Porto Alegre was founded in 1769 by Manuel Jorge Gomes de Sepúlveda, who used the pseudonym José Marcelino de Figueiredo to hide his identity; but the official date is 1772 with the act signed by immigrants from the Azores, Portugal. The vast majority of the population is of European descent.
The city lies on the eastern bank of the Guaíba River (also referred to as a lake), where five rivers converge to form the Lagoa dos Patos (Lagoon of the Ducks), a giant freshwater lagoon navigable by even the largest of ships. This five-river junction has become an important alluvial port as well as a chief industrial and commercial center of Brazil.
In recent years, Porto Alegre hosted the World Social Forum, an initiative of several non-government organizations. The city became famous for being the first city that implemented participatory budgeting. The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches was held in Porto Alegre in 2006. Since 2000, Porto Alegre also hosts one of the world's largest free software events, called FISL.
The city was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, having previously been a venue for the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
The official date of the foundation of the city of Porto Alegre is 26 March 1772 by Manuel Sepúlveda, when Freguesia de São Francisco do Porto dos Casais was created and changed a year later to Nossa Senhora da Madre de Deus de Porto Alegre. However, the village started in 1752, when 60 Azorean couples were brought over by the Treaty of Madrid in order to set up Missions at the Northeast Region of Rio Grande do Sul that was handed over to the Portuguese Crown in exchange for the Sacramento Colony located on the margin of the Plata River. Land demarcation took a long time and the Azoreans settled permanently at Porto de Viamão, which was the first name by which Porto Alegre went by.
On 24 July 1773, Porto Alegre became the capital city of the province, when the administration of Manuel Sepúlveda, who used the fictitious name or pseudonym José Marcelino de Figueiredo, to hide their identity, officially started. In 1824, immigrants from all over the world started arriving, especially German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Jewish, and Lebanese. This mosaic of diversity in appearance, ethnic origin, religions and languages is what makes Porto Alegre, nowadays with nearly 1.5 million inhabitants, a cosmopolitan and multicultural city. The city is an example of diversity and plurality.
The capital city of Rio Grande do Sul is also the capital city of the Pampas region, the name given to the region of fauna and flora typical of the vast plains that dominate the landscape of the South of Brazil, part of Argentina and Uruguay. This is where the Gaúcho comes from, the historical figure of a brave warrior that fought legendary battles and wars in the quest to conquer the borders of the Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain in the 16th century.
There were many wars, but it was the nineteenth century that marked its people, after they fought a long war for their independence from the Portuguese Empire. The Farrapos War started with the confrontation in Porto Alegre, near the Azenha bridge on 20 September 1835. Albeit terminated, this conflict etched in the pages of history the myth of the gaucho that is until our days praised in songs and celebrated in annual pageants and honored as names of streets and parks.
When the Farrapos War ended, the city continued to develop and underwent strong urban restructuring during the last decades of the 18th century, driven by the accelerated growth of port-related activities and shipyards. Its development continued over time and the city kept abreast with cultural, political and social events that were taking place within Brazil. Porto Alegre is the birthplace of great writers, intellectuals, artists, politicians, and episodes that marked the history of Brazil.
The city became known worldwide in 1963 through hosting the World University Games. In 1985, the people of Porto Alegre joined the movement for free elections and one of the largest demonstrations took place in the city.
The city is on a delta resulting from the junction of five rivers, officially called Guaíba Lake (popularly mentioned as a river, too). Although its origins date from the mid-18th century, when immigrants from the Azores settled in the area, the city was officially established in 1742. Porto Alegre is one of the wealthiest cities in Latin America and one of the most diverse. It has welcomed immigrants from all over the world, the largest numbers coming from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. There are also significant Arab and Jewish contingents among its population. The Afro-Brazilian population of the state is concentrated in the city.
Before this, Porto Alegre was the port of Viamão on the shore of Guaíba Lake. Its previous name was Porto dos Casais (Port of the Couples), and it was initially settled by Azorians. Many families of settlers came from the city of Rio Grande in the littoral Lagunar region, to the south, a military fortress at that time. Today Rio Grande is the most important port of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is also known as "Porto do Sol" (Port of the Sun) and "Cidade Sorriso" (Smile City). More than 70 neighborhoods (see below) are part of the city and two-thirds of the population are concentrated in the Zona Norte (Northern Zone), where most of the economic activity, including the city center, takes place.
Porto Alegre was the seat of the World Social Forum in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010. As the second largest city in southern Brazil, it is an important industrial center in the area. It is also a center for gaúcho (the popular name for natives of the state) history and culture, famous for its churrasco (barbecue) and chimarrão (a strong and hot tea prepared from erva mate). Important Brazilian universities, such as Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA) and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) are there. In 2000, the literacy rate was 97%. The high quality of life is one of the city's main features.
The city of Porto Alegre is located at the northern end of the large coastal lagoon, Lagoa dos Patos in southeastern Brazil. The city lies on the east bank of the mouth of the Rio Guaiba, the estuary of which forms the enormous freshwater lagoon, Lagoa dos Patos. It additionally serves as the state capital of Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.
