Sao Paulo is Brazil's largest city and also the largest city in the southern hemisphere home to 11.3 million paulistanos.
Sao Paulo was founded by the Portuguese in 1554 as a small village dedicated to St Paul the Apostle. It became a city in 1711 and became a gold rush destination in the 1720s until reserves began to deplete and, like many other Brazilian cities, began a lucrative trade in sugar cane throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries.
More recently, Sao Paulo has shifted towards the service industry home to financial, legal and consulting firms, while the tourism industry plays a vital role with 11 million tourists visiting each year.
Sao Paulo is perhaps the cultural home of Brazil with a staggering array of museums, concert halls, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, restaurants and bars.
Sao Paulo skyline The city's centro is home to some of its most important sights and architecture including the Mercado Municipal indoor food market and the Pinacoteca do Estado which houses one of the world's largest collections of Brazilian art from the last 200 years.
It is also home to the towering Edifício Martinelli, Sao Paulo's first ever skyscraper. The Gothic building rises 30 floors and offers spectacular views across Sao Paulo's skyline.Owing to its subtropical climate, Sao Paulo experiences high temperatures and humidity through the year with temperatures peaking at 35 ºC in September and October. June through to mid-December tends to be the most popular time to visit when the average rainfall tends to be at its lowest.
Last updated: 6 February 2015