Curitiba - Brazil

Curitiba - Brazil
Photo: Augusto Janiscki Junior

Curitiba is one of the most important cities in the southern part of Brazil. Curitiba is the capital of the state of Paraná. The city has more than 1,800,000 people living in it. It covers an area of 430.9 km². It is the 7th largest Brazilian city and 4th largest in the Southern Cone (the south part of South America). The city has the largest population and the largest economy in Southern Brazil. The urban area of Curitiba is looked after by 26 local governments and has 3,335,588 people living there.

Curitiba started in 1693 as a small village. It became an important trading stop because a road was opened. The road joined the southeast area to Southern Brazil. In 1853, it became the capital of the newly made province of Paraná. Since then, the city has seen a lot of urban growth. During the 19th century, many European people arrived, including Germans, Poles, Ukrainians and Italians. They added to the cultural mix that still is there. The city made plans and laws to slow the growth of the city and that led to the city being famous for its new ideas and connection to the environment. Most of the new ideas had to do with the public transport system. Today, the city has a sense of cosmopolitan life and is said to be the safest city in Brazil. It is the Brazilian capital with the best quality of life and is a diversified industrial center that gives Curitiba the rank of 4th largest economy in Brazil; the largest in the southern region. The city is said to be one of the five best cities to invest in Latin America and the 49th city with the greatest influence in the world.

Large companies have moved their headquarters to the city because of Curitiba's structure, its international airport, which serves the whole southern region (the Afonso Pena International Airport), its access to the Port of Paranaguá, and the junction of highways and railroads linking the south region directly to the southeast of the country. Many multinational automotive (car) companies are in Greater Curitiba, which makes Curitiba the second largest automotive center in the country. Curitiba is an important cultural, political, and economic center in the country.

Curitiba has high rates of education and is home to the oldest Brazilian university, the Federal University of Paraná. People from Curitiba are called curitibanos in Portuguese, and Curitibans in English.