Porto Alegre has a long coastline on the Guaíba Lake, and its topography is punctuated by 40 hills. In the lake, a vast body of water, a maze of islands facing the city creates an archipelago where a unique ecosystem gives shelter to abundant wildlife. The city area concentrates 28% of the native flora of Rio Grande do Sul, with 9,288 species. Among these, there are many trees which are the vestiges of the Atlantic Forest. Fauna are also diversified, specially in the islands and hills. The Portoalegrense environs include many parks, squares and wooded streets.
Porto Alegre is located in the subtropical zone and thus features a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in Köppen climate classification). Average precipitation is high and regular throughout the year. Summer temperatures often rise above 32 °C (90 °F) and high levels of humidity make the season very muggy. Subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Significant amounts of precipitation occur in all seasons in most areas. Most summer rainfall occurs during thunderstorms and an occasional tropical storm.
The city experiences the most prominent difference among seasons and between temperature extremes among all Brazilian capitals. One reason for that is the highest latitude, which also contributes for the occurrence of 14 hours of daylight in December and 10 hours in June. The population is occasionally dangerously exposed to extremely high UV radiation.
The winter is mild, windy, rainy and quite changeable, which is also a feature of this time of the year. Usual winter temperatures range from 10 °C (50 °F) to 19 °C (66 °F). In the coldest days of the year the temperature may fall slightly below zero, like in 2012, when it recorded −3 °C (27 °F) (according to AccuWeather; unofficial). Snow is very rare, sometimes confused with sleet.
The only snowfall events in Porto Alegre were in 1879, 1910, 1984, 1994, 2000 and 2006, albeit few of them with accumulation. Fall tends to be as changeable as winter, but is typically warmer. Spring, stabler akin to summer, is slightly drier than all the other seasons. Occurrence of radiation fog is common, causing several delays in early flights. Unlike other large Brazilian cities much farther north, notably Brasília, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro who observe a pronounced summer maximum in precipitation amounts, the city of Porto Alegre experiences a prominent winter maximum in precipitation values and cloud cover, for the summer season is primarily hot and dry; though evidently high humidity levels often give a distinct mugginess to the air and negatively impacts air quality. Annually Porto Alegre receives an average-total precipitation amount of 1,348 millimetres (53.1 in). This average makes the city slightly wetter than Rio at 1,172 millimetres (46.1 in) yet, to a considerable extent, drier than both São Paulo at 1,457 millimetres (57.4 in) and Brasilia at 1,557 millimetres (61.3 in).
The highest recorded temperature was 42.6 °C (108.7 °F) while the lowest recorded temperature was −4 °C (25 °F).
Porto Alegre lies in a transitional area between the subtropical forest and the Southern Brazilian grasslands (pampa). A number of conservation programmes have been established here to protect native trees. Many of the city's avenues have been planted with different tree species. One striking example of this is Teresópolis Avenue, where bottle trees have been planted. The city is covered in green vegetation and Lapacho and Jacaranda are the main species that can be found here. The trees from the hills are protected. Two environmental conservation areas can be found in this city: "Delta do Jacuí" (Jacuí Delta) State Park and Lami Biological Reserve.
The urban area has many parks and plazas, making Porto Alegre one of the greenest provincial capitals in Brazil. The first city squares date from the second half of the 18th century and were originally large public spaces used as food markets. The city has 39 km2 (9,600 acres) of green space, occupying 31 percent of the city's area. This is an average of 17.6 m² per person. More than one million trees line the public streets and SMAM plants an average of 30,000 seedlings each year. The four main parks are: Parque Farroupilha, a 37-hectare (91-acre) park; Jardim Botânico (The Botanical Garden of Porto Alegre), with some 725 species of vegetation on about 43 hectares (110 acres) of land; and Parque Marinha do Brasil (The Brazilian Navy's Park), a vast park of more than 70 hectares (170 acres) which offers a wide variety of sports fields and tracks. The city's cycleway is called the Caminho dos Parques, which at over 5 km (3 miles) long links the Moinhos do Vento, Farroupilha and Guaíba shore parks.
The Lami José Lutzenberger Biological Reserve was established in 1975 in the Lami neighborhood of Porto Alegre, named after the local agronomist and environmentalist José Lutzenberger. It was the first municipal reserve in Brazil. The reserve covers 179 hectares (440 acres). It reopened in April 2002 after being closed for more than ten years to allow its ecosystems to recover. The reserve conserves nature and supports research and environmental education.
Sewer service is available to 87.7 percent of the city, and with 100 percent of the population serviced by treated water. While in most Brazilian cities the water is supplied by large state companies, in Porto Alegre the Municipal Department of Water and Sanitation Services, (DMAE) is the provider. It is the largest municipal water supplier in the country and enjoys operational autonomy and financial independence. As a separate entity from the municipal government it can make its own decisions on how to invest revenues it has collected, and such decisions are not directly subject to interference from the municipality. It receives no subsidies and makes no payments to the municipality itself. As a municipal undertaking, DMAE enjoys tax-exempt status, which allows it to keep water prices lower.
