Brasília – Capital of the 3rd Millennium

In 1883 an Italian priest, Dom Bosco, prophesied that a new civilization would arise between parallels 15 and 20, and that its capital would be built between parallels 15 and 16, on the edge of an artificial lake. Many consider Brasília to be that city, and a number of cults have sprung up in the area. If you tire of Brasília’s architectural monuments, a visit to one of the cults may be part of your destiny.

Templo da Boa Vontade The visually striking Templo da Boa Vontade was created by the Legion of Goodwill in 1989 as a symbol of universal solidarity. It incorporates seven pyramids, joined to form a cone that is topped with the biggest raw crystal you will ever see (it weighs in at 21kg). In the main chamber, you are encouraged to take off your shoes and walk along the spiraling inner circle via the black path, returning via the white path.

There is also an interesting Egyptian room for meditation, an art gallery, a fountain and a restaurant. There are a few mixed messages, with ideas of interfaith harmony combined with Christ-the-King propaganda and crystals for sale. Get there on bus 105 or 107 from the city bus station.

Vale do Amanhecer About 45km east of Brasília, near the satellite city of Planaltina, this religious community was founded in 1959 by a clairvoyant, Tia Neiva. It's really a small town where mediums dressed in elaborate robes and capes conduct rituals for the wider community of believers (over 10,000 across Brazil), who hold that a new civilization will come during the third millennium. The town’s main temple is the focus of the community. Get there by bus 617 from the center of Brasília.

The belief system is complex: based on Catholicism, it also includes elements from Egyptian, Greek, Aztec, Indian, Romany, Inca, Trojan and Afro-Brazilian beliefs and iconography. Near the temple, a lake, a star-shaped outdoor area and a pyramid are also the focus of rituals.

Cidade Ecléctica About 63km west of Brasília, near the town of Santo Antônio do Descoberto (Goiás), is the Cidade Ecléctica. Founded in 1956 by Yokanam, who was once an airline pilot, the group’s aim is to unify all religions on the planet through fraternity and equality. You’re welcome to attend its ceremonies, but there are strict dress regulations. Women cannot wear long pants (skirts only) and men cannot wear shorts. If you’re not dressed suitably, you’ll be given a special tunic to wear.

Ring ahead for the schedule of ceremonies; it's not really worth going at other times unless you know someone there.