total population of Zona metropolitana del Valle de México (Distrito Federal plus 60 other municipalities) was estimated to 19,826,918 in 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  9. " São Paulo holds Gay Pride parade," BBC
  10. Pico do Jaraguá Mountain Official Website
  11. Brazilian Departamento de Águas e Energia Elétrica, "International Competitive Bidding Tender Announcement"
  12. Subtropical climate in the city of São Paulo
  13. Britannica Online Encyclopedia - Climate of São Paulo
  14. Climate of São Paulo
  15. Summer and Rain in São Paulo
  16. Empresa Paulista de Planejamento Metropolitano S.A.
  17. Neighborhoods in São Paulo
  18. Subprefectures in São Paulo
  19. Latin American Immigration to São Paulo
  20. Ethnicities of São Paulo
  21. Especiais - Agência Brasil
  22. Especiais - Agência Brasil
  23. 450 Anos de São Paulo
  24. Especiais - Agência Brasil
  25. Especiais - Agência Brasil
  26. ::: Etni-cidade :::
  27. ELB
  28. Barsa Planeta Ltda
  29. Diário do Comércio - Especiais - Locarno
  30. Number of vehicles in the city of São Paulo
  31. Number of Daily Newspapers
  32. Foreign Policy
  33. Estadão
  34. The largest cities in the world by land area
  35. Emporis
  36. The streets the world's most luxurious
  37. São Paulo Metro
  38. CPTM
  39. Centro Comercial Leste Aricanduva
  41. América Economia
  42. Billionaires in São Paulo, Forbes
  43. Yahoo! Finance, in portuguese
  44. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Global city GDP rankings 2008-2025
  45. FERREIRA, João Sette Whitaker; The myth of the global city, doctoral thesis presented to the FAUUSP, 2003.
  46. International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) - São Paulo
  47. Events in São Paulo
  48. Economy of São Paulo and U.S. states
  49. Oscar Freire Street - 8th most luxurious street in the world
  50. Vanguard and Knowledge Center - São Paulo City
  51. BM&F Bovespa: About us
  52. Agenda Cultural
  53. South-South orientation in São Paulo Art Biennial
  54. SP Fashion Week
  55. BBC News website, "São Paulo holds Gay Pride parade". Retrieved 14 June 2007.
  56. Folha Online website, "Parada Gay bate recorde, dizem organizadores". Retrieved 14 June 2007.
  57. SP Gay Pride Parade
  58. The Week International São Paulo
  59. March of Jesus in SP
  60. FILE - Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica official website.
  61. Video Brasil website
  62. Website of FENATRAN (Portuguese)
  63. DATASUS Health Care Statistics
  64. Hospital do Cancer de São Paulo
  65. Movement website
  66. São Paulo Convention and Visitors Bureau, "City Facts". Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  67. Hospedaria dos Imigrantes (1885)
  68. Histórico da Hospedaria
  69. Acervo Histórico-Cultural
  70. Dersa website, "Rodoanel Mário Covas"
  71. DERSA official website
  72. Nasdaq website 2007, "Brazil May Take Bids On Rio-To-São Paulo High-Speed Rail Link"
  73. Secretaria dos Transportes Metropolitanos do Estado de São Paulo "PPP for construction of Guarulhos Airport Express railway". Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  74. São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport - Infraero
  75. São Paulo/Congonhas National Airport - Infraero
  76. Campo de Marte Airport
  77. Brazil's Elites Fly Above Their Fears Washington Post article dated June 1, 2002.
  78. Downloadable map (pdf) of the underground network retrieved from the Metro SP website.
  79. All the main projects from the São Paulo railway and underground system for the next 10 years can be found on the Metrô website and CPTM (in Portuguese).
  80. For the history of São Paulo tramways, see Tramz website
  81. Tietê Bus Terminal, the second largest in the world
  82. Number of Helicopters in São Paulo
  83. [1] The Guardian: High above São Paulo's choked streets, the rich cruise a new highway
  84. Secretaria de Segurança Pública website, [2]. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  85. Época magazine website, "Taxa de homicídio cai para 10,3 no estado de SP; índice é 67% menor do que em 2000", published 31 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  86. McClatchy Newspapers, [3], published 27 December 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  87. Folha de São /paulo
  88. Antitobacco in São Paulo
  89. Billboard law in SP
  90. Vehicular Restriction in SP
  91. International Relations - São Paulo City Hall - Official Sister Cities

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