Curitiba is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. The city's population numbered approximately 1,760,500 people as of 2010, making it the eighth most populous city in the country, and the largest in Brazil's South Region.
Curitiba is an important cultural, political, and economic centre in Latin America.The city sits on a plateau at 932 metres (3,058 ft) above sea level. It is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of the seaport of Paranaguá and is served by the Afonso Pena International airport. The city hosts the Federal University of Paraná, established in 1912.
In the 1700s Curitiba possessed a favorable location between cattle-breeding country and marketplaces, leading to a successful cattle trade and the city's first major expansion. Later, between 1850 and 1950, it grew due to logging and agricultural expansion in the Paraná State (first Araucaria logging, later mate and coffee cultivation and in the 1970s wheat, corn and soybean cultivation). In the 1850s waves of European immigrants arrived in Curitiba, mainly Germans, Italians, Poles and Ukrainians, contributing to the city's economic and cultural development. Nowadays, only smaller numbers of foreign immigrants arrive, primarily from Middle Eastern and other Latin American countries.
The biggest expansion occurred after the 1950s, with innovative urban planning that changed the population size from some hundreds of thousands to more than a million people. Today, Curitiba is considered one of the world's best examples of urban planning. In June 1996, the chairman of the Habitat II summit of mayors and urban planners in Istanbul praised Curitiba as "the most innovative city in the country.” Curitiba was recently recommended by UNESCO as a model for the reconstruction of the cities of Afghanistan. Curitiba's public transportation consists entirely of buses. It opened the world's first bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Rede Integrada de Transporte, in 1974. Another example of urban planning is seen in Curitiba’s many parks that are reclaimed from former stone quarries.
Attractions in the city include: German Woods, Municipal Market, Italian Woods, Japan Square, Tingui Park, Wire Opera House, Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Tangua Park, Panoramic Tower, Portugal Wood, and Botanical Garden.