Curitiba (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Curitiba is a city that advocates sustainable living. The name of the city originates from Guarani, an indigenous language in South America, and translates to “lots of pine trees.” People traveling to Curitiba for the World Cup will admire the Arena Da Baixada, which is considered to be one of the most modern stadiums, as it opens its doors to more than 40,000 fans from around the world. Even with all of the excitement and energy surrounding the games, guests will enjoy Curitiba’s hidden gems, including its urban parks and city center.

Curitiba, the City with Sustainable Living
With existing public policies that focus on sustainability in urban public areas, the city of Curitiba is at the forefront of environmentally friendly living. These policies helped build and maintain 30 parks and forests, and the government’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the United Nations Environment Program, who awarded Curitiba a prestigious award for its recycling waste project.

To start your tour of Curitiba’s urban parks, we recommend going to the Parque de Pedreiras (Quarries Park) where the marvelous Ópera de Arame (Wire Opera House) is located. This gorgeous, translucent structure is built out of steel tubes and is full of windows, and it only took an impressive 75 days to construct.

The Jardim Botanico de Curitiba (Botanical Garden of Curitiba) is free to the public. Visitors can admire the various species of flora and fauna preserved by the State of Paraná. In the garden, there is an  architectural structure similar to the Ópera de Arame that is constructed out of cast-iron and plate glass, but it is a 4,930-square-foot greenhouse. Inspired by London’s Crystal Palace, this greenhouse is surrounded by the botanical garden’s vibrant-colored flowers, carefully manicured green areas and peaceful water fountains.

Foz do Iguacu (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Wonderful  Foz do Iguaçu
The Foz do Iguaçu (Iguaçu Falls) are a marvelous natural landmark that should not to be missed. Ciagangue Indian legend has it that a god named M’boy, who was shaped like a serpent and lived in the Rio Iguaçu (River Iguaçu), had fallen in love with a tribe chief’s daughter, Naipi. Even though Naipi was promised to M’Boy, she was madly in love with a tribal warrior named Taraba. The day of the wedding, Taraba stole Naipi and they traveled down the river to escape the god’s wrath. When M’boy discovered the betrayal of the couple, he sought revenge by splitting the two lovers with an enormous gorge, which is now named the Garganta do Diabo (Devil’s Throat). The Garganta do Diabo is the tallest waterfall found in the Parque Nacional do Iguacu (Iguacu National Park).

The Parque Nacional do Iguaçu is situated where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet, and where the Rio Iguaçu forms the border for Brazil and Argentina. Foz do Iguaçu was formed by volcanic activity more than 100 million years ago, and it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The falls have also been recognized as one of the 7 landmarks listed as the New7Wonders of Nature.

The park is spread across 457,794 acres and is home to more than 250 waterfalls. Although Iguacu National Park is located 400 miles from Curitiba, we recommend that people add it to their itinerary when visiting this host city for the World Cup games.

Multicultural Roots
Curitiba owes its unique blend of cultural influences to its German, Italian, Ukrainian and Polish immigrants that settled in Brazil in the 19th century. As a result, there are many memorials and tributes built to honor these countries and immigrants. One of these sites is the Bosque Alemão (German Woods), which includes a trail through the forest, a children’s library, German-inspired cottages and an overlook to view the Serra do Mar (Saw of Sea). The Parque São Lourenço is another great spot to go for a leisurely bike trip around the lake and through the Araucaria pine trees in the forest. Visitors can also enjoy some down time with family and friends at the Bosque Joao Paulo II, a park named after and blessed by Pope John II in 1980. The park also has a Memorial da Imigracao Polonesa (Memorial for Polish Immigrations) where festivals take place to commemorate the Polish culture brought over decades ago by immigrants. Aside from these cultural sites, there is a square that opened in 2010, which serves as a Memorial Africano (African Memorial) with 54 columns that represent the 54 African countries. Locals usually go here to enjoy the outdoors, play games and participate in friendly soccer matches.

Significant Historical Artifacts
When traveling around Brazil, it’s hard not to notice the architectural influence Oscar Niemeyer had on the country and the world. In Curitiba, people can educate themselves and admire his famous work and designs at the Museu Oscar Niemeyer (Oscar Niemeyer Museum). Niemeyer built the museum himself at the age of 95. He was praised for his innovative designs and the museum that holds more than 3,000 Modernism masterpieces, along with works of other renowned Brazilian artists such as Tarsila do Amaral and Cândido Portinari.

To find some of Curitiba’s older hidden gems, people should wonder to the Centro Histórico (Historical Center) where they will find historical buildings and sites, including the Casa de Romário Martins, Relógio das Flores and Lago da Ordem. On Sundays, there are handicrafts fairs in the Historical Center where people can buy handmade souvenirs.  Locals and tourists can also make their way over to the Solar do Barão, a cultural complex in the city center where several museums are centrally located, including the Museu da Fotografia (Museum of Photography), Museu da Gravura (Museum of Engravings) and Museu do Cartaz (Museum of Posters). And if you’re a big comic fan, the complex also has a library with a collection of 45,000 comic books.

Photo Courtesy of Embratur

Food and Nightlife
Local dishes in Curitiba have a European influence. For example, Carne de Onça, seasoned raw beef rump roast, served on top of corn bread, is a traditional appetizer that originated from Eastern Europe and is usually served at local bars. In the neighborhood of Santa Felicidade (Saint of Happiness), Italian immigrants settled into the city years ago, and as a result, this area has several authentic Italian restaurants that stay true to their roots. We recommend trying the chicken with fried polenta — a traditional Italian dish in Curitiba. The Portuguese also introduced a dish called Barreado — meat cooked for 20 hours and served with rice and cassava flour.

For a night out on the town, there are plenty of bars in downtown Curitiba and the luxe neighborhood of Batal to choose from. For alternative plans, people can buy tickets to a concert or performance at the Teatro Guaíra (Guaíra Theater), the largest theater in Latin America where the Symphony Orchestra of Paraná, the Balé Teatro Guaíra (Guaíra Ballet Theater) and the Teatro de Comédia do Paraná (Theater of Comedy of Paraná) perform.

– By the Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur)


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