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João Pessoa (pronounced [ʒuãũ pesoɐ]), formerly Parahyba do Norte in 1917 and sometimes called the city where the sun rises first, is a Brazilian city and the easternmost city in the Americas at 34º47'38"W, 7º9'28"S. Local residents call its easternmost point Ponta do Seixas. It is also considered "the second greenest city in the world". The city has more than 7 square kilometres of forested land, losing only to Paris. It gained this distinction in 1992, after a survey of urban centres in various countries carried out by the United Nations (source: Embassy of Brazil in the UK). The city is characterized by the juxtaposition of tropical beaches, modern architecture and historic buildings from colonial periods.
João Pessoa is the capital of Paraíba, a state in the northeast region of Brazil and home to some of the most noted Brazilian poets and writers such as Augusto dos Anjos (1884-1908), José Américo de Almeida (1887-1980), José Lins do Rego (1901-1957) and Pedro Américo (1843-1905) (mostly known for his historical paintings). It took its current name in 1930 as a homage to state president (governor) João Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, who was assassinated on 26 July of that year. It is the state's largest and most important city, with a population of about 672,000 (about one sixth of the state's population - 2006 estimate). Its metropolitan area comprises eight other satellite cities (Bayeux, Cabedelo, Conde, Lucena, and Santa Rita) and about 384,000 people, reaching more than 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.
It is the capital with the shortest distance from another capital (Recife, PE) which is around 120km away, as well as Natal, RN, 180km North of João Pessoa. Due to the high growing rate of these three capital cities, it is believed that for the next few decades an informal megalopolis will be set up, especially between Recife and João Pessoa.
The capital of Paraíba is one of the oldest in the northeast of the Country. Big theatres, auditoriums and convention centres are part of the available infrastructure in the city; ready to host the most varied types of events and business meetings.
The new Presidente Castro Pinto International Airport connects João Pessoa with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights.
The city is home to the Federal University of Paraíba and several other universities and faculties. A project entitled ESTAÇÃO CIÊNCIA, CULTURA e ARTES (Science, Culture and Art Station) by world renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is being developed at Ponta do Seixas.