Megacity Sao Paulo

Overwhelming city

Sao Paulo is loud, chaotic and unstructured. With an estimated 20 million residents, it's the most important city in Brazil.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Simply enormous

The largest metropolis in the southern hemisphere, Sao Paulo is also the largest center for German industry outside of Germany. It's a city with many faces, bad air pollution, and a disturbing gap between rich and poor.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Luxury and excess

In the mid-19th century, coffee was harvested in the highlands surrounding Sao Paulo. The city profited from the staple. With the onset of the industrial age, it grew to become South America's largest metropolis. Today, there is plenty of money in the city, and there are shops catering to every want and need.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Feeling safe

Sao Paulo's upper-class lives in luxury apartments, separated from the rest of the city. Fear of attacks and kidnappings is great, so electric fences, security cameras and guards are a must.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Melting pot

The Paulistanos, as the residents of the city are called, have mixed cultural backgrounds - Brazilian, Native American, European, African and Asian. In many cases, their ancestors came to Sao Paulo to flee hunger and violence, or were brought against their will as slaves.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Looking for work

Around the year 1900, foreigners made up the majority of the workforce in Sao Paulo. Italians, Germans, Poles and Portuguese were among them.

Megacity Sao Paulo


The city is still very multicultural and entire neighborhoods have been shaped by groups of immigrants. In recent years, a large number of immigrants have come from Korea. Most of them live in Bom Retiro, a neighborhood which had mainly been home to Jews from central and eastern Europe up until the 1980s.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Chronic chaos

Sao Paulo has no real city center. More and more skyscrapers are built, the mountains of concrete continue to become increasingly dense, and the streets are constantly jammed with traffic. Those who can afford it travel by helicopter.

Megacity Sao Paulo

Major challenges

The city faces a number of ecological problems: polluted air, trash on the streets, and unclean water. It also has to deal with brutal crime and bitter poverty, mainly in the favelas at the edge of the city.

Megacity Sao Paulo


Sao Paulo is depressing and fascinating. It is a city of extremes, a juggernaut of modernity - a provocation.

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