“BH” to its locals, the inland city’s dramatic location and big-city buzz is preparing to broaden a new wave of travellers’ horizons, as it prepares to host six games at the FIFA World Cup 2014.
What started as a farm in 1701, BH city was first settled by João Leite da Silva Ortiz, an explorer from São Paulo. Five million inhabitants later and BH is Brazil’s third largest metropolis and one of the largest cities on the continent.
For a city picnic in the tropics, Parque Municipal Americo Renee Giannetti makes a popular downtown escape. The park has idyllic surrounds from tranquil lagoons to chiming carousels and avant-garde light installations come evening.
In a figure 10% above national averages, three out of every four Belo-Horizontinos are Roman Catholic. Over 3.5 million Catholics live in the city’s main archdiocese alone which means a considerable market for religious merchandise.
When it comes to dining, BH brings its own regional flavour to the buffet table. The city’s cuisine, known as Comida Mineira offers hearty helpings of vegetables and stews including tutu bean sauce and sides of couve, a variety of Brazilian collard.
Surrounded totally by mountains, Belo Horizonte sits on the foothills of the Espinhaço range. The chain stretches 720 miles (1000km) from Minas Gerais to Bahia forming a large swathe of the Brazilian Highlands.
Belo Horizonte hosts Colombia vs Greece on Saturday 14 June, Belgium vs Algeria on Tuesday 17 June, Argentina vs Iran on Saturday 21 June and Costa Rica vs England on Tuesday 24 June.
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