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approves US$83.2 million to support the Integrated Socioenvironmental Program of Porto Alegre. The program will be carried out by the Municipal Department of Management and Strategic Support and will focus on: Improving water quality in Guaíba Lake and the Cavalhada River; Developing urban infrastructure to reduce flood risk along the Cavalhada River; Improving the environmental management in the Municipality of Porto Alegre; and Promoting efficient municipal water, sanitation and storm drainage services. This program will improve the quality of life of the population of Porto Alegre by restoring water quality along the west side of Lake Guaíba and directly benefitting more than 700,000 residents through expanded public sanitation services and urban environmental improvement.
The Jacuí estuary contains the Jacuí Delta State Park, which in turn contains the Banhados do Delta Biological Reserve, a fully protected area which covers the islands of Pólvora and Pombas.
Motor vehicles are responsible for the main atmospheric pollutant emissions. The city is the second in Brazil, after only São Paulo. The use of new buses along dedicated busways has decreased pollutants as there is less idling time. SMAM (the Municipal Council of the Environment) has encouraged the use of the cleanest fuels and has played a role in monitoring pollution levels.
A partnership between SMAM, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, the State Environmental Protection Foundation (FEPAM) and Petrobrás has created a network of five air monitoring stations in Porto Alegre. By utilizing a Petrobrás product called city diesel, sulphur levels in the air have dropped from 1.2 percent in 1989 to 0.5 percent. Hybrid buses which run on both diesel and electricity are also being considered for the future. Because Porto Alegre has a ready supply of natural gas, the city's taxi fleet is gradually being converted to it from gasoline.
According to the 2010 IBGE Census, there were 1,365,039 people residing in the city of Porto Alegre. The census revealed the following numbers: 1,116,659 White people (79.2%), 143,890 Black people (10.2%), 141,411 Pardo (Multiracial) people (10%), 4,062 Asian people (0.3%), 3,308 Amerindian people (0.2%). In 2010, the city of Porto Alegre was the 10th most populous city in Brazil. In 2010, the city had 269,519 opposite-sex couples and 1,401 same-sex couples. The population of Porto Alegre was 53.6% female and 46.4% male.
Porto Alegre is mostly composed of Brazilians of European descent. Its colonization started in the mid-18th century, mostly with the arrival of Portuguese colonists from the Azores Islands. From 1748 to 1756, 2,300 Azoreans were sent to the region by the King of Portugal to protect Southern Brazil from neighboring invaders. These colonists, mostly composed of married couples, established the city of Porto dos Casais (literally translated "harbor of the couples"), nowadays Porto Alegre. In 1775, 55% of Rio Grande do Sul's population was of Azorean Portuguese origin. Porto Alegre was composed mainly of Azoreans and their African slaves until the first half of the 19th century.
The first non-Portuguese people to settle Rio Grande do Sul were German immigrants. In 1824, the first immigrants from Germany arrived in Porto Alegre, but they were sent to what is now the city of São Leopoldo (28 km (17 mi) away). From 1824 to 1914, 50,000 Germans arrived in Rio Grande do Sul. Most of these colonists had rural communities in the countryside of the State as their first destination. The large rural exodus in Brazil in the early 20th century brought many German-descendants to Porto Alegre and, nowadays, they compose a large percentage of the population. The second largest group of immigrants who arrived in Porto Alegre were the Italians. They started immigrating to Brazil in 1875, mainly from the Northern Italian Veneto region. As the Germans, Italians were also first sent to rural communities, mainly in the Serra Gaúcha region. After some decades, many of them started to migrate to other parts of Rio Grande do Sul, including Porto Alegre. Minority communities of immigrants, such as Central Europeans from Poland and Eastern Europeans from Ukraine and Jews; Arabs from Palestine, Lebanon and Syria; Asians from Japan; as well as Spaniards arriving after the Civil War also made Porto Alegre their home. According to an autosomal DNA genetic study from 2011, the ancestral composition of the population of Porto Alegre is: 77.70% European, 12.70% African and 9.60% Native American.
Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a temple in Porto Alegre.
Source: IBGE 2000.
The executive branch is represented is by the municipality, its departments and other public administration bodies directly and indirectly. In 2010 the Mayor of Porto Alegre is José Fortunati. The legislature is represented by the City Council.
It hosted the first three editions of the World Social Forum in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The third edition attracted 20,763 delegates from 130 countries, with a total audience of 100,000 people from all parts of the world.
A feature of public administration in Porto Alegre is the adoption of a system of popular participation in the definition of public investment, called the Participatory Budget. The first full participatory budgeting process was developed in the city starting in 1989. Participatory budgeting in its most meaningful form took place in the city from 1991 to 2004. Participatory budgeting was part of a number of innovative reform programs to overcome severe inequality in living standards amongst city residents. One third of the city's residents lived in isolated slums at the city outskirts, lacking access to public amenities (water, sanitation, health care facilities, and schools).
Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre has occurred annually, starting with a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, where residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement. Porto Alegre spent about 200 million dollars per year on construction and services, This money is subject to participatory budgeting, unlike the annual spending on fixed expenses such as debt service and pensions, which is not subject to public participation. Around fifty thousand residents of Porto Alegre took part at the peak of the participatory budgeting process (compared to 1.5 million city inhabitants), with the number of participants having grown year on year since 1989. Participants are from diverse economic and political backgrounds. Although participatory budgeting appears to continue in the city today, two prominent scholars on the process have stated that "after the defeat of the Workers' Party in late 2004, a politically conservative coalition maintained the surface features of PB while returning the actual functioning of the administration to more traditional modes of favor-trading and the favoring of local elites."
The participatory budgeting cycle starts in January and runs throughout the year in many assemblies in each of the city's 16 districts, dealing with many areas of interest to urban life. The meetings elect delegates to represent specific neighborhoods. The mayor and staff attend, in order to respond to citizens' concerns. In the following months, delegates meet to review technical project criteria and district needs.
City department staff may participate according to their area of expertise. At a second regional plenary, regional delegates prioritize the district's demands and elect 42 councillors representing all districts and thematic areas to serve on the Municipal Council of the Budget. The main function of the Municipal Council of the Budget is to reconcile the demands of each district with available resources, and to propose and approve an overall municipal budget. The resulting budget is binding, though the city council can suggest, but not require, changes. Only the Mayor may veto the budget, or remand it back to the Municipal Council of the Budget (this has never happened).
A World Bank paper suggests that participatory budgeting has led to direct improvements in facilities in Porto Alegre. For example, sewer and water connections increased from 75% of households in 1988 to 98% in 1997. The number of schools quadrupled since 1986. According to Fedozzi and Costa, this system has been recognized as a successful experience of interaction between people and the official administrative spheres in public administration and, as such, has gained a broad impact on the political scene nationally and internationally, being interpreted as a strategy for the establishment of an active citizenship in Brazil. The distribution of investment resources planning that follows a part of the statement of priorities for regional or thematic meetings, culminating with the approval of an investment plan that works and activities program broken down by investment sector, by region and around the city. Also according to Fedozzi, this favors:
The high number of participants, after more than a decade, suggests that participatory budgeting encourages increasing citizen involvement, according to the paper. Also, Porto Alegre's health and education budget increased from 13% (1985) to almost 40% (1996), and the share of the participatory budget in the total budget increased from 17% (1992) to 21% (1999).
Located at the junction of five rivers, it has become an important alluvial port as well as one of the chief industrial and commercial centers in Brazil. Products of the rich agricultural and pastoral hinterland, such as soybeans, leather, canned beef, and rice, are exported from Porto Alegre to destinations as far away as Africa and Japan.
According to SENAES (National Office of Solidarity Economy), it is considered a solidarity economy, the ensemble of economic activities with the following characteristics: cooperation, self-management, economic feasibility and solidarity. In 2005, the office identified 14,954 solidary enterprises in Brazil, among which 85 are located in Porto Alegre.
Among the main business located in Porto Alegre are Gerdau, Petroleo Ipiranga, Zaffari and RBS. Since 2000, General Motors (GM) is operating in Gravataí, located in the Metropolitan Region. Also in this Region but in Triunfo, there is a Petrochemical Pool, and in Eldorado do Sul Dell Computers has established a plant. In the health sector, the three hospitals: Hospital Moinhos de Vento, which is a private, JCAH-accredited hospital, Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital and Clinicas Hospital, public, are considered among the best in Latin America. The latter are university-affiliated, referral hospitals for the South of Brazil. Commerce is a very important economic activity, with many malls (like Praia de Belas Shopping, Shopping Iguatemi and the smaller though posh Shopping Moinhos). The Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre, directed to the production of shoes (around Novo Hamburgo) and to petrochemical industries, as well as services.
In the city is located the Electronics Technology Center (CEITEC), focused on the development and production of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), today announced the opening of Latin America's first IC design center. To create state-of-the-art semiconductor products for high-volume markets that will be consumed in Latin America as well as exported to global markets. CEITEC S.A will accelerate the growth of Latin America's electronics industry by leveraging Brazil's regional influence, leadership and economic strength. The company will add 60 engineers to its ranks who will design RFID, digital media and wireless communication chips for its fabrication facility now ramping up for production. The total investment by the Brazilian government is almost US$210 million. The company is implementing a fab-lite strategy with the ability to manufacture analog/digital chips at its facility in Porto Alegre. The in-house design center with more than 100 engineers.
