Monuments serve as testimonies of human greatness. In Brazil they reflect the creativity, originality and the amazing history of the Brazilian people. Next time you visit the country take some time to explore the beauty of these monuments. They are spread throughout several cities, so no matter where you are it is almost certain that you will end up bumping into one or some of them.

You know that Brazil has carnival, beautiful beaches, gorgeous cities and the happiest people in the world. You probably don’t know that Brazil also has breathtaking monuments, many of them created by internationally famous architects and designers, such as Oscar Niemeyer and Burle Marx. Next time you visit the country take some time to explore the history and the beauty of these monuments. They are spread through several cities, so no matter which city your are visiting, it is almost certain that you will end up bumping into one or some of them. Below we list a few suggestions.

National Congress of Brazil (Brasilia, DF)

congresso-nacional-4Designed by renowned architect, Oscar Niemeyer, this building signifies balance and equality with its two opposing sides intersected by a symbol of equality. It was completed in 1964. This structure is the legislative, third of the Three Powers Plaza, with the other powers being executive and judiciary. In a city of sleek modern designs, it seems appropriate that the National Congress of Brazil building is one of the city’s most spectacular architectural feats.

Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, RJ)

cristo-redentorThis monument is certainly the most famous in Brazil. Christ the Redeemer Statue is the iconic statue of Jesus Christ that stands tall atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. The massive 39.6 metre (130 ft) tall statue is considered the single largest Art Deco statue on earth and the fifth largest statue of Jesus Christ. Standing tall as a symbol of Brazil, the Statue has become a landmark and an iconic figure that represents Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, Christ the Redeemer is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone. On July 7, 2007 it was deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Amazon Theater (Manaus, AM)

manaus-2Amazon Theatre is an opera house located in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. It was built during the heyday of rubber trade using materials from all over the world, with furniture from Paris, marble from Italy, and steel from England. On the outside of the building, the dome was covered with 36,000 decorated ceramic tiles pain-ted in the colors of the Brazilian national flag. The first performance was given on January 7, 1897, with the Italian opera La Gioconda. The opera house was closed down soon after however as the rubber trade declined and Manaus lost its main source of income. There wasn’t a single performance in Teatro Amazonas for 90 years until 1990 when it reopened its doors.

The Obelisk (São Paulo, SP)

obelisco-ibirapuera-2This monument is a symbol of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, and the biggest monument of the city of São Paulo. The height of the monument is 72 meters (236 ft 3 in). The construction of the monument was started in 1947 and completed in 1970. The obelisk is a pro-ject of the Italo-Brazilian sculptor Galileo Ugo Emendabili. Made with pure travertine marble, it was inaugurated on July 9, 1955, one year after the inauguration of Ibirapuera Park, another landmark in the city.

Church of St. Francis of Assis (Belo Horizonte, MG)

igreja-sao-francisco-de-assis-bh-2It is a church in Pampulha region of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. It was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the organic modern style. It is the first listed modern architectural monument in Brazil and consists of four undulating concrete parabolas with outdoor mosaics. The distinctive landscape of the church is the work of Roberto Burle Marx, a longtime Niemeyer collaborator.

Botanical Garden (Curitiba, PR)

jardim-botanico-curitiba-2The Botanical Garden of Curitiba also known as the “Jardim Botânico Fanchette Rischbieter”, is a park located in the city of Curitiba – the capital of the state of Paraná, and the biggest city in southern Brazil. It is the major tourist attraction and landmark of the city. Opened in 1991, Curitiba’s trademark botanical garden was created in the style of French gardens. Once by the portal of entry, one may see extensive gardens in the French style amidst fountains, waterfalls and lakes, and the main greenhouse of 458 square meters, which shelters in its interior, specimens of plants characteristic of tropical regions.

The Forts (Salvador, BA)

forte-3The forts of Salvador are important landmarks and reminders of the city military past. They were built by the Portuguese to defend its coastline against possible attack from the Dutch, after their invasion in the early part of the 17th century. The monuments have a scenic waterfront where three sections of land extend into the ocean, each crowned with the colonial forts – Forte Santa Maria, Forte Sao Diogo and Forte de Santo Antonio da Barra. The city’s oldest fortress is often referred to as the Farol de Barra, since it comprises a lighthouse.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida (Brasilia, DF)

catedral-brasilia-6In the heart of Brasilia is one of the most famous works by Brazil’s greatest architect, Oscar Niemeyer. The eye-catching structure consists of 16 stark white concrete columns, which are curved inward resembling outstretched hands reaching up toward heaven. The inside of the structure features a glass ceiling that floods the space with daylight, and also features hanging sculptures of angels. As the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasília, the Cathedral of Brasília is an important historic landmark of Brazil.

Contemporary Art Museum (Niterói, RJ)

mac-2This museum is not only the most important place for art lovers to visit while in Rio. It’s also one of the most important landmarks in South America for fans of modern architecture. The building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Its iconic appearance resembles a massive flying saucer that seems to have landed on the side of a cliff overlooking a beach. From the museum, which is built directly across the bay from downtown Rio de Janeiro, an unparalleled panoramic view of the city and its natural surroundings is available.