Praça dos Trés Poderes

Top choice in Brasília

This square is a focal point of the city design, a synthesis of the ideas of architects Niemeyer and Costa, combining various monuments, museums and federal buildings. The space includes striking sculptures, including Bruno Giorgi’s Os Candangos, Alfredo Ceschiatti’s A Justiça and Niemeyer’s O Pombal (which looks like a clothespin). The 'three powers' of the name of the square are executive, legislative and judicial; the president's palace, supreme court and parliament are arranged around it in an equilateral triangle.

Also here is the monumental Pavilhão Nacional flagpole, the Panteão da Pátria e da Liberdade Tancredo Neves, a cenotaph commemorating Brazilian national heroes, and two museums detailing the history of Brasília's planning: the Espaço Lúcio Costa and the Museu da Cidade.

It’s worth visiting the plaza during the day and again at night for two very different experiences. After dark, surreal lighting casts an eerie glow across the futuristic buildings, as though they are being lit up by the landing lights of an alien spacecraft. Robberies have been reported here at night, though, so have a taxi wait for you while you visit.