Rua das Flores
In 1971, Curitiba’s mayor, Jaime Lerner, closed off a section of Rua 15 de Novembro, one of the commercial center’s main streets, and transformed it into Brazil’s first open-air pedestrian mall. Renamed Rua das Flores, this urban intervention was part of Lerner’s plan to make Curitiba into a kinder, greener city.
To underscore his vision, the city’s children were invited to gather on Saturday mornings to paint and draw on the sidewalks (a tradition that continues to this day). Meanwhile, the bars and cafés occupying the restored pastel buildings became end-of-day gathering points for Curitibanos of all stripes.
Just off the eastern end of Rua das Flores are a few other interesting landmarks. Praça José Borges de Macedo is dominated by an impressive art nouveau building that used to be the city hall. From here, if you head three blocks north along Rua Barão do Rio Branco you’ll arrive at the Passeio Público (Rua Luiz Leão, tel. 41/3223-6574, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sun.). Inaugurated in 1886, the city’s first park is a peaceful oasis with lakes for boating, walking paths, and shady oak, sycamore, and purple-blossomed ipê trees.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition