Brasília, the capital of Brazil and the seat of government of the Distrito Federal, is a planned city. Inaugurated in 1960 in the Central Highlands of Brazil, it is a masterpiece of modernist architecture listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The basic structure of Brasília was completed in just four years, from 1956 to 1960, under the leadership of President Juscelino Kubitschek, with the slogan "fifty years of progress in five", and the city is in a sense a memorial to him. The cathedral has six columns representing two hands reaching up to almighty heaven. The city is designed in the shape of a giant bird or airplane, with various separated zones assigned for specific functions such as housing, commerce, hospitals and banking. Running down the center of the "airplane" is the thoroughfare called the Eixo Monumental ("Monumental Axis") and at one end lay the government buildings. The arched "wings" are residential zones, with several rows of medium-rise apartment blocks with small commercial districts. The intersection is the commercial and cultural hub, with stores, hotels, and the cathedral.
A huge artificial lake serves the city as both a leisure area and to diminish the effects of low humidity in drier months. Uniform buildings, wide tree lined roads, parks and sectors developed with the wellbeing of the population and visitors in mind carry the signatures of master urbanist Lucio Costa and modern architect Oscar Niemeyer. Brasilia’s monuments are unique and are ordered in such a way that they turn the city into an open air museum.