Latin America & Caribbean

World Cup Brazil city guide: Belo Horizonte

BBC Brazil's Camilla Costa offers an insider's view of the 12 cities hosting matches in this year's Fifa World Cup tournament.

Belo Horizonte

Overview

Image copyright Google
Image copyright Estudio Profissional Belotur
Image caption A number of large parks surround the city

Once you reach Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais nestling between the mountains, the Brazilian winter will feel a tiny bit more like winter.

The city is known for its vibrant creative culture, which has left its mark on the national music, literature and theatre scenes.

It is also the birthplace of the current president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, the first woman to reach that position in the country's history.

Venue

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stadium Mineirao. Capacity: 62,547

Like many Brazilian footballers, Belo Horizonte's stadium is more commonly known by its nickname.

Officially it is called Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto, but everyone refers to it simply as Mineirao.

Now completely refurbished, Mineirao is the main battlefield for Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro, the two biggest local teams.

To avoid the traffic, quite difficult on match days, plan to arrive early.

The stadium is close to Minas Federal University and other sights, such as the Pampulha lake, and a complex designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Culture and cuisine

Image copyright Nicolas Lovisolo
Image caption Never eaten a cactus before? Here's your chance

The Latin-named Ora-pro-nobis cactus - or "pray for us" - supposedly won its moniker because it grew near churches in the Catholic countryside of Minas Gerais state. Also called poor people's meat because of its role as a source of protein, the cactus forms part of the local chicken stew.

Belo Horizonte is also known as the world's bar capital. It has about 12,000 botecos, or bars.

One local tipple is cachaca, or sugar cane brandy. The state of Minas Gerais is the main centre of production in Brazil and it has more than 1,500 local brands.

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