Its rural hinterland yields a variety of agricultural and pastoral products, including meat and hides, wool, rice, beans, cashews, avocados, wheat, grapes, and tobacco. From the forests comes lumber. The city's industries are chiefly concerned with processing these products and include meat-packing, lard refining, leather tanning, shipbuilding, and the manufacturing of textiles, metallurgic goods, electrical and communications equipment, plastics, pharmaceuticals, perfume, beer, and chemicals. There are also steel mills, an oil terminal, and a petrochemical complex. Power comes from coal mined at nearby São Jerônimo and from a hydroelectric plant at Salto. The city has many business and financial institutions and is also an educational centre.
The GDP for the city was R$30,116,002,000 (2006). The per capita income for the city was R$20,900 (2006).
In Brazil, there are also a few coal-fired plants, fuel-oil fired plants and one nuclear facility. Increased utilization of natural gas and other sources is planned in order to reduce Brazil's overdependence on hydroelectric power. In 1999, a natural gas pipeline from Bolivia to Brazil was completed, with its terminus in Porto Alegre. Brazilian investment group Central Termoeletrica Sul (CTSul) has plans to invest US$698 million in a 650MW coal-fired power generation plant in Cachoeira do Sul, located in Rio Grande do Sul.
The largest wind energy park in Brazil, which is being built east of Porto Alegre in Osório, will add 150 megawatts (MW) to the Brazilian energy matrix. The production represents 5 percent of the energy consumed in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and would be sufficient to meet two-thirds of Porto Alegre's energy demands. The Farm opened in 2008 with 75 2MW turbines and has been approved for a 300MW expansion which would make it the largest wind farm in the region. The project is part of the Alternative Energy Sources Program (Proinfa) from state-owned Eletrobrás, which will purchase the energy produced for the next 20 years.
Porto Alegre was one of the first cities in Brazil to develop a recycling program and has been acknowledged as having the best management practices in the country. The city produces about 1,600 tonnes of household waste per day. Since 1997, all non-recyclable waste has been disposed of in landfill sites. Infiltration into the soil is prevented by the double-walled construction of a clay layer and a high-density polythene geo-membrane, the lowering of the water table and the draining off and treatment of any effluent.
The area includes attractions such as the Piratini Palace, the seat of the state Government, Porto Alegre Botanical Garden, Moinhos de Vento Park the Public Market and Farroupilha Park
Porto Alegre is well known in Brazil for its diverse nightlife. The city's clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants provide entertainment for a wide range of tastes and budgets, going from the cheap, traditional beer-'n-bite in a corner bar to all-night raves, and nightclubs. In the "SoHo" area of Porto Alegre, there is a block full of bars, restaurants and clubs.
Bars, some with live music, are spread out along, and just off, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University. Throughout the year, Porto Alegre's numerous Centros de Tradição Gaúcha organize traditional meals, music and dance performances.
Porto Alegre boasts a popular music scene and a considerable theatrical tradition. Foreign performers of all kinds usually include Porto Alegre on any Brazilian or wider South American tour. The Sala Jazz Tom Jobim, features the city's best jazz, or there are live afternoon jazz sessions at the Café Concerto (within the Casa de Cultura), which also has an arthouse cinema. There are three more screens at the Espaço Unibanco (Unibanco Cultural Space), another art house cinema. Finally, the Centro Cultural Usina do Gasômetro, a converted 1920s power station on the banks of the river just west of the centre, includes a cinema, theatre and galleries, and it also has a cafe and a bookshop.
In Cidade Baixa (translates as "Downtown") neighborhood, the historical street João Alfredo has many options. Discotheques include Dado Bier, Beco, Opinião and Nega Frida. The corner between Gal Lima e Silva Street and República Street is the center of the neighborhood's nightlife. Cavanhas, Pingüim, Copão, Cotiporã and Panorama are some of the bars. To dance MPB (Brazilian popular music), historical street João Alfredo has many options.
In Calçada da Fama, Padre Chagas Street is full of more fashionable bars, like Lilliput and Dado Pub. Goethe Avenue has a concentration of bars (Tri Bar, Arsenal, Dolphin's) and dance clubs. There is also a vibrant more alternative scene with clubs such as Ocidente, Beco, Anexo B and Cucko. Rua Fernando Gomes has a concentration of pubs, cafes, bars. Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, alongside the Parque Farroupilha and near the Federal University has bars with a predominantly young and trendy clientele. Moinhos de Vento is one of the richest neighborhoods in the city. Its bars and clubs are more likely to be fashionable, including upscale Pink Elephant Club, Faro and Box 21, which feature mostly house music. Along Padre Chagas Street people can find typical Irish pubs and cafes. A fictionalized view of the Porto Alegre nightlife could be seen in the Érico Verissimo's novel Noite.
In the south of the city, the most notable clubs are Chalaça Bar in the neighborhood of Ipanema, and Planet Music Hall, which is owned by soccer player Ronaldinho Gaúcho, in the Cavalhada neighborhood.
.]] Educatinal institutions in the area include Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (a.k.a. UFRGS), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (a.k.a. PUC), Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (a.k.a. Unisinos), Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre and Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis.
There are two important universities in Porto Alegre: the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), which has been ranked among the top universities in Brazil and Latin America, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). UFRGS is also one of the 3 main universities in the country for post-graduation work. The PUCRS technological park – TECNOPUC – is one of the largest scientific and technological parks in Latin America with interaction of graduate courses, research] and innovation. In the Metropolitan Region of the city, there are other important universities, such as ULBRA and UNISINOS, and many university centers.
Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art – MARGS
With an eclectic style, the building was designed by German architect Theo Wiederspahn. Originally it was the headquarters of the Fiscal Surveillance Agency of the Federal Revenue Office. Nowadays, it hosts the largest public collection of art works in Rio Grande do Sul.
Júlio de Castilhos Museum
Created in 1903, being the oldest museum in the state. Its collection comprises thousands of pieces related to the local history, from Indian relics to objects and iconography about the Ragamuffin War and the Paraguayan War, including an important section showing fine sculptures from the Jesuitic Reductions.
Joaquim José Felizardo Museum
An important museum with a large collection of archaeological artifacts and fotographies of Porto Alegre's old times. Its historical building, dating from 1845–55, is one of the few intact relics of colonial architecture inside the modern urban environment.
Rio Grande do Sul Memorial
Showing a huge collection of documents, maps, objects, prints and other items related to the state's history. Its building, designed by Theodor Wiederspahn, is one of the finest examples of eclectic architecture in the city.
Iberê Camargo Foundation
An iconic landmark in the southern part of Porto Alegre, the Iberê Camargo Foundation houses the permanent installation of gaucho artist, Iberê Camargo. It also hosts traveling exhibitions which change several times a year. The building, designed by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza was opened in 2008 and offers views of the Guiaba river as well as downtown Porto Alegre.
The Porto Alegre Carnival began in the 18th century with the entrudo, a prank brought over by the Portuguese from the Azores, whereby people threw flour, water, and "limão de cheiro" missiles at each other. At the end of the 19th century, two important Carnival associations were born. Rivalry between the two long dominated the city's Carnival. The corso, a parade of floats down Porto Alegre's streets, was a celebration enjoyed by the more well-to-do of the city's inhabitants.
One of the most important Carnival personalities is King Momo. At the beginning of Carnival, usually in February, he receives the keys to the city from the Mayor of Porto Alegre, symbolically governing the Carnival during the four days of revelry. Vincente Rao was the most popular King Momo.
One of the most famous foods of Brazil, churrasco (slow-grilled and -roasted meat), originated in Rio Grande do Sul. But cuisine is eclectic here, and rice and beans sit on southern tables beside Italian and German dishes, thanks to the South's many European immigrants. Colonial coffee is the elaborate 5 PM tea, with breads, pies, and German kuchen, popular among the Germans in the South.
The traditional beverage is the "erva mate". The Chalet of the XV de Novembro Plaza is located along the Glênio Peres Square, it is one of the most traditional bar-draught beer-restaurants in the city, where the last "lambe-lambe" photographs of the region work. "Lambe-lambes" are photographers who develop pictures outdoor using the oldest method known. In the Bavarian style, with art nouveau traits, the centenary Chalet was built up on a demountable steel structure, keeping its original chandeliers and tiles even nowadays.
A wide range of cultural events are held in Porto Alegre. In addition to the traditional celebrations, a wide variety of activities are organized at Porto Alegre during the different seasons.World Social Forum: At several occasions (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005) the World Social Forum has been hosted in Porto Alegre. This event gathered more than 100,000 people from more than 100 countries each year. The main aim of these meetings is to discuss and deal with social issues.
Porto Verão Alegre: during the summer, for example, the "Porto Verão Alegre" or (Porto Summer Alegre) takes place in this city. This celebration consists of a number of performances and exhibitions. In 2005 about seventy plays could be enjoyed.
International Free Software Forum: the Fórum Internacional de Software Livre (International Free Software Forum or simply FISL) is an event sponsored by Associação Software Livre (Free Software Association), a Brazilian NGO that, among other objectives, seeks the promotion and adoption of free software.
Farroupilha Week: this cultural celebration takes place in mid September with parades, food and musical exhibitions. The "Acampamento Farroupilha" takes place in Harmonia Park, where thousands of people set up their tents and eat typical food to commemorate the Farroupilha Revolution.
Bookfair: Held each November at Alfândega Square. In October Porto Alegre holds the greatest Book Fair in American continent, an event that has been taking place since 1955. Each year about 2,000,000 people attend this fair.
Worldwide Pinhole Photography: this is an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. The event is held each year on the last Sunday in April.
Mercosur Biennial Exhibition: is held in Porto Alegre every two years between October and December. This is an important art and cultural event that attracts a large number of people as well.
Carnival: As other Brazilian cities, Porto Alegre holds extensive festivities during the period immediately preceding Lent. Among them, there is an Escola de Samba contest, featuring Academia de Samba Puro, Acadêmicos da Orgia, Bambas da Orgia, Estado Maior da Restinga, Fidalgos e Aristocratas, Império da Zona Norte, Impeadores do Samba, among others.
