Ribeirão Preto (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁibejˈɾɐ̃w ˈpɾetu], Black Brook or Black Stream) is a municipality in the northeastern region of the state of São Paulo in Brazil. It has been nicknamed Brazilian California because of a combination of an economy based on agrobusiness and high technology and year-round sunny weather. There are numerous highways linking Ribeirão Preto to other cities, such as Anhanguera Highway and Cândido Portinari Highway, as well as a rail terminal and Doctor Leite Lopes Airport.
According to the 2010 Census, Ribeirão Preto was the eighth largest municipality in the state. The population is 666,323 (2015 est.) in an area of 650.9 km². It is situated 313 km (194 mi) from the city of São Paulo and 706 km (439 mi) from Brasília, the federal capital. Its mean altitude is 546.8 meters (1,794 feet) high. The city’s average temperature throughout the year is 23,2 °C (73,75F) and the predominant original vegetation is the Atlantic forest.
The city was originated around 1856 in an agricultural region. Coffee was a primary source of income until 1929, when it lost value compared with the industrial sector. In the second half of the 20th century, investment in areas such as health, biotechnology, bioenergy and information technology led to the city being declared a Technological Center in 2010. These activities have caused the city to have the 30th biggest GNP in Brazil.
In addition to its economic importance, the city is also an important cultural center. The Prefeito Luiz Roberto Jábali Park, the Maurilio Biagi Park and the Zoo Garden are important preservation areas, while the Pinguim Choperia, the Dom Pedro Theatre and projects as the Ribeirão Preto’s Cinema Center are relevant sightseeing points, along with such cultural events as the Agrishow and the National Book Fair.
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