Jesuits from distant Portugal founded Sao Paulo in the mid-16th century primarily for spreading Christianity amongst local inhabitants. It was a small town and remained so for two hundred years.
Sao Paulo then began to grow and become prosperous from the highly profitable coffee plantations owned by early Portuguese settlers. They invested their surplus capital in the emerging industrial enterprises and became more prosperous to make Sao Paulo Brazil’s leading industrial and financial center and the world’s third and South America’s largest city. It now threatens to dislodge its own Brazilian rival and perhaps more flamboyant – and definitely immensely notorious – Rio de Janeiro to be counted as South America’s most popular tourist destination.
Sao Paulo is a mind-boggling huge megalopolis. Its 11 million-strong people with sizeable minority communities from distant countries like Latin Europe, West Asia, Middle East and Japan have made the city vibrate with cosmopolitan culture. It is the people who make Sao Paulo an attractive and loveable city for the travelers.
Sao Paulo has excellent shopping opportunities in organized malls. Fashion conscious travelers will find the boutiques tempting. But weekend flea markets are most entertaining, whether just to get dazzled or buying jewelry stones, paintings or local handicrafts like leather items, wood-carving or knitted laces that Brazilian ladies love to use on their clothes.
Most attractive part of Sao Paulo is the downtown area. This is where the Jesuits first set up their Mission for proselytizing purposes and it is also here where early settlers established their colony. Start your excursion at the recently renovated of Se Cathedral and get enthralled at its architectural splendor. Then walk to Patio de Colegio, the living quarters of the missionaries. Don’t miss the 18th century Solar de Marquesa de Santos on the other side of the road. Walk further up through the crowded business districts and head towards Largo do Sao Francisco where the Law School of Sao Paulo is now located.
When you are tired, go to the nearest restaurant and get your battery recharged and start your marathon walk again. Take to the busy streets again and head towards Largo do Sao Bento where the church of the same name is located and still is a functional monastery.
You should visit Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo. This museum has a fairly large collection of paintings from the Renaissance to Modern period. It portals also give you an opportunity to marvel at the panoramic view of the magnificent city. An interesting and lively flea market comes up outside the Museum where you can buy excellent pseudo antiques at reasonable price.
Besides football, the most popular game in Brazil, Sao Paulo is famous for its wide range of cuisine representing the country’s different ethnic communities. The city offers a lively nightlife and, Brazilians being musical, the nightclubs play a variety of music – from jazz to various other beats including disco.
Come to Sao Paulo and enjoy a great travel experience. You may not like to return home without visiting its competitor, Rio de Janeiro.