Salgado Filho International Airport serves flights operated by major Brazilian airlines to many areas in Brazil, other South American countries, Panama, Portugal and USA. scheduled routes connecting Porto Alegre directly or indirectly to all the country's other major cities, as well as smaller cities in the interior of the states of the South Region and São Paulo. There are also international flights with direct connections to cities of the Southern Cone, Lisbon in Europe, and Miami, in North America.
The Port of Porto Alegre is situated in the Eastern margin of Guaíba Lake. The port lying on the eastern bank of the Guaíba lake at the point where its waters empty into the huge Lagoa dos Patos is one of Brazil's largest port. Located near the main access roads to Porto Alegre, is 4 km (2 mi) away from the Salgado Filho International Airport and has access to the railway station, through the docks of Mauá and Navegantes. Its geographical position enables a permanent traffic between Porto Alegre and Buenos Aires, transporting steel-industry products and mainly agricultural produce.
Porto Alegre has a rapid transit system operated by Trensurb, which links downtown Porto Alegre to its northern neighborhoods and to cities to the north of the metropolitan area, as Canoas, Esteio, Sapucaia do Sul, São Leopoldo and Novo Hamburgo.The line has stations at strategic spots, such as: the Public Market, the bus station, the airport and many other important and urban spots throughout Porto Alegre and the other cities the metro covers. The line is built at surface level (30 km, totally segregated) and elevated (12 km).
Trensurb is operated jointly by the federal government, the state government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city of Porto Alegre through the company Trensurb S.A. (Company of Urban Trains of Porto Alegre S.A.) and has 22 working stations, with a total extension of nearly 43 kilometres (27 mi), carrying about 130,000 users a day. Building of the (sole) Line 1 of the metro started in 1980. The choice of path was made to relieve the heavy traffic of highway BR-116, which already presented serious problems with the transit at the time. The line was inaugurated on March 2, 1985, between the Central Public Market and Sapucaia do Sul. In December 1997, it was extended to Unisinos. An extension of 2.4 miles (3.9 km) São Leopoldo–Museum was added in November 2000, after two months of trial service. As of 2013, an extension to Novo Hamburgo is being completed, with the first station already fully functional.
A metro system inside Porto Alegre only is currently planned and it is already subject of much publicity and speculation. However, no project has been approved so far and the beginning of the constructions is yet undefined.
There are two federal highways in the city, BR-290 and BR-116, both running close to its northern and northwestern border. The small number is due to the inexistence of many destinations southeast or south of Porto Alegre (considering the landmass east of Lagoa dos Patos), if not for the cities of Pelotas (the third-biggest in population in the State) and Rio Grande (which hosts the State biggest port). Nonetheless, when coming from west, both highways bond in the neighbor municipality of Eldorado do Sul, running mostly jointly within the borders of Porto Alegre, only coming to separate at the very interchange to Canoas. This way, BR-116 has virtually no sole run within Porto Alegre.
BR-290 highway runs east-west across the state, linking the northeast coast of the state to the Uruguay–Argentina–Brazil border. It runs close to the northern border of the municipality. Coming from west, as it reaches the urban area of Porto Alegre, BR-290 highway becomes a high-standard 100 km (62 mi) long freeway that connects to the coast and to the BR-101 highway. The latter is an important way to get to Porto Alegre from the north of the country, by the city Osório. BR-101 connects to Curitiba, Florianópolis and northern Santa Catarina state, and has been recently upgraded to highway standards, with multiple lanes. By entering the BR-290 freeway/BR-101 system, and the other highways it connects to, it is possible to drive from Porto Alegre to as far as Rio de Janeiro or Belo Horizonte almost entirely through 4-lane (or more) highways.
The other road, BR-116, is a longitudinal highway, running northeast-south across the state, linking Porto Alegre to several satellite cities and other Brazilian capitals to the north, and Pelotas and Uruguay to the south. Within the municipality, it only touches the northwest side of the city, close to the end of Rio Gravataí (Gravataí River), sharing its entire run with BR-290, only separating when heading north onto Canoas.
A third road, BR-448, is currently under construction. BR-448 is planned to connect the northeast of Porto Alegre to Sapucaia do Sul, as an alternative to BR-116, notably jam-packed on its Canoas-Novo Hamburgo stretch during traffic rush hours.
The connection between downtown Porto Alegre and the highways is made by Avenida Presidente Castelo Branco (President Castelo Branco Avenue), which is a short - 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) - avenue also bordering the northwest side of the city, Avenida dos Estados (States' Avenue), which is the access way to the Salgado Filho International Airport, and Avenida Assis Brasil (Assis Brasil Avenue), the main Avenue in the northern Porto Alegre.
