Brasília, Brazil, the national capital. It lies within the Federal District of Brazil, 570 miles (917 km) northwest of Rio de Janeiro, the former capital. The city is linked with the coast by road and rail and has an international airport. Airlines provide the chief links with the rest of the country.
Brasília is a planned city, built as the national capital at a remote site to stimulate development of Brazil's interior. The city is notable for its urban plan and modern buildings, largely the work of planner Lúcio de Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer. The chief government buildings, a commercial center, and cultural and recreational facilities line a broad central avenue, with residential areas curving off on each side. A major feature of the city is Lake Paranoá. Important structures include government buildings in the Plaza of the Three Powers and Alvorada Palace, official residence of Brazil's president. The Brazilian Academy of Letters, the Museum of Brasília, and the University of Brasília are here.
The Federal District was created in 1956, and construction of the city began a year later. On April 21, 1960, Brasília replaced Rio de Janeiro as Brazil's capital. In the decades that followed the city's creation, inhabitants of the city came to regard it as cold and unappealing, and by the late 1990's, many of the buildings had been allowed to fall into disrepair.