Federal District (Brazil)

Federal District
Distrito Federal
Federal district


Coat of arms
"To the coming winds"

Location of Federal District in Brazil
Coordinates: 15°47′42″S 47°45′28″W / 15.79500°S 47.75778°W / -15.79500; -47.75778Coordinates: 15°47′42″S 47°45′28″W / 15.79500°S 47.75778°W / -15.79500; -47.75778
Country  Brazil
Seat of government Brasília
  Governor Rodrigo Rollemberg (PSB)
  Total 5,802 km2 (2,240 sq mi)
Area rank 27th
Population (November 2016)[1]
  Total 2,998,553
  Rank 20th
  Density 520/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
  Density rank 1st
Demonym(s) Brasiliense
  Year 2006 estimate
  Total R$ 189,800,000,000 (8th)
  Per capita R$ 45,600 (1st)
  Year 2010
  Category 0.824 very high (1st)
Time zone BRT (UTC−03:00)
  Summer (DST) BRST (UTC−02:00)
Postal code 70000-000 to 73690-000
ISO 3166 code BR-DF
Website df.gov.br

The Federal District (Portuguese: Distrito Federal; Portuguese pronunciation: [dʒisˈtɾitu fedeˈɾaw][2]) is one of 27 federative units of Brazil. Located in the Central Plateau of the Brazilian Highlands, the Federal District is divided into 31 administrative regions, and contains the Brazilian capital city, Brasília, which is also the seat of government of the Federal District. The capital — the seat of the three branches of the federal government of Brazil (legislative, executive and the judiciary) — is the main attraction of this dry area, whose climate has only two seasons. During the dry season (winter), the humidity can reach critical levels, mainly in the peak hours of the hottest days. The artificial Paranoá Lake, with almost 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and 500 million cubic metres (410,000 acre·ft) of water, was built to minimize the severe dry, climatic conditions of winter in the Cerrado vegetation.


The capital of Brazil was transferred from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília on 21 April 1960 and its new territory was split off from Goiás. After the transfer the old Federal District (1891-1960) became Guanabara state, the only city-state Brazil ever had so far. This existed from 1960 until 1975 when it merged with Rio de Janeiro state. With the merge, the capital was transferred back from Niterói to Rio de Janeiro, as it was until 1834 when the empire created the Neutral Municipality.


According to the IBGE of 2007, there were 2,393,000 people residing in the Federal District. The population density was 410.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,064/sq mi).



In area, the Federal District is more than double the size of Tokyo (Japan) or the island of Maui (Hawaii, USA). It is slightly larger than French Polynesia, the US State of Rhode Island, or Cape Verde. It is slightly smaller than Bali (Indonesia) or Trinidad and Tobago.

Tourism and recreation

The "Parque da Cidade" ("City Park") in Brasília
Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brasília
The Parque da Cidade

Located in Brasília, the "Parque da Cidade" ("City Park"), which is named after the wife of Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek, extends over four million square meters. It includes landscape works of Burle Marx, and wall tiles that decorate restrooms in the park designed by Athos Bulcão. Equipped with sports courts, a horse track, a racing kart track, skate tracks, playgrounds for children, bicycle tracks and trails for walks and jogging, the City Park attracts hundreds of people everyday, specially on weekends. The park's main entrance is located in the Monumental Axis South, but there are secondary exits that lead to other areas in the city's south wing.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia

Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, it was inaugurated in 1970. Its shape is circular horizontally and structured around 16 curved pillars, forming a crown filled with futuristic and/or spatial stained-glass works in a triangular shape. The pillars evoke reversed praying hands that deconstruct the gothic traditional church window pattern, but conserves the triangular vaginal shape of the stained-glasses. The curves present in many of Niemeyer's works pay homage to the beautifully built bodies of Brazilian women.

The stained-glasses were designed by Marianne Peretti. Their disposition ensures natural lighting into the aisle, which was built below street level. Around the church, in the outside area, visitors can see Alfredo Ceschiatti's sculptures — the four evangelists — and inside, suspended angels. There are also paintings by Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, representing the stages of the Passion of Christ, and paintings by Athos Bulcão. The Cathedral is located in the Eixo Monumental mall, at the entry to the Esplanada dos Ministerios, or Ministries Sector.

The "Three Powers Square"

Praça dos Três Poderes concentrates some of the most important and significant buildings in the work and career of Oscar Niemeyer — the Planalto Palace, headquarters of Brazilian Presidency; the National Congress, hosting the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate; and the Higher Courts of Justice. The Square also hosts: the Panteão da Pátria (Pantheon of the Fatherland), the Lúcio Costa Space and three important sculptures — "Pombal", by Niemeyer; "Justice", by Alfredo Ceschiatti; and "Os Candangos", by Bruno Giorgi. In the central plaza, a giant Brazilian national flag 286 square meters (3,080 sq ft) is supported by a triangular black 100-meter (330 ft) and high pole. It is located at the end of the Esplanada dos Ministerios.


Esplanade of the Ministries and Central Bus Station in Brasília


The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 92.5%, followed by the industrial sector at 7.1%. Agriculture represents 0.4% of GDP (2004). Federal District exports: soybean 77.1% and gold 16.4% (2002). The Federal District's share of the Brazilian economy is 3.7% as of 2005.


National Museum of Brasília

Educational institutions


International Airport

Brasília International Airport is the third largest in Brazil in terms of passenger movement. Because of its strategic location it is considered a civil aviation hub for the rest of the country. This makes for a large number of takeoffs and landings and it is not unusual for flights to have to wait in the holding pattern to land. Following the airport's master plan, Infraero built a second runway in 2005. In 2003, the fourth phase of the passenger terminal expansion was completed. It raised its capacity to 7.4 million passengers a year. The third floor of the main building, with 12 thousand square meters, has a panoramic deck, a food court, shops, four movie theaters with total capacity of 500 people, and space for exhibitions. There are a total of 136 shop spots at the Brasília Airport.


There is an rapid transit system, the Brasília Metro, serving some cities. It is operated by Metrô-DF (Companhia do Metropolitano do Distrito Federal) and was inaugurated in 2001. The system has 29 stations (24 in operation)[4] on two lines, and operates from 06:00 to 23:30, Monday to Friday and from 07:00 to 19:00 on weekends. It serves the southern half of Brasília and the main cities to the west. Its main problem is the large distance between many of the stations caused by the low housing density for such a system. This makes it a small component in the Federal District transit system where a low efficiency bus network is still predominant. Águas Claras is well served by the metro, making it one of the fastest growing areas and the most dense in the Federal District.

Trains 32
Total Extension 42.38 km (26.33 miles)[5]
Operational Stations 24
Total Stations 29

The non-operational stations include stations under construction and mothballed stations (complete and under construction) awaiting higher density.


Free Flying

Brasília is known as a departing point for the practice of free flying sports, a sport that may be practiced with Hang Gliding or Paragliding wings. Practitioners of such sports reveal that, because of the city's dry weather, the city offers strong thermal winds and great "cloud-streets" – which is also the name for a manoeuvre quite appreciated by practitioners. The national capital hosted the 14th Hang Gliding World Championship – one of the categories of free flying – in 2003. In August 2005, it hosted the 2nd stage of the Brazilian Hang Gliding Championship.

Brasília is one of the 12 cities that hosted the games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which took place in the country.


The flag of the Federal District

The white background of the flag stands for peace, and gives the idea of infinity, or the vast Brazilian territory. The green and yellow colours in the middle refer to the most commonly used of the four colours of the national flag to represent Brazil. The four yellow arrows symbolize the native nations of Brazil, whereas their pointing into the four cardinal directions of the compass stands for the centralized emanating political power of Brasilia, as the capital of the country. The yellow arrows also form a cross, which symbolizes both the Southern Cross, a constellation seen only in the Southern Hemisphere and the Roman Catholic or Christian symbol of redemption brought by Pedro Álvares Cabral and under whose shadow the first Mass in Brazil was celebrated in 1500 in Bahia. With their feathers, the arrows form a lozange in the middle, a reference to yellow lozange of the national flag, that stands for Brazil's mineral riches.

The flag was created by the poet and herald Guilherme de Almeida, and was adopted by decree n.o 1090 on August 25, 1969.

Voting rights

The Federal District has eight seats in the Chamber of Deputies[6] and three in the Federal Senate.[7] Its population also votes its governor and districtal deputies, but not regional administrators, which are appointed by the governor itself, respecting the government centrality of the Federal District.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Distrito Federal (Brasil).
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Distrito Federal (Brazil).
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