Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul

Santa Maria
Vista de Santa Maria (RS).jpg
Flag of Santa Maria
Official seal of Santa Maria
Location in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Location in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Santa Maria is located in Brazil
Santa Maria
Santa Maria
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 29°41′0″S 53°48′0″W / 29°41′0″S 53°48′0″W / -29.68333; -53.80000
Country   Brazil
Region South
State Rio Grande do Sul
 •  Mayor Jorge Cladistone Pozzobom ( PSDB)
 • Total 1,823.1 km2 (703.9 sq mi)
Elevation 113 m (371 ft)
Population (2016)
 • Total 277,309 [1]
Time zone UTC-3 ( UTC-3)
 • Summer ( DST) UTC-2 ( UTC-2)

Santa Maria is a municipality (município) in the central region of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. In 2017, its population was 278,445 inhabitants in a total area of 1,823 square kilometres (704 sq mi). Santa Maria is the 5th biggest municipality in the state, and the largest in its micro-region. [2]

Santa Maria is often referred to as the "heart of Rio Grande" (from Portuguese: "Coração do Rio Grande"), because the geographical center of the state is located in a rural District of Santa Maria called Passo do Verde. Santa Maria is also given the nicknames of "University City" (Portuguese: "Cidade Universitária") or "Culture city" (Portuguese: "Cidade Cultura"), due to its large student population. The largest university, the Federal University of Santa Maria, was founded in 1960 by José Mariano da Rocha Filho; while the private university center Centro Universitário Franciscano was founded in 1951. The city also has a number of other smaller private colleges.

The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Maria, and annually hosts an important Roman Catholic festival dedicated to Nossa Senhora Medianeira, called "Romaria da Medianeira" (Medianeira is a name of Our Lady that was created in Venice, Italy). Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over Brazil join in the celebrations.

Due to its strategic geographical location, Santa Maria has a large military force, including the Santa Maria Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force, which houses four units, and the 3rd Army Division of the Southern Military Command. In 2011, the German defence company  Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG (KMW) closed a deal to renovate old tanks and produce new ones for the Brazilian Army, opening a factory in Santa Maria [3]. This earned the city its new nickname, "Armoured Capital" (from Portuguese: Capital dos Blindados).


Santa Maria is the fifth largest city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, after Porto Alegre, Caxias do Sul, Pelotas, and Canoas. Many of the city's inhabitants are of German and Italian ancestries. [4]

It is the largest city in the central region of the state, concentrating 36.40% of this region's population. During the period between 2000 and 2010, Santa Maria had a demographic growth rate of 6.00%.

The municipality contains 10 districts. The city of Santa Maria itself is located in the urban Seat District (Distrito Sede), which is divided into 8 regiões administrativas ( administrative regions), and further subdivided into 40 bairros ( neighbourhoods). About 95% of the municipality's total population is concentrated in the Seat District. One of the districts is Palma.

Other Languages
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Santa Maria (RS)
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: সান্টা মারিয়া
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Santa Maria (Brazil)