The Eixo stretches for some 8 km west of Praça dos Três Poderes eventually reaching the rodoferroviária. Almost all of the city’s other important monuments lie on either side of the road. We follow them here from east to west.
The government ministry buildings line the Eixo east of the praça like dominos, or a series of commissars standing to attention. Eventually they reach Niemeyer’s striking Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Esplanada dos Ministérios, Eixo Monumental, T061-3224 4073, 0800-1930) ; a crown of thorns in concrete and glass sitting in a toroidal lake and watched over by Alfredo Ceschiatti’s four evangelists, standing sentinel-like in concrete. The entrance to the cathedral is via a subterranean tunnel, emerging from relative darkness into an arena bright with stained glass and light marble.
Next to the cathedral are two of the most recently built Niemeyer buildings; which opened to the public in 2008: the Museu Nacional de Brasília, a striking dome-shaped building with an entrance halfway up its side reached by a snaking ramp; and the cuboid Biblioteca Nacional next door. Less than a kilometre west, a few blocks south, is the Santuário Dom Bosco (Av W3 Sul, quadra 702, T061-3223 6542, 0800-1800) a modernist cube with tall Gothic arches filled with stained glass, which projects shades from light blue to indigo as it ascends. It is particularly beautiful in the late afternoon when shafts of light penetrate the building. The church is named after the 19th-century saint and founder of the Salesian order, who proclaimed that a new civilization would arise in the third millennium between the 15th and 16th parallels and on the edge of an artificial lake. The trunk of the enormous cross hanging over the altar was carved from a single piece of tropical cedar.
Beyond the TV tower, which lies at the intersection of the Eixo and the hotel zones, are two other interesting groups of buildings. The Memorial Juscelino Kubitschek (JK) (Tue- Sun 0900-1800, US$1.50, toilets and café) stands high above a marble plinth waving towards the Praça dos Três Poderes. The former president’s tomb lies beneath the marble together with a collection of memorabilia. In front of the memorial is the Memorial dos Povos Indígenas (Tue-Sun 0900-1800, US$2) ; a round concrete building shaped like a Bororo communal house or maloca and reached by a tongue-like ramp. Inside is a small but fascinating collection of indigenous art and cultural artefacts. On the other side of the Memorial JK, east of Praça do Cruzeiro, is the city’s second Niemeyer cathedral, the Catedral Militar de Nossa Senhora da Paz (Tue-Sun 0900-1800) . This is a brilliant white wedge of concrete cut with jagged windows, whose design echoes Notre Dame du Haut, designed by Niemeyer’s mentor, Le Corbusier. The church marks the entrance to the Quartel General do Exército; an enormous and imposing complex of military buildings centred on an elliptical auditorium made of a single wave of concrete and added to Brasília during the military dictatorship, as if to compensate for the lack of army presence on the Praça dos Três Poderes. All are by Niemeyer. There is a small military museum (Tue-Sun 0900-1800) on the site.
The Templo da Boa Vontade (Setor Garagem Sul 915, lotes 75/76, T061-3245 1070, http://www.tbv.com.br, open 24 hrs) is a seven-faced pyramid dedicated to all philosophies and religions topped by one of the world’s largest rock crystals. To get there, take bus No 151 from outside the Centro do Convenções or on Eixo Sul to Centro Médico.
The Panteão Tancredo Neves is a ‘temple of freedom and democracy’, built 1985- 1986 by Niemeyer. It includes an impressive homage to Tiradentes .
The Monumental Parade Stand has unique and mysterious acoustics (the complex is north of the Eixo Monumental, between the ‘Memorial JK’ and the rodoferroviária). There are remarkable stained-glass panels, each representing a state of the Federation, on the ground floor of the Caixa Econômica Federal....
Get the best info about sights, places to eat and sleep in Brasília free to download!download free pdf