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The Praia de Iracema (Iracema's beach), one of the first urban nuclei of the city, holds many bars and restaurants as well. It includes the pier known as the Ponte dos Ingleses (Bridge of the Englishmen) —located near the old docks—which is used to watch the sunset and spot dolphins. The Avenida Beira-Mar runs along the shoreline past the beaches of Meireles, Volta da Jurema and Mucuripe. For three miles, there are skyscrapers and office blocks on one side and beaches on the other. Several of the superior hotels and many bars and restaurants are at either end of the promenade, we stayed in the Oasis Atlantico Hotel near by the sea and Feirinha da Beira-Mar, the open air market place of the handicrafts. The fishermen work from Mucuripe beach , and draw their jangadas up above the tideline. The Praia do Futuro (Beach of the Future) is a popular meeting place for bathers, with many beachside restaurants, built in the local style using carnauba straw and called "Barracas de Praia" (Beach Huts.) Futuro beach has bandstands where people dance the Forro.

The name Iracema refers to an Indian female of that name, who became part of the History of Ceará. History books say that a Portuguese called Martim Soares Moreno was one of the greatest heroes of the war against the Dutch invasors, in the first half of the 17th century, and he chose to live in Ceará, among the Indians.

In the 19th century, José de Alencar, one of the greatest Brazilian writers, wrote a book called Iracema; in the book, Iracema was the wife of Martim Moreno. Iracema provided the strenght that Moreno needed to fight. The name Iracema doesn't appear in the History books, but Alencar said that his novel was inspired by tales he heard since childhood.

Iracema is so entrenched in Fortaleza's history that there are five statues of her in the city. The statue in the beach of Iracema is known as "Iracema, Guardiã" (Iracema, the Guardian), and is from 1996, whereas the other statues portray Iracema and her family (the oldest one from 1965).

Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura
The brand-new Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, a couple of blocks east of the market, makes a striking contrast to the rest of the city. Architecturally it’s very modern, but its steel and glass curves blend sensitively with the attractive old terraced buildings over and around which it is built. On almost 30 thousand square meters of area, it includes spaces like Cearense Culture Memorial, the Conteporary Art Museum of Ceará, the Menezes Pimentel Public Library, a modern theater room, two cinema rooms, the Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, the Sérgio Mota Open Theatre, an auditorium and classrooms.

Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular
Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular is laid out in a single huge gallery on the first floor, this is a comprehensive collection of Cearense artesanato of all kinds, together with a sample of the painting and sculpture produced by the best of the state’s modern artists. In the same building you’ll find the smaller Museu de Mineralogia, introducing the massive quartz crystals and a wide range of semi-precious stones, as well as some fossils.


Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in northeastern Brazil. With a population of over 2.4 million, it is the fourth most populous city in Brazil and the third most important city in the region in economic terms.

The photo galleries:
Arriving to Brazil and Fortaleza

Beira Mar
Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura

Mercado Central

Catedral Metropolitana
Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular
Ponte dos Ingleses

Praia do Futuro

Fortaleza map

Fortaleza's history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe's cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación. Because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, the discovery was never officially sanctioned. Colonisation began when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fortim de São Tiago in the estuary of Ceará River in 1603. Later, the Dutch occupied the Brazilian Northeast and founded the Fort Schoonenborch. When they were expelled from Ceará, the Portuguese renamed it to Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção and, around the well-preserved fort, a small village grew to become one of largest city in Brazil.

General info
Fortaleza has a typical tropical climate, with warm to hot temperatures and high relative humidity all throughout the year.

Ethnic Groups: 97% white and mixed (majority Portuguese descent, minority Italian and Spanish descent), 3% black or Afro-Brazilian.

Brazilians are relaxed and welcoