Curitiba is known in Brazil and world wide for being a city with high standards of living and concerned with sustainable growth. The city boasts high levels of education, low records of violence, the better urban transportation system among the bigger cities in Brazil.
Curitiba was chosen by FIFA as one of host cities of the World Cup 2014. Games will take place at the stadium Arena da Baixada, which belongs to Atletico Paranaense club; this is going to be the smallest stadium of the Cup, and one of the three private stadia (the other ones will be Morumbi, in Sao Paulo, and Beira Rio, in Porto Alegre).
Curitiba is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Paraná; the name means “Land of Pines” in indigenous language (reference to the vast forests of pinewards which existed in the region).
The city has the largest population, the largest economy in the State and also in southern Brazil. The population of Curitiba numbers approximately 1.8 million people (7th largest in Brazil) and the latest GDP figures for the city surpass US$17 billion (ranking 4th nationwide) according to IBGE.
Curitiba is an important cultural, political and economic center in the country. The city sits on a plateau at 932 metres (3,058 ft) above sea level. It is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of the sea port of Paranaguá and themain airport is Afonso Pena International.
Growth of the city was based on the cattle trade, being half way between cattle breeding country to the South and markets to the North. Waves of European immigrants started arriving after 1850, mainly Germans, Italians, Japanese, Poles and Ukrainians, contributing to the economic and cultural development of the city (Japanese descendent Cassio Taniguchi is an ex-mayor).
Currently, only small numbers of foreigners migrate to Curitiba, and these are mainly immigrants from Middle Eastern and South American countries, most of which settle in Foz do Iguaçu, in the border region with Argentina and Paraguay; there is, however, a significant inward flow of Brazilians from other States of the country, who are attracted by the higher standards of living of Curitiba (it is estimated that nowadays about half the population of Curitiba was not born in the city).
Curitiba hosts the Federal University of Paraná, one of the first universities in Brazil, established in Curitiba in 1913, which is the same year in which electric streetcars were first deployed.