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São Paulo Tours

Historical Center

Brazil Travel / São Paulo – The historic (and geographical) centre of downtown São Paulo is the area around the See Metropolitan Cathedral at Praça da Sé, one of the five largest gothic temples in the world.

It can be subdivided into an older and a newer part which are separated by Vale do Anhangabaú a former river that now has been canalized. Two art deco viaducts, Chá (1892) and Santa Ifigênia (1913), connect both parts of the historic centre. From the latter, there is a good view on Mirante do Vale (1960), with 170 m Brazil's tallest building.

The older part (east of Vale do Anhangabaú) is centered around Pátio do Colégio (with a replica of the Padre Anchieta basilica), the official birth place of São Paulo (see history). It contains several remodelled churches, originally from the 16th century, such as Carmo (1596), São Bento (1600), (1616) or São Francisco (1647). At the São Bento Monastery, the holy mass is celebrated in Gregorian chant. Solar da Marquesa is a residential aristrocatic building from 1834 which was built by Taipá de Pilão. Edifício Martinelli (130 m), built by Italian immigrants in 1929, was the first skyscraper of São Paulo.

Nowadays, the older part of the historic centre became also the financial district of São Paulo, hosting Bovespa, the largest stock exchange in South America and most of the country's largest banks. Edifício Altino Arantes (1947) which is actually owned by Banespa Bank is a replica of the Empire State Building in New York.

Until the end of the 19th century, the newer part of the historic center (west of Vale do Anhangabaú) was a tea farm (chacara do chá) that was owned by the Baron of Itapetininga. In memory of these times, Rua Barão de Itapetininga connects nowadays Praça da República (1902) with the Teátro Municipal (1911). Close to Praça da República is s - shaped Edifício Copan (140 m), Brazil's largest concrete building, constructed in 1966 by Oscar Niemeyer. From Terraço Italia (168 m) at Edifício Italia (1956) there is a fantastic view over São Paulo and to Serra da Cantareira – Brazil Tours / Trekking.

See also: São Paulo City Tour.