Porto Alegre literally means the joyful harbor in brazilian portuguese. This is the capital and the largest city of the state Rio Grande do Sul, which is located in the southernmost part of Brazil. 

Manuel Jorge Gomes de Sepúlveda founded Porto Alegre in 1769, at the time he used a pseudonym José Marcelino de Figueiredo to avoid being recognized. The official date was 1772 with the act signed by immigrants from the Azores, Portugal.

The city is found on the eastern bank of Guaída Lake, where five rivers converge to form Lagoa dos Patos. This lagoon is so large that it is navigable by the largest ships. The 5 rivers conjunction has become an important alluvial port and also a chief industrial and commercial center of Brazil.

Tourist attractions include the Pirati Palace, which is the seat of the main governor. It was built in a French inspired neoclassical style in the 1920’s. Paul Landowski responsible for creating the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro has designed the allegorical statues of Agricultural and Industry, and also those of Primavera inside the interior patio. Inside we may find the paintings of Locatelli which contain the history of the state. The grand French-style marble staircase and the grandiose Salon Negrinho do Pastoreio are breathtaking.   

 We may not miss the Porto Alegre Botanical garden, which dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. A beautiful setting for a nice walk.

It is a must to visit the city’s oldest public market. The cornerstone was laid in 1864, over an older and smaller market. The public market is a strong part of the tradition of the city. Here we find 109 shops which sell fresh produce, baked goods, locally raised meat, dairy products, all kinds of herbs, and also handcrafted items. There are also restaurants, bars and pastry shops. This is a large and busy market.

Farroupilha Park is the major urban park in the city. It was founded in 1935, designed by the french architect Alfred Agache. It is located near the historical city center.

Porto Alegre is well known for its nightlife. Here we may find many bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants that provide a wide range of entertainment for every kind of budget. Live music is really big, so it is not difficult to enjoy any kind of genre, especially jazz on any weeknight. Also the theatrical tradition is really important here.

The food in Porto Alegre is top quality. The most famous being churrasco, which is the local slow cooked bbq, with the best quality meats you’ll ever see in your life. Thanks to immigrants we may also find good Italian and German food that have become part of the tradition.  

Let’s resume, we have a South American city with the best climate and vegetation, that turns the land into a living paradise, with a European influence in architecture and cuisine. The music is great and the people are amazingly friendly… Now I understand why they  called it the “Joyful Harbor”!