Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with a city population of about 12 million and almost 22 million in its metropolitan region. It is the capital of the Southeastern state of Sao Paulo, and also a beehive of activity that offers a jovial nightlife and an intense cultural experience. Sao Paulo is one of the richest cities in the southern hemisphere, though inequality between the classes typically observed in Brazil is blatant. Historically attractive to immigrants as well as (somewhat later) Brazilians from other states, it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world. Sao Paulo or Sampa, as it is also often called is also probably one of the most underrated cities tourism-wise, often overshadowed by other places in the Brazilian sun & beach circuit such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. It is in fact a great city to explore, with its own idiosyncrasies, the exquisite way of living of its inhabitants, not to mention the world-class restaurants and diverse regional and international cuisine available to all tastes. If there is a major attraction to this city, it is the excellent quality of its restaurants and the variety of cultural activities on display.Just south of the city lies the Parque Estadual Serra do Mar (part of the Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a mountain range covered by exhuberant rainforest that faces the coast and provides various ecotourism options.Following Sao Paulo’s extraordinary growth during the 20th century, most of the old city buildings have given way to contemporary architecture. This means that most historical buildings are concentrated downtown, where 17th-century churches stand in the shadows of skyscrapers. The best of Sao Paulo’s gastronomy, nightlife, and museums are concentrated in the historic downtown and neighboring areas to the west. Consequently, this is where most visitors to the city tend to stay. Those who are adventurous enough to venture beyond these areas may discover a completely different Sao Paulo, including areas of preserved natural beauty, affluent suburban neighborhoods, as well as more dangerous and impoverished districts.Note: the region of Avenida Paulista is partly in the Center, West, and South-Central, and its number of attractions, as well as its peculiar characteristics, justifies it having its own section.A large sprawling city can present numerous challenges to sensibilities. Sao Paulo is no exception. Although the first impression might be that of a grey concrete jungle, soon it becomes apparent that the city has a great number of pockets of beauty. The population and environment of Sao Paulo is diverse, and districts within it range from extremely luxurious areas to hovels housing the poor and destitute, located usually in suburbia far from the so-called “expanded center”.Sao Paulo, together with Rio de Janeiro, is the spot where most visitors from abroad land in Brazil. While a complete experience of the city would take a few weeks (since the lifestyle of Paulistanos and every-day routine in the city are huge attractions in themselves), it’s possible to visit all major sites within three days. Staying a little longer than that is always a nice idea. As the financial and cultural center of the country, the city is a sea of possibilities. Sightseers will be disappointed however, because the city does not have a single major tourist attraction.The city has a so called clean city law that prohibits advertising such as billboards. Likewise, heavy trucks are not allowed on most streets except during the middle of the night. These are small but constant improvements which make the city more beautiful and pleasant to live in.Native American Chief Tibiriçá and the Jesuit priests Josí de Anchieta and Manuel de Nóbrega founded the village of Sao Paulo de Piratininga on 25 January 1554 — Feast of the Conversion of Paul the Apostle. Along with their entourage, the priests established a mission named Colígio de Sao Paulo de Piratininga aimed at converting the Tupi-Guarani native Brazilians to the Catholic religion. Sao Paulo’s first church was constructed in 1616, and it was located where today is the the Pátio do Colígio (metra: Sí or Sao Bento station).Sao Paulo officially became a city in 1711. In the 19th century, it experienced a flourishing economic prosperity, brought about chiefly through coffee exports, which were shipped abroad from the port of neighbouring city Santos. After 1881, waves of immigrants from Italy, Japan, and other European and Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria and Lebanon immigrated to Sao Paulo State due to the coffee production boom. Slavery in Brazil was coming to an end, so incentives were given to immigrants coming from European countries such as Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. By the beginning of the 20th century, the coffee cycle had already plummeted due to, among other factors, a sharp decline in international coffee prices and competition from other nations. The local entrepreneurs then started investing in the industrial development of Sao Paulo, attracting new contingents of overseas immigrants to the city. Many of those entrepreneurs were Italian, Portuguese, German, and Syro-Lebanese descendants such as the Matarazzo, Diniz, and Maluf families.However, due to competition with many other Brazilian cities, which sometimes offer tax advantages for companies to build manufacturing plants in situ, Sao Paulo’s main economic activities have gradually left its industrial profile in favour of the services industry over the late 20th century. The city is nowadays home to a large number of local and international banking offices, law firms, multinational companies, advertising firms and consumer services.Many major international and Brazilian companies have offices in Sao Paulo, and the Bovespa stock exchange index (Ibovespa) is considered one of the most important Latin American market indices abroad. After merging with the BM&F (Futures Markets Exchange), Bovespa (Sao Paulo Stock Exchange) has become the third largest exchange in the world (Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper 2008).Don’t be surprised at the diversity of Paulistanos. For example, Sao Paulo is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. It is not uncommon to see businesses and churches being conducted by Chinese and Korean-Brazilians in Liberdade, which was originally an Italian district, then Japanese and currently is heavily populated by Koreans and Chinese. The city’s Italian influence is also very strong, mainly in the upper and middle-class spots, with about 6 million people in the metropolitan area having Italian background. The small but notable Arab and Jewish communities are also represented in the high-levels of society, from arts to real estate businesses, and notably in politics. But over all the most notably communities of Sao Paulo is the “Nordestinos”, people with a northeasterner backgrounds or descent, which have a very particular culture and accent. Almost 40% of “paulistanos” have one of the parents or grand-parents who came from Brazilian northeastern region. Rarely this so important part of population reaches a high-developed level of economy or living, in exception of popular music and sports. It is too much more common to hear northeasterner accents in the streets of Sao Paulo, rather than immigrant accents.The citizens of Sao Paulo have a reputation as hard-working and industrious or shallow money-grubbers. It is common to hear that the people in Sao Paulo work while the rest of Brazil relaxes

Airport: GRU Guarulhos – Governador Andre Franco Montoro International Airport Cities in Brazil

Country: Brazil