Porto Alegre is the largest city and the capital of Río Grande do Sul, the southernmost Brazilian state and is set to host some of the World Cup Brazil 2014's matches. Founded on the shore of the river Guaíba in 1742 by Portuguese settlers, Porto Alegre is today a very joyful and prosperous city. The statue of the gaucho "El Lançador" is Porto Alegre's symbol. The "gauchos" inhabited the South American pampas, they roamed on horseback well before any of the countries in the continent had been given a name. The region is known for the production of "erba mate", a type of tea leaf that is famously used in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina for the preparation of different beverages. The local variety is called "chimarrão". Porto Alegre has a lot to offer to its visitors while no match is on, read on to find out!
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Moinhos de Vento park
The Moinhos de Vento park, also known by locals as "Parçao" (literally "Big Park", for it is the biggest park in the city) is a 40 square mile park, which owes its original name to the Portuguese settlers who founded the city and installed windmills on this location. It hosts a man-made lake that has, since then, turned into the perfect habitat for fish, tortoise, geese and many other native species. It's one of the favourite sites of tourists and locals alike, and is the perfect place to go for a stroll, on a date or simply relax and enjoy the park's natural tranquillity.
Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art
When in Porto Alegre, one of the places not to miss is the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art. Located on the avenue Praça da Alfandega, in the old town, it's one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in the city. It wasn't originally a museum, though, but the headquarters of the Fiscal Surveillance Agency. The building was handed over to the museum's administration in 1978 and has since then expanded its collection to around three thousand works of art by national and foreign artists, most of them donations, which comprise the largest public collection of art in the state.
Porto Alegre's Public Market is the place to visit if you want to try out authentic local cuisine surrounded by equally authentic local culture. The market was built in the French neoclassical style and first opened in 1869. Even if it caught fire and was flooded repeatedly through its history, it was restored at least as many times and the building stands today as it did on its inauguration. In addition to offering plenty regional goods in its more than 100 shops, the market houses several restaurants of traditional "gaucho" cuisine, while others offer the food related to the immigrants' traditions, the centennial "Navy Bar" and the internationally renowned ice cream parlour "Banca 40".
Rua dos Andradas
Porto Alegre begs to be thoroughly enjoyed and Rua dos Andradas, perhaps more commonly known by its previous name, Rua da Praia, is probably the best place to do it. It is the city's oldest street and, coincidentally, where some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the capital can be found. But Rua da Praia has much more than architecture to offer: restaurants, pubs, museums, shops, churches and street performers can all be found along this pedestrian street that will take you all the way from the city's centre to the Usina do Gasômetro, a former power plant that now houses four art galleries and a cinema.