In the late 1950s, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil and much of the interior of Brazil, especially the highlands where Brasilia is now located, were under-utilized. Wanting to promote economic growth in the interior of the country, the President invited the best of the country's architects to compete to design a new capital in the highlands, and Niemeyer's blueprints won the honor.
On a Brasilia city tour, you can view the layout of the center of the city, which resembles an airplane with concentric highways spanning out from the center like airport runways. Many of the unique buildings, such as the National Congress Building, have strong lines and curves, which Niemeyer claimed were symbolic of the Brazilian female figure. The Supreme Court, Presidential Palace, and Presidential Residene also display Niemeyer's signature "pillar" design, which makes the buildings appear suspended in the air. Another famous work of Niemeyer's is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia, featuring vertical curved lines that seem to reach for the heavens.
Another reason to take a Brasilia city tour is to explore the surrounding region, which is now flourishing. Covering 988 acres, the Parque da Cidade is the largest urban park in the world. You can take a waterboat on Paranoá Lake, and see the Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, known as the JK Bridge. There's also the Botanical Garden, which spans another 1300 acres and is home to a variety of native Brazilian flora. Stroll through these parks and enjoy its many walking trails. Also check out the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, located about 1 hour from the city. This area has palm groves, marshes, and waterfalls that are a haven to many animals, such as capybaras and toucans.
It's easy to combine a Brasilia city tour with many other destinations in Brazil. Brasilia is a great stop-over between Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon Rainforest, as well as the Pantanal wetlands. Cuiaba, the gateway to the Pantanal, is located 2 hours west of Brasilia, and the Amazon Rainforest basin is also accessible from Brasilia with a 3 hour flight to Manaus. Show Less