Pantanal wetland (World Heritage)

World Heritages in Brazil Part 1

Ensemble of Modernism in Pampulha (World Heritage)

The Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer is one of the most renowned architects of the 20th century. The best known are his designs for the representative buildings in Brasília. After the Brazilian capital was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1987, the complex of buildings built according to his plans in Pampulha, a district of Belo Horizonte, also received the coveted UNESCO award in 2016.

Ensemble of Modernism in Pampulha: Facts

Official title: Ensemble of Modernism in Pampulha
Cultural monument: Building ensemble on an artificial lake, consisting of a casino, dance pavilion, yacht club and the São Francisco de Assis church
Continent: America
Country: Brazil
Location: Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais
Appointment: 2016
Meaning: outstanding example of the modern style, which illustrates the interplay of a global architectural movement with local influences and conditions

Unusual shapes, bold constructions

Oscar Nieymeyer was born in Rio de Rio de Janeiro in 1907. In 1936, Lúcio Costa and Le Corbusier involved the young architect in planning the new building for the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro – a collaboration that had a lasting impact on Niemeyer. Four years later, he and the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx were commissioned to design the promenade of the man-made lake in the Pampulha district. Niemeyer designed a casino (now the Museum of Modern Art), a dance pavilion, the yacht club and the São Francisco de Assis church in a modern design language with sloping walls and soft contours – and thus had found his style. “I am not drawn to the right angle, nor to the straight, hard, inflexible line that man has created. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the meandering course of its rivers, in the clouds of the sky, in the body of the beloved woman. The whole universe is made of curves.

The crowning masterpiece of the modern ensemble was the Church of São Francisco de Assis. But what is one of the special sights of Belo Horizonte today was indignantly rejected by the church authorities after its completion in 1943. The Archbishop of Belo Horizonte saw in the four mighty concrete domes, the outer facades of which are adorned with artistic azulejos by the Brazilian painter Cândido Portinari, a “bomb shelter of the devil”. So it took over 15 years until the futuristic church without supporting beams and columns was officially inaugurated and the first mass was celebrated.

Valongo-Kai Archaeological Site (World Heritage)

In today’s old port area of ​​Rio de Janeiro, construction of a stone quay began in 1811 to land slaves from Africa destined for the South American continent. The Valongo Wharf (Cais do Valongo) was in operation until 1831. It is estimated that around 700,000 to 900,000 slaves from Africa came to America through it – more than any other port quay in the world.

At the beginning of the 1840s, a new quay, the Cais da Imperatriz, was built over the old pier in honor of the future wife of the Emperor of Brazil. According to zipcodesexplorer, at the beginning of the 20th century, the quarter and the historic site had to give way to a boulevard. But the Valongo quay has been open to the public since 2010, as its remains were uncovered in the course of the port renovation.

Valongo-Kai Archaeological Site: Facts

Official title: Valongo-Kai archaeological site
Cultural monument: Remains of a port quay where hundreds of thousands of African slaves were brought ashore in South America at the beginning of the 19th century
Continent: South America
Country: Brazil
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Appointment: 2017
Meaning: most important evidence of the arrival of African slaves on the American continent

The harbor district as a place of remembrance

Just a few meters from the Valongo quay there is another memorial to the time of slavery: the »Cemetery of the Young Blacks« (Cemitério dos pretos novos), which was discovered in 1996 when a house was being renovated. Excavation work uncovered numerous bone remains of Africans who did not survive the crossing or who died shortly after they landed. They were buried in this place and their history forgotten. Today there is a memorial and research facility on the property, which aims to further process and remember the history of the slave trade in Rio des Janeiro.

Pantanal wetland (World Heritage)

The world heritage comprises four protected areas with a total area of ​​approx. 188,000 hectares in the headwaters of Cuiabá and Paraguay in the Pantanal. It is the largest inland wetland area on earth with numerous freshwater and saltwater lakes in the south. Large areas are under water during the flood period.

Pantanal wetland: facts

Official title: Pantanal wetland, protected area
Natural monument: Group of four protected areas with a total area of ​​1,878 km² one of the world’s largest wetlands and freshwater ecosystems; Headwaters of the Cuiabá and Paraguay
Continent: America
Country: Brazil
Location: Southwest of the state of Mato Grosso
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Extremely diverse vegetation and fauna; Key role in the supply of nutrients to the Amazon basin

Pantanal wetland (World Heritage)