A green tunnel, formed by the crowns of more then 100 trees of the tipuana species, is the main attraction of Gonçalo de Carvalho street, at the south side of Porto Alegre, which recently gained the nick name of the “most beautiful in the world”. The status was given by a Portuguese biologist who, amazed by the pictures on the internet, wrote an excited post regarding the place. Now, with almost 500 wooded meters, it is the newest tourist point in the city.
Whoever visits the city always wants to see the street, but very few know that the fight to preserve it was immense. The graphic artist, Cesar Cardia, of the neighborhood association and responsible for the blog Friends of Gonçalo de Carvalho Street – You have to resist, he remembers the struggle in 2003 to stop the building of a vertical garage on the region and the “reconstruction” of the street, which was going to be widened.
“Trees were going to be knocked down and the pavement would be substituted by asphalt. The people who live there didn’t like that one bit and decided to mobilize”, said Cesar. They reported the fact, went from door to door to ask for signatures, created a blog, asked for help of the media and even started to receive e-mails from out of the country. “Many people supported us, but at times we were called ‘enemies of progress’ because we didn’t want to widen the street.”
The battle was finally won in 2006 when city hall declared the street a Historical, Cultural, Ecological and Environmental Heritage of Porto Alegre. The pebbles, which help preserve the tress by waterproofing the soil, were kept and no Tipuana was cut down. “This is the most beautiful street in the world not only because of it’s beauty, but because of the history of fights it has”, said Cesar.