Ribeirao Arrudas, Belo Horizonte

In the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is a city with a hidden river running through its center. Instead of serving as a visual feature, it was driven underground as a result of rapid urbanization. When the country’s monarchy was overthrown in 1889, state leaders sought a new beginning for Minas Gerais with a new capital in a location conducive to urban expansion. The former Curral del Rei mining town was selected, redesigned by planners and subsequently renamed Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon).

In 1897, the new state capital was officially inaugurated. The Ribeirão Arrudas flowed through the center of the city, permitted to flow freely by urban planner Aarão Reis, who laid the city out in a checkerboard pattern.

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The stream was a nuisance, frequently overflowing its banks. Between 1974 and 1997, the river was forced into a concrete channel and in some sections, completely concealed beneath the traffic.  Continue reading