The city has a functioning transportation system, especially the autobuses. Porto Alegre has also mini-buses from and to all the main neighborhoods in the city, with sitting-only transport and possibility to hop on and off at any point, but higher fares. Linha Turística (Tourist Line) is a bus that leaves from Usina do Gasômetro tourist terminal around six times per day. During 90 minutes, it traverses the various districts of Porto Alegre, for a modest price. Exclusive bus lanes in the median of seven radial corridors that converge on the city center are used by both urban and regional lines. The bus fleet totals 1,600, with 150 minibuses. About 325 million people use the system annually.
Those lines have no prefix. It is quite common to switch buses at downtown but, considering there is a myriad of lines there, it can be challenging to find the right terminal to hop on the next bus. Transversal lines prefix "T" (T1, T2, ..., T11), connect different neighborhood without going through the downtown area, effectively eliminating the need of changing buses for the most common trips. Circular lines prefix "C" (C1, C2, C3), as the name indicates, run in a circular manner, usually connecting parts of the downtown area to the nearest neighborhoods.
Mayor José Fogaça renewed his agreement with EMBARQ and the Center for Sustainable Transport Brazil (CTS-Brasil) to improve accessibility and mobility in downtown Porto Alegre. The agreement, signed on March 11, includes a new partnership with the Andean Development Corporation, a Latin American multilateral financial institution that is expected to provide $1 million in non-reimbursable technical assistance this year to help Porto Alegre complete the preparation phase of the "Portais da Cidade" bus rapid transit project, a groundbreaking transport system designed to reduce pollution and congestion downtown. The system will include a southern extension to accommodate activities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. CAF's technical assistance will be administered through CTS-Brasil, which has been working to expand sustainable transport in Porto Alegre since 2005.
Porto Alegre Bus station is located downtown, and is served by several national and international lines. It is also connected to a Trensurb station (Porto Alegre Metro) and several municipal bus lines. Northbound passengers can rely on good bus connections throughout Brazil. However, an express bus might be recommended if traveling to Uruguay or Argentina in order to avoid several stops while en route.
Porto Alegre has a total of 3,922 authorized taxicabs, with 317 taxi stops. Regular taxis are colored red, whereas airport taxicabs are colored white, both with blue strips on the sides containing white lettering.
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Porto Alegre, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 74 min. 17% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 20 min, while 39% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 7.3 km, while 14.% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Football is a passion of the people from Porto Alegre. There is a big rivalry between two football clubs, Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, founded in 1903, and Sport Club Internacional, founded in 1909.
Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense plays in the national elite, while Sport Club Internacional is currently playing in the second division. Both have successful histories, having won national and international titles, including the South American top honours, the Copa Libertadores, and the highest global trophy for football clubs, the Intercontinental Cup, respectively its successor, the Club World Cup.
Porto Alegre is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, of which Brazil is the host nation. The modernization of the Beira-Rio Stadium, home of SC Internacional, at this stage having a capacity for 56,000 spectators, is the city's 2014 FIFA World Cup venue. Internacional's former home, the Estádio dos Eucaliptos, was a venue for the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
Local rivals Grêmio play in their own stadium, in the Humaitá district. The Arena do Grêmio stadium replaced the Estádio Olímpico Monumental in 2012 and meets UEFA/FIFA standards. The Arena do Grêmio stadium has a capacity for 60,540 spectators.
American football is also played in the city, with two teams: Porto Alegre Pumpkins, the oldest in the state, and Porto Alegre Bulls, who play with the Esporte Clube São José, a club with multiple sports.
On January 22, 2015, Porto Alegre hosted its first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, at the Gigantinho. UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir was headlined by former heavyweight champion Frank Mir making his Brazilian debut, knocking out Brasilia native Antônio Silva.
Neighborhoods of Porto Alegre are geographical divisions of the city. There is no devolution of administrative powers to neighborhoods, although there are several neighborhoods associations devoted to improve their own standards of living. Porto Alegre has nowadays 81 official distinguished neighborhoods.José Lutzenberger, bilingual German-Brazilian, he successfully projected himself internationally as an environmentalist
Fabrício Werdum, mixed martial artist, former UFC Heavyweight Champion
Paulo Cesar Tinga, footballer
Adriana Calcanhotto, musician
Humberto Gessinger, leader of the band Engenheiros do Hawaii
Carla Körbes, ballet dancer
Roger Manganelli, bassist and singer of American ska punk band Less Than Jake
Elis Regina, singer
Lupicinio Rodrigues, composer
Daiane dos Santos, gymnast
Moacyr Scliar, author
Luís Fernando Veríssimo, author
Lily Safra, philanthropist and social figure
Cármelo de los Santos, violinist
Luan Oliveira, skateboarder
Vinicius Gageiro Marques, Musician
Ieda Maria Vargas, actress and Miss Universe
Fe Garay, volleyballer
Mario Maestri, historian
Martha Medeiros, writer and journalist
Luiz Adriano, footballer
Porto Alegre's sister cities are:
Porto Alegre also has the following partner city: Paris, France, since 2001