Created as the new state capital in the 1890s, Belo Horizonte was Brazil's first planned city, and thus a direct precursor of Brasilia (Juscelino Kubitschek, founder of Brasilia, was mayor of BH is the '40s). One legacy of this urban planning is BH's urban core, which features an intriguing street pattern: a wider grid of broad ceremonial avenues has been set atop the regular street grid, offset at a 45-degree angle. At every intersection where two broad avenues and two regular streets come together, it forms a city square. It's an intriguing and beautiful design, but for those used to a simple grid it does make for confusing navigation. (When you turn right, you are not turning 90 degrees, but 135 degrees.) The pattern was discontinued outside the city center, but as it happens that is precisely the area of most interest for visitors. The most important neighborhoods are Savassi (more or less btw. Av. Cristovão Colombo and Av. Alfonso Pena), and Lourdes (centered on Av. Alvares Cabral). Av. Alfonso Pena is home to BH's main office and business district.

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