São Paulo The financial and business hub of Brazil, not only is São Paulo the biggest city in the country, it also ranks among the most populous in the world, with just over 11 million inhabitants within its area of 1,523 square kilometers (588 sq mi). Located in the south-eastern region of the country, it is nicknamed Terra da Garoa (Land of the Drizzle) after its renowned weather instability and plentiful rainfall.
São Paulo's work-oriented vocation attracted huge contingents of immigrants after the turn of the 19th century. As a consequence, the capital of the state of São Paulo is by far the most ethnically diverse city in Brazil, hosting an estimated 100 different ethnicities that have helped put up the country's major economy, responsible for 12,26 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
Although it is an inevitable business destination, it is not all about work for the paulistanos: São Paulo is a high-profile cultural centre that displays a wide range of options, from various top-flight concerts and exhibitions to a colossal gastronomy scene of more than 12,000 restaurants. Sampa is also bursting with tourist attractions that go way beyond its staggering skyline, such as the Japanese district of Liberdade, the Ibirapuera Park, the several high-profile shopping malls and a charming city centre.
It is no wonder, then, that the metropolitan area of São Paulo is the home for the two busiest airports in South America: Congonhas and the international André Franco Montoro Airport - commonly known as Guarulhos Airport or Cumbica - which flies to 28 different countries.
São Paulo is the very birthplace of Brazilian football, as it was the home of Charles Miller, the British descendent who presented the beautiful game to the city in 1894 and helped its swift propagation throughout the country.
Three of Brazil's most powerful clubs are from São Paulo: old-time rivals Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo, who combine for an impressive 14 Campeonato Brasileiro titles. Both Corinthians and São Paulo have lifted the FIFA Club World Club trophy, in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Other traditional clubs like Portuguesa de Desportos and Juventus complete the football-mad panorama of the metropolis.
São Paulo's home ground, the Morumbi, is the city's biggest stadium and was one of the venues of the maiden FIFA Club World Club, in 2000, while the city-owned Pacaembu, which also houses a phenomenal Football Museum, hosted six matches at the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.