Overview of Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon) is the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeastern region of the country. It is the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Belo Horizonte has a population of 2,475,440 inhabitants (2010) in the city, 5,497,922 people in the official Metropolitan Area (2010), and the expanded metropolitan area is home to about 9,010,376 inhabitants (2011).
During the 18th century, Minas Gerais received many Portuguese immigrants, mainly from Northern Portugal as well as a huge number of enslaved Africans. Belo Horizonte has a notable Italian influence. Around 30% of the city’s population have some Italian origin. The Italian culture is present in the cuisine, dance, and language. People of German, Spanish, and Syrian-Lebanese ancestries also make up sizeable groups.
Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. English and Spanish are both taught as second languages.
The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington, D.C.
Belo Horizonte receives large numbers of visitors, as it is in the Brazilian main economic axis, exerting influence even on other states. Both multinational and Brazilian companies, like Google and Oi, maintain offices in the city. The service sector plays a very important role in the economy of Belo Horizonte, being responsible for 85% of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the industry making up for most of the remaining 15%. The city is considered to be a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy.
As in the rest of Brazil, football is the most popular sport among locals. Belo Horizonte is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation. Besides football, Belo Horizonte has one of the largest attendances at volleyball matches in the whole country (source).
Religion in Belo Horizonte
The majority of the population, 68.84% are Catholic, 18.10% are Protestant, and 8.04% claim no religion (source).
Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?
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