The states of Amazonas (largest Brazilian state), Pará, Acre, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá and Tocantins cover 3,887,800 square km, but have a total of no more than 10,157,000 inhabitants. The north consists almost entirely of dense rainforest. As a result of road construction and extensive clearing by fire, undisturbed nature can no longer be spoken of in some regions. The Transamazonika road runs 5000 km across the Amazon region, parallel to the river from east to west. The Amazon, one of the largest rivers in the world, carries twelve times as much water as the Mississippi. It is 6577 km long and has over 200 tributaries. Amazon trips from Iquitas (Peru) to Manaus are possible.
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Manaus, the capital of the Amazon, is a free trade zone. The neo-classical façade of the Amazonas Theater, completed in 1896, is worth seeing. The interior is in Art Nouveau style. The dome, with blue, red, green, and yellow tiles, can be seen throughout the city and is a good landmark. The Amazon and its tributaries invite to boat trips and fishing trips. The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world. Its territory covers 40% of the total area of Brazil. It is home to 1800 different bird species and 250 mammal species, the most plant and animal species in the world. The Amazon rainforest produces 50% of the world’s oxygen supply. The Amazon Basin and its foothills provide 20% of the world’s fresh water. There are a lot of aquatic plants here. The best known are the Victoria Régina water lilies, which can reach a diameter of up to two meters. 1500 species of fish live in this river system. In Belém there are magnificent churches, a beautiful zoo and a large weekly market. The Basilica of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré, scene of the annual »Círio de Nazaré«, is particularly worth seeing. The Goeldi Museum has the world’s largest collection of exotic plants. Ilha de Marajó (Marajó Island) was the cradle of the Marajoara civilization. If you are lucky, you can see sea turtles laying eggs here. The village of Santarem is particularly interesting for anglers, in Rio Branco you will find a handicraft center. In Pôrto Velho you should visit the railway museum. Macapé is on the equator, where the Amazon flows into the sea. Boa Vista is known for its tropical trees.
The states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná cover an area of 577,800 square kilometers with 22.8 million inhabitants. The pleasant climate has attracted numerous European emigrants, especially Germans and Italians.
Rio Grande do Sul is one of the richest states in Brazil. Pôrto Alegre, the capital, has good museums and excellent art galleries. The city is situated in an extremely attractive landscape. The most visited beaches in the south are found in Tramandai (126 km from Pôrto Alegre) and Torres (209 km away). Gramado and Canela mountains are also popular. In the state of Santa Catarina, whose capital is Florianópolis being on an island, the best beaches are in Laguna, Itapema and Camboriú. The capital is connected to the mainland by two bridges. Nearby one finds the “German” towns of Blumenau, Brusque and Joinville. Coffee is grown almost exclusively in the state of Paraná. The train journey from the capital Curitiba to Paranaguá is an experience. Other interesting sights include Vila Velha (“Stone City”) and the famous Foz do Iguaçu. The Iguaçu Falls created by the confluence of the Paraná and Iguaçu rivers, 275 waterfalls fall from 60 m into the gorge and create a 30 m high spray. Boats drive up to the water masses, helicopter sightseeing flights allow the best view at close range. With the new luxury train Great Brazil Express you can get from Curitiba to the Iguaçu Falls in seven, eight or ten days and get to know the state of Paraná during the all-inclusive trip. Overnight stays are in 3 to 5 star hotels. You can get to Curitiba by plane from Rio de Janeiro.
The states of Goiás, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul cover an area of 1,900,000 square kilometers and have around 8 million inhabitants. Here the Araguaia flows through huge swamps. Extensive plantations and large herds of cattle determine the landscape.
The capital, Brasília (since 1960), was built by architects Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer at the behest of then-President Kubitschek, far from other inhabited areas on a vast clearing of jungle, and is widely known for its futuristic architecture. The city is generally celebrated as the »most modern capital on earth«. Its floor plan is in the shape of an airplane. The Cathedral Niemeyers is mostly underground and offers space for up to 40,000 believers. Particularly impressive are the Praça dos Três Poderes, the Pálacio do Planalto and the building of the National Congress.
Goiánia, 200 km to the south-west, serves as a departure point for trips to the Rio Araguaia, Bananal Island and the thermal springs of Caldas Novas.
Pantanal, the largest environmental protection area in Brazil, is located in Mato Grosso. The Rio Araguaia is known as an angler’s paradise. It has the largest number of fish species in the world. One can take one- or two-week cruises on so-calledBook boatels (floating hotels).