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Belo Horizonte (Portuguese for "beautiful horizon", (IPA: [bɛloɾiˈzõtʃi] ) is the capital of Minas Gerais state, located in the southeastern region of Brazil. It is the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Belo Horizonte or "Beagá" as it is more familiarly known from the sound of its initials BH in Portuguese; has a population of almost 2.4 million and over 5.3 million in the official Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte.
The first settlements in the region occurred in the early 1700s, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. It is nowadays well known for the contrast between contemporary and classical buildings, being in fact the location of many modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Church.
The city offers interesting leisure areas, theatres boasting an intense artistic-cultural production, good and varied cuisine, exquisite handcrafts available on the markets and specialised shops, and maintains a traditional characteristic: the typical regional hospitality. Economic development has been proceeding through the professionalisation of many different tourism segments, above all the areas of events and business.
The Confins International Airport connects Belo Horizonte with many Brazilian cities and also operates international flights.
The city is home to the Federal University of Minas Gerais.