Country - Brazil

Brazil

Brazil Country Information

The world-famous iconic image of 125-foot tall monolithic white statue “Christ the Redeemer” standing erect and alone on the Corcovado hill near the city of Rio de Janeiro springs up in  mind when one hears the name of Brazil. The city Rio de Janeiro has also attracted global attention when the Olympic Games were held in 2016. To crown it all, the annual mega events of Brazilian carnival shake the entire nation when millions of people swarm together to watch the biggest dazzling colossal event on the planet that lasts for about a week, commencing 51 days prior to Easter.

Brazil is the largest republic nation of South America by area, occupying 47.3% of the entire continent. The official name of the country is Federative Republic of Brazil which has land area of 8.5 million square kilometers ranking 5th in the world. Portuguese is the sole official language used widely for administrative purposes, in official correspondence, as a medium of education and in media of mass communication. The Portuguese language is a cultural part of the country making it distinct from the neighbouring Spanish speaking countries in the continent.

The capital of Brazil is Brasilia and the largest city is Sao Paulo. The country lies to the east of the South American continent and has a lengthy eastern coastline of 7491 kilometers with the Atlantic Ocean. Almost all the countries of the continent have a common border with Brazil, barring Ecuador and Chile. French Guyana, Suriname, British Guyana, Venezuela and Columbia share the northern border of Brazil. Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina lie to the western border and Uruguay is in contiguity with the southern tip of Brazil.

The Federative Republic of Brazil celebrates its Day of Independence from Portugal on 7th September every year. The parliament called National Congress is bicameral in nature with Federal Senate as the Upper House and Chamber of Deputies as the Lower House. The total population was estimated in 2019 as 210,147,125 and the average density of population was recorded at 25 people per square kilometer.  The per capita GDP (nominal) was US$9159 and on purchasing power parity basis it was US$16,727. Brazil is blessed with extensive natural resources, diverse bio system, multifarious flora and fauna,  thanks to the vast area covered under Amazon River Basin.

Brazil has been the largest producer of coffee in the world for the past 150 years. The main exports sent by the country include transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee and automobiles in 2017. The chief items of imports were machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts and electronics for the same year. The gross value of the total exports was US $217.7 billion and that of imports was US $150.72 resulting in the trade surplus of US $66.98.

International tourist attractions in Brazil are innumerable. A round trip to Brazil without visiting the statue of the Christ the Redeemer is like coming out of a good restaurant without eating anything. The 125-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ with both hands stretched to their full width horizontally as if to offer an embrace of solace/succour to the less fortunate people seeking divine help from worldly hardships is the greatest iconic cynosure of Brazil. The statue was mainly sculpted by the French mason Paul Landowski and the facial features of Jesus were carved by the Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida. The construction of the statue took nine years to complete between 1922 and 1931. An aerial view from a slow moving helicopter around the tip of the Corcovado Mountain gives the comprehensive picture of the site.

The city of Rio de Janeiro is also well noted for the crescent shaped Copacabana Beach, a land strip where exuberant people relax under the umbrella-stands and tall palm trees by the side of Atlantic Ocean. The spacious sand beach is wide enough for a large number of people to gad about and is separated from the twelve-laned tarmac city traffic street by a promenade, the mosaic tiles of which have been laid in an attractively serpentine design. Standing cheek by jowl to the traffic roadway is a series of skyscrapers which among them have Copacabana Palace Hotel and outstanding Copacabana Fort housing a military museum.

Ipanema Beach is by the side of Copacabana and Leblon Beach. It is easier-to-get-to than other beaches because of the streets perfectly aligned in a geometric grid. Apart from easier accessibility, the place is known for higher elegance and grace. Pleasure seekers swarm at the beach for diverse activities like sunbathing, sea-surfing, gadding about along the length of sand-stretch drenched by sea water, speed-skating on the promenades, masticating the favourite food in upscale eateries and the like. The waterfront is also blessed with scenic distant mountains to add to the beauty of the locale.

The Selaron Steps, indigenously known as “Escadaria Selaron”, is a place of weird yet charming gradient of colourful steps. Ironically, this was created out of the broken fragments of tiles collected from construction works, some of them donated by other countries and with most of them painted by the creator himself, Jorge Selaron, a Chilean born artist. The al fresco/open air staircase consists of 251 steps with their vertical facades glued with tiles in yellow, green and blue as a token of respecting the colours of the Brazilian National Flag. The banister sidewalls were mostly covered in dark red tiles. The single mason’s art work ranging from a wide cross section of cultures from around the world made the site all the more special and unique. The designs and sketches on the tiles include various insignia, pictures of natural scenery, religious images and verbal patriotic quotations.  This was the laborious handiwork of the Chilean artist who devoted a large part of his life in creating the monumental staircase open to air. The arduous manual work which was mocked at by public in the initial stages has overcome all the ephemeral criticism and finally stood out as one of the best sightseeing attractions in the Rio city. Jorge Selaron has selflessly dedicated the relentless work of his lifetime to the entire nation of Brazil.

Since the coastline of Brazil stretches over more than 7400 kilometers, tourist beaches are ubiquitous. On account of rainforests and water falls coming under Amazon basin, there is no dearth of diverse wild life, national parks, bio diversity, flora and fauna.

The Sao Paulo Assis Museum of Art located in Paulista Avenue in the city of Sao Paulo is a reserve for the most important collections of Art of Latin America. The building of the museum itself is said to be constructed with modern Brazilian architectural skills to defy the rules of gravity. The museum, shortly known as MASP, is internationally recognized as the greatest of its kind in the Latin American countries as well as in the entire southern hemisphere. The various exhibits, more than 9000 in number, belong to various forms of art like paintings, sketches, statuettes and other antiquities to reflect the culture of Europeans and Brazilians.

The extremely large scale Carnival Mega Road Shows in the streets of Rio De Janerio, Sao Paulo and Vitoria are the hugest celebrations that fill up the cities with infinite jubilation and rejoicing. The elaborate festivals stretch for more than a week, normally commencing on Ash Wednesday which is 51 days to Easter and concluding on the succeeding Ash Wednesday, 45 days to Easter. In addition to the large scale celebrations in big cities, festivities on a smaller scale called “blocos” occur in other cities like Belo Horizonte, Recife, Olinda, Salvador and Porto Seguro where apart from watching the road shows, spectators can participate and interact with the performers. Huge tableaux the size of big mountains decorated with magnificent ornate settings crawl on the wide streets to enable viewers to watch the performance in detail. Preceding each tableau a small number of high heeled and large plumed dancers shake a leg as the precursors while several of them dance on the tableau itself followed by a large infantry of performers behind the decorated vehicle. Each diorama depicts the main important feature of the country where the band of performers hails from. The giant specimens vying with skyscrapers in height are of various forms like Hindu Gods, groups of elephants, rhinoceroses, dinosaurs, royal headgears/tiaras and iconic monuments to represent their respective countries and move in small repetitive robotic/mechanical movements to give a ludic touch to the display. Rhythmic samba dances accompanied by hit tunes of latest albums and the songs specifically prepared for the mega shows entertain the audience. During the entire period of festivities, Brazil reverberates in massive merriment attracting millions of people who throng to watch the spectacular shows.

Even in the non-festive season, the sightseeing places are too many to visit in small trips as Brazil is incomprehensibly big. International tourists, if they happen to visit Brazil during the festivities of annual carnival, are sure to enjoy the largest extravaganza of their life which remains permanently imprinted in the minds unobliterably.