Sao Paulo Geography and History

The history of Rio de Janeiro is a barometer of the extremes of the Brazilian history, the inequalities and the beauty all mashed into one. The history of São Paulo on the other hand is more a measure of the triumphs of Brazil in the face of its failures. The rise and fall of the coffee plantations, the overthrow of the monarchy and the perseverance of multiculturalism are mirrored in the throbbing hub of Paulistano life.

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São Paulo, colloquially known as ‘Sampa’ or or “Cidade da Garoa” (“City of Drizzle”) began life in the sixteenth century thanks to a bunch of persistent Jesuit priests intent on spreading their own unique take on Christianity—a story familiar in many corners of the world. The Tupi-Guarani tribes were the target audience, stubbornly clinging to their original faith in the face of a European tsunami of missionaries and plunderers. The village of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga was thus founded 68 kilometers inland from the Atlantic coast. As the Portuguese settlements grew exponentially the fledgling city grew alongside, particularly in the wake of the coffee rush—the major basis for Brazil’s economy right up until the beginning of the 20th century
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Today Sao Paulo is the most exciting city in Brazil. Energy radiates from the center outwards, fueling paulistanos with a will to work hard and party harder into the wee hours of the morning. In Sao Paulo you start the party at midnight and carry on until dawn, pausing to take a short break before heading to work in the morning traffic. Not for the faint-hearted or weak willed it might be. But the essence of a city is the vibrancy of the people who live there, and Sao Paulo is more a melting pot of cultural riches than any other city in Brazil, even the famed Rio.
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The art scene in Sao Paulo is famed throughout the Americas. Home studios and closet galleries pop up on every corner and local artists are rising through the ranks of international art circles to place Sao Paulo above other traditional centres of artistic excellence as a birthplace of some of the most exciting new hopes of the art world. The monster of the Brazilian art scene, the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, rises above the traffic on Avenue Paulista on its stilts as if to stake a claim on the spirit of the city.
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The climate of the city is similar to that of Sydney and Los Angeles, that is temperate to warm most of the year round, only blisteringly hot occasionally and freezing cold almost never. Rainfall is more common during the warmer months of October to February and in the period of late winter, especially in August, the city can experience the phenomenon known as “little summer” or “verãozinho” when temperatures can rise to above 28 degrees celcius in the middle of the coldest time of the year. Due to its high altitude (799 meters above sea level), Sao Paulo can experience bizarre variations in weather, akin to all four seasons in the space of a single day. 

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