Brasilia, Brazil Geography

Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is known for its unique and innovative urban planning. The city is situated in the central-western region of Brazil and is known for its modernist architecture and urban design. The geography of Brasília is characterized by its flat terrain, the presence of artificial lakes, and the proximity of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains. In this essay, we will explore the geography of Brasília, focusing on its flat plains, the Paranoá and Descoberto Lakes, and the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains in the region.

Location and General Geography:

According to, Brasília is located in the central-western region of Brazil, within the Federal District. It is a purpose-built city that was officially inaugurated as the capital of Brazil in 1960. The city’s location in the Brazilian interior was chosen to promote development in the country’s less populated and underdeveloped areas.

Flat Plains:

The most prominent geographical feature of Brasília and its surroundings is the flat terrain. The city was carefully planned to be built on a high plateau known as the Central Plateau, which has relatively flat plains. This plateau allowed for the implementation of the unique urban design created by architects Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.

The flat plains provided a blank canvas for the city’s distinctive architectural layout, characterized by its monumental government buildings, wide boulevards, and open spaces. The city’s modernist architecture is designed to harmonize with the natural surroundings, which include artificial lakes and carefully planted vegetation.

Paranoá and Descoberto Lakes:

The geography of Brasília is significantly influenced by the presence of artificial lakes, particularly the Paranoá and Descoberto Lakes. These lakes serve multiple purposes, including water supply, recreation, and urban aesthetics.

Lago Paranoá (Paranoá Lake): Paranoá Lake is an artificial reservoir created by damming the Paranoá River. It is the larger of the two lakes and stretches for approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) across the city. The lake is the primary source of water supply for Brasília and provides the city with a beautiful waterfront and a variety of water-based recreational activities, such as sailing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Lago Descoberto (Descoberto Lake): Descoberto Lake, also known as Lake Descoberto, is another artificial reservoir that serves as a backup water supply for Brasília. It is located further west and is smaller in size compared to Paranoá Lake. The lake and its surrounding area are not as developed for recreation as Paranoá Lake but contribute to the city’s overall water security.

Serra da Mantiqueira Mountains:

While Brasília itself is situated on flat plains, it is relatively close to the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range. These mountains are located to the southwest of the city and add to the geographical diversity of the region.

Serra da Mantiqueira: The Serra da Mantiqueira range is part of the larger Brazilian Highlands and extends into the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. It is known for its lush vegetation, diverse wildlife, and stunning natural landscapes.

The mountains of Serra da Mantiqueira provide a contrast to the flat plains of Brasília. While the city itself is characterized by its modernist architecture and urban planning, the nearby mountains offer opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the natural beauty of the region.


The climate of Brasília is influenced by its flat plains and central location in Brazil. The city experiences a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons.

Wet Season: The wet season in Brasília typically runs from November to March, with January and February being the rainiest months. During this period, the city experiences heavy rainfall and the landscape becomes lush and green.

Dry Season: The dry season, from April to October, is characterized by lower humidity and minimal rainfall. This is the peak of the tourist season, as the city experiences pleasant, sunny weather.

Brasília’s climate, shaped by its geographical location on the Central Plateau, offers a range of seasonal conditions that influence the city’s outdoor lifestyle and cultural events.

Environmental Challenges:

Brasília faces environmental challenges related to water management, land use, and urban planning. The careful balance of urban development with the preservation of the city’s natural surroundings is essential.

Water Management: The city’s water supply relies on the Paranoá and Descoberto Lakes. Managing these water resources effectively is crucial to ensure a stable water supply for the city’s growing population.

Land Use and Urban Planning: As a purpose-built city, Brasília is known for its unique urban design. Ensuring that this design continues to harmonize with the natural environment while accommodating the city’s growth is an ongoing challenge.

Conservation: The nearby Serra da Mantiqueira mountains and their surrounding ecosystems require conservation efforts to protect the region’s biodiversity and natural beauty. These efforts include the establishment of protected areas and the promotion of sustainable tourism.


Brasília, the capital of Brazil, offers a unique geography characterized by its flat plains, artificial lakes, and proximity to the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains. Understanding the geography of Brasília is essential for appreciating the city’s modernist architecture, unique urban planning, and the challenges related to water management, land use, and conservation in this purpose-built capital. Brasília’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental preservation reflects its dedication to being a dynamic and aesthetically pleasing capital city in the heart of Brazil’s central plateau.

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