The Valley of the Dawn
December 27, 2007 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Reading the January edition of Harper's, about Brasilia, I was struck by a bit about what is apparently one of many cults in around the capital city: the Valley of the Dawn. A Jewish UFO cult? The ultimate in syncretic religions? Book your flight now.They're a lot more open to foreigners than Macumba
posted by kozad (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Who needs UFO's when you've got the architecture of Brasilia?
posted by telstar at 2:02 PM on December 27, 2007

Pepsi Kool-Aid!
posted by loquacious at 3:14 PM on December 27, 2007

I think this cult was that writer's favorite part of Brasilia. He certainly didn't like much else.
posted by smackfu at 3:43 PM on December 27, 2007

The most striking feature was a pair of gigantic stairways leading to a cutout of a yellow sun with seven beams radiating from its orb. Now what on Earth, I wondered, is that supposed to symbolize?

There's a sign on the wall if you want to be sure.
posted by Tube at 4:04 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

There should be a Russ Meyer film called Beyond the Valley of the Dawn. Or Beneath the Valley of The Dawn. Whichever. Just as long as it involves square jawed men and top heavy women engaged in absurd feats of coitus while UFOs hover above them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2007

Wow! I spent almost a month last July/August in Brasilia, and it was an extremely interesting place. From all I've heard, it's absolutely nothing like much of the rest of Brazil, from both a cultural and architectural perspective (what with the planned city and all, and being in the middle of nowhere.)

What I took away from it was a few things...

1.) it's like Niemeyer's dream of the future, but from the 1950's/early 60's, so it's both "futuristic" and at the same time hopelessly dated. This is a bit overwhelming at times because the ENTIRE city is like this.

2.) Being based on automobiles, the central bus station is enormous and packed full of people... and the entire city has almost no stop signs/traffic lights, but instead a fantastic number of rotaries, often with two or more connected together. To get almost anywhere will involve several U-turns and a couple of spins on a rotary somewhere. This was interesting, and actually worked quite well some of the time.

3.) There are speed bumps everywhere - and I mean *everywhere* - and they can appear overnight. This got very old very fast.

4.) There are indeed a lot of cults or alternative religions in the area, but everyone seems to just roll with it... it didn't seem too strange, honestly.

A friend of a friend down there was closely involved at a high level in a Santaria religious organization, and that was interesting to learn about, for sure.

Ultimately I loved the people and places of Brazil, and Brasilia itself, but I feel that the city is somewhat doomed from an architectural standpoint because it really doesn't work. Of course people will make it work, but it won't stay the way it was designed to be, because human nature doesn't tend to follow nice little plans all that often.

Just my drunken thoughts on a thursday night.
posted by EricGjerde at 7:08 PM on December 27, 2007

I'd be interested to hear a comparison, from someone who's been to both, between Brasilia and some of the Chinese "planned cities" of the same (or more recent) era, that were done according to very different plans. From what I've read, most of the recent Chinese cities are built on a very rigid grid system and don't have anything like the rotaries that Brasilia has. I wonder which deals best with congestion and which are more "livable" on the whole.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:24 PM on December 27, 2007

One of the big complaints from the author was that there are large green spaces around the planned areas. The poor can't afford to live in the center, so they have to live past the green spaces, secluded from the well-off. But they still have to go in to the center every day, so the commute times are awful.
posted by smackfu at 5:49 AM on December 28, 2007

BTW, there are a lot of planned cities/communities in Scandanavia, and more and more in the US, but that's a different post.
posted by kozad at 2:29 PM on December 28, 2007

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