Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌbɛloɾiˈzõtʃi], lit. “Beautiful Horizon”) is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeastern region of the country. As of 2013, the municipality’s population is 2,479,175, making it the most populous city in Minas Gerais state and the sixth most populous city in the country. However the city’s metropolitan area, the “Greater Belo Horizonte”, is home of more than 5.15 million inhabitants (excluding the “Metropolitan Attach”, or the “Expanded Metro area” which adds more than 650,000 people), making it the third most populous urban agglomeration in Brazil, after only the Greater São Paulo City and the Greater Rio de Janeiro.
The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington, D.C. The city has employed notable programs in urban revitalization and food security, for which it has been awarded international accolades.
The city is built on several hills and is completely surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The Mangabeiras Park (Parque das Mangabeiras), located 6 km (4 mi) south-east from the city centre in the hills of Curral Ridge (Serra do Curral), has a very broad view of the city. It has an area of 2.35 km2 (580 acres), of which 0.9 km2 (220 acres) is covered by the native forest. The Jambeiro Woods (Mata do Jambeiro) nature reserve extends over 912 hectares (2,250 acres), with vegetation typical of the Atlantic forest. More than one hundred species of birds inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammals.
Clube da Esquina is one of the most important musical movements in the musical history of Brazil. It originated in the mid-1960s, and since then its members have been hugely influential in Brazilian and even international music, some like Milton Nascimento and Toninho Horta achieving worldwide acclaim. Other people involved in the movement include musicians, songwriters, composers, conductors and lyricists, such as Tavinho Moura, Wagner Tiso, Andersen Viana, Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges, Beto Guedes, Flávio Venturini, Toninho Horta, Márcio Borges and Fernando Brant, among others.
The band Uakti – known for performing with self-built musical instruments – originated in Belo Horizonte under the influence of Walter Smetak and the Composition School from Bahia. Also, several nationally famous rock groups have been founded in Belo Horizonte, including Jota Quest, Pato Fu, Skank, 14 Bis and Tianastácia. In later years, Belo Horizonte has been more frequently included in Brazilian tours of foreign mainstream and independent acts.
Belo Horizonte is also known as the Brazilian Capital of Metal, hence the huge number of heavy metal bands (and the likes) founded there, especially in the 1980s. Most importantly, Overdose, the first metal band from BH and one of the first to gain prominence in Brazil; Sepultura, the world’s best known Brazilian metal band; and Sarcófago, one of the founders of modern black metal. The contemporary Christian music band Diante do Trono, is also of Belo Horizonte.
Belo Horizonte features a number of museums including the Mineiro Museum, the Abílio Barreto Historic Museum, Arts and Workmanship Museum, a Natural History Museum and the UFMG Botanic Gardens, a telephone museum, the Pampulha Art Museum, the Professor Taylor Gramke Mineralogy Museum, and the UFMG Conservatory. The puppet theatre group Giramundo was established here in 1970, and continues to maintain a puppetry museum hosting a collection of their creations.

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