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The city is located on a plateau of the Brazilian Highlands extending inland from the Serra do Mar, which rises as part of the Great Escarpment only a short distance inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
The city itself sits in a shallow basin with low mountains to the west.
It lies about 220 miles (350 km) southwest of Rio de Janeiro and about 30 miles (50 km) inland from its Atlantic Ocean port of Santos.
Glass towers of different hues mingle with impressive granite and marble-faced structures next to metal-sheathed ones.
The city’s creatively eclectic appearance, comparable to that of any of the world’s great metropolitan centres, exemplifies the advanced state of Brazilian architecture.