São Paolo - seventh largest city by populationIt has been seen and spoken of in many movies. It is also the largest city not only in Brazil but in all of South America. It is named in honor of Saint Paul. It is also home to several stock markets and some of the tallest buildings in Brazil and South America.


First settled in 1532, Sao Paulo was the first permanent Portuguese colony in the new world. In 1554, many missionaries arrived to spread Christianity to the colony and it remains a religious center today with 75% of the city being Catholic. It officially became a city in 1711. In 1888 the city saw a large number of Spanish, Portuguese, and European immigrants in the city as a response to abolition. There is also a large Italian population still present in the city today. Between 1920 and 1940 the city saw incredible economic growth, population growth and building and construction were a constant. 

Random Facts

  • There are more than 10,000,000 vehicles in the city
  • The city has 34 daily newspapers
  • Its foundation date was January 25, 1554
  • It is the 20th ranked global city.
  • It has the largest fleet of helicopters in the world.
  • It’s urban area is 1,968 km²
  • Air passenger traffic in 2010 was 47,723,894, the largest in Southern Hemisphere
  • The city is the 3rd in the world in number of high rise buildings with 5,644
  • The ninth most luxurious street in the world is located in the city, the Oscar Freire Street.
  • Rail passenger traffic per day is 6 million passengers
  • The Centro Comercial Leste Aricaduva is the largest shopping center in Latin America, 365,000 m²
  • The Hospital das Clinicas of the University of Sao Paulo is the largest hospital complex in Latin America with 352,000m2²
  • São Paulo is the 6th city with most billionaires in the world
  • Sao Paulo is the world’s 10th richest city in 2008 with one GDP of $388 billion, only behind New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and Chicago
  • In 2010 the daily average of traffic peak during the afternoons reached 110 km
  • The 2011 Miss Universe pageant was held in Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo Pancake Cook Off

One of the major events held in Sao Paulo, the Pancake Cook off is held annually in the city center. It is a huge festival ever summer where thousands of amateur chefs come to compete.

Sao Paulo Fashion Week

By far the most important fashion event in South America, fashion week attracts all of the major Brazilian models. Gisele Bündchen, Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Fernanda Tavares, and Ana Beatriz Barros are just some of the big names in attendance.

Internation Film Festival

The Sao Paulo International Film Festival is held annually in the city since 1976. Today it continues to be one of the most important film festivals in both Brazil and all of South and Central America.

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