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Lima CityscapeSão Paulo, popularly known as Sampa, is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and Americas, and the world's seventh largest city by population.


The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among the five largest metropolitan areas on the planet. São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, which is the most populous Brazilian state, and exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo maintains strong international influence and is considered an Alpha World City. The name of the city honors Saint Paul.

The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, São Paulo Museum of Art and the Ibirapuera Park. The Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, like the São Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Fashion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the São Paulo Indy 300.
It is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges (the second largest stock exchange in the World, in market value). São Paulo has been home to several of the tallest buildings in Brazil, including the building Mirante do Vale, Italia, Altino Arantes, North Tower of the UNSCOM (United Nations Centre Enterprise) and many others.

People from the city of São Paulo are known as paulistanos, while paulistas designates anyone from the whole of São Paulo state, including the paulistanos. The city's Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non dvcor, dvco, which translates as "I am not led, I lead."

The city, which is also colloquially known as "Sampa" or "Cidade da Garoa" (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion, and multitude of skyscrapers.

São Paulo is located in Southeastern Brazil, in southeastern São Paulo State, approximately halfway between Curitiba (Capital of Paraná State, previously part of São Paulo State) and Rio de Janeiro (former capital of Brazil and now capital of the State which bears the same name). The city is located on a plateau located within the Serra do Mar (Portuguese for "Sea Range"), itself a component of the vast region known as the Brazilian Highlands, with an average elevation of around 799 metres (2,621 ft) above sea level, although being at a distance of only about 70 kilometres (43 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean. This distance is covered by two highways, the Anchieta and the Imigrantes, (see "Transportation" section below) that roll down the range, leading to the port city of Santos and the beach resort of Guarujá. Rolling terrain prevails within the urbanized areas of São Paulo except in the northern area of the city, where the Serra da Cantareira Range boasts higher elevations and a sizable remnant of the Atlantic Rain Forest. The entire region is very stable tectonically, and no significant seismic activity has ever been recorded.

The Tietê River, and its tributary, the Pinheiros River, were once important sources of fresh water and leisure for São Paulo. However, heavy industrial effluents and wastewater discharges in the later 20th century caused the rivers to become heavily polluted. A substantial clean-up program for both rivers is underway, financed through a partnership between local government and international development banks such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Neither river is navigable in the stretch that flows through the city, although water transportation becomes increasingly important on the Tietê river further downstream (towards South, near river Paraná), as the river is part of the River Plate basin.

There are no large natural lakes in the region, but the Billings and Guarapiranga reservoirs in the southern outskirts of the city are used for power generation, water storage, and leisure activities, such as sailing. The original flora consisted mainly of a great variety of broadleaf evergreens. Today, non-native species are common, as the mild climate and abundant rainfall permit a multitude of tropical, subtropical and temperate plants to be cultivated, with eucalyptus being especially ubiquitous.

São Paulo has two main airports. The São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (IATA: GRU) for the international flights and the Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (IATA: CGH) for domestic and regional flights. Another airport, the Campo de Marte Airport, serves light aircraft and helicopters. The three airports together moved 42,617,779 passengers in 2010, making São Paulo one of the top 20 busiest in the world, by number of air passenger movements. The region of Greater São Paulo is also served by São José dos Campos Airport and Viracopos-Campinas International Airport.

Congonhas Airport operates flights mainly to Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasília. After the upgrade work by Infraero has been completed, passengers now enjoy new boarding lounges, located on the mezzanine level, accessed by escalators. Besides this, eight boarding bridges were installed to provide more comfort to passengers by eliminating the need to walk in the open to their flights.

The terminal area was expanded from 37.3 thousand to over 51 thousand square meters. This expansion did not seek to raise capacity, which was already saturated, but only to satisfy current demand. Congonhas Airport, built in the 1930s, was designed to handle 6 million passengers a year and was operating with 12 million a year. The ample new boarding area, separated from the main concourse, adds greatly to passenger comfort.

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