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Introducing Porto Alegre

by Pedro Belleza Creative Commons Attribution

On the banks of the huge freshwater Lagoa dos Patos, Porto Alegre is southern Brazil’s most important port city and a key player in Mercosul (the South American free-trade agreement).

The downtown area has benefited from a thoughtful approach to development, including the creation of transportation hubs and the preservation of much of its grand, neoclassical architecture. A long tradition of progressive politics has helped nurture vibrant arts and alternative music scenes, and the well-organized gay and lesbian community has won the right to register domestic partnerships.

Unfortunately, crime levels in the city have risen in recent years and the downtown area can be seedy. During the day, the city has a grittier feel than most southern Brazilian metropolises.

Porto Alegre will be a host city for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.