PORTO ALEGRE - RS - BRAZIL

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Porto Alegre, one of the largest cities in Brazil, is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul State. Population: 1,416,000 (2004). Metropolitan area: 3,500,000, the 4th largest of Brazil and about the 10th in South America.


The city is located at the conjunction of five rivers, among them Guaíba Lake(popularly known as a river). Although its origins date from the mid- 1700s, when immigrants from the Azores settled in the area, the city was officially established in 1809.

Before this, Porto Alegre was the port of Viamão on the shore of Guaíba Lake. Its ancient name was Porto dos Casais, and it was initially settled by Azorians.

Many families of settlers also came from Rio Grande, a military fortress at that time, and today the most important port of Rio Grande do Sul state.

Recently Porto Alegre hosted the called event GLOBALTECH Fair of sciencesand technology. It congregates institutions of al Latin America.

There are more than 70 neighborhoods and 2/3 of the population is concentrated in the Zona Norte (Northern Zone), where most of the economic activity, including the city center, is located.

Porto Alegre is the most important industrial center in southern Brazil, and a key city for Mercosul.

It also is a center for Gaúcho(the popular name for natives of the State) history and culture, famous for its churrasco(grilled meat) and chimarrão(a strong tea prepared from erva mate).

Several important Brazilian universities, such as UFRGS and PUCRS are located here.

Because of its strategic position (Porto Alegre is the southernmost metropolis in Brazil) the city is an important stopping point for travellers and international businessmen in the south of South America, especially from the countries of Mercosul.

Porto Alegre is also one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America, and one of the most diverse. It has harbored immigrants from all over the world, the largest numbers coming from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. The Arabian, Jewish and Afro-Brazilian population is quite significant as well.

The climate is humid subtropical, with hot summers and mild winters and wet all year. The average temperature in January is 24,5°C (78ºF) and in July 14,3°C (58ºF), with record temperatures being 40,7°C in 1943 and -4,0°C in 1918. Snowfall is very rare, having been observed in the late 19th century, 1910, 1984 and 2000. Thunderstorms are very common.

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