By far the most interesting place to visit within easy walking distance of the rodoviária can be found in the unlikely setting of the Central Bank building, the unmistakeable concrete-and-black-glass skyscraper in Setor das Autarquias Sul, visible from anywhere in the centre. Tucked away by the building’s rear entrance is the Museu da Moeda, or the Museum of Money, where you’ll find a quirky but fascinating display of Brazilian currency from colonial times. It’s very interesting as social history, but overshadowed by the second part of the display, an extraordinary exhibition behind armoured glass of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Brazil – most dating from the 1980s, when the Central Bank was buying nuggets from the Amazon gold rush. Behind the bank building is Centro Cultural da Caixa, the city’s main art gallery, at any one time housing at least two travelling exhibitions; it’s dependably high quality and free.
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