Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, Brazil has many parks, and several of them honor the various immigrant nationalities that form a part of this diverse city. Curitiba, in fact, is the only city in Brazil that has its own name in Polish: Kurytyba. When he visited Brazil in 1980, Pope John Paul II went to Curitiba, where he gave a mass in Polish. It’s no wonder that the Polish Brazilians honored him by calling the park dedicated to Polish culture “Bosque do Papa” – The Pope’s Woods.
In this park, there are several small buildings which were moved to the park from their original locations; they are not replicas – they are the actual original buildings that Polish immigrants built when they arrived in Brazil, starting in the year 1869. Between 1869 and 1920, approximately 60,000 Polish immigrants settled in southern Brazil. These buildings represent the resilience not only of the buildings but of the Polish and other immigrants who left their native land to make a new life in Brazil.
Another park in Curitiba honoring an immigrant group is Bosque Alemão, or German Woods. Many Germans arrived even before the Poles to settle in this area. Paths in Bosque Alemão wind through native forests. Much of the flora in this forest has been preserved, being the original forest found when Europeans first came to this area. Many of the trees and other species are centuries old! Because of the importance the people of Curitiba placed on preserving native flora, this resilient forest survives to this day for people to enjoy as they walk through the park.