Brazil // Brasília and the Planalto Central //

Memorial JK (Juscelino Kubitschek)

Further up the Eixo is the Memorial JK (Juscelino Kubitschek), best reached by one of the many buses heading up the Eixo, as it’s too far to walk. Here, a rather Soviet-looking statue of Brasília’s founder stands inside an enormous question-mark, pointing down the Eixo towards the heart of government. The museum below reverently reproduces JK’s library and study, while the man himself lies upstairs in state in a black marble sarcophagus, backlit by an extraordinary combination of purple, violet and orange lights – the only thing missing is a sound system piping in “The Age of Aquarius”. All around is a fascinating display of personal mementoes of JK’s career and the founding and construction of the city, including photos and video clips of his funeral and the dedication of the Memorial – in turning out in their hundreds of thousands in his honour, despite the desire of the military dictatorship to keep the event low-key, the population of the Distrito Federal made the first important anti-military demonstration, one of the reasons for the subsequent slow relaxing of the military’s grip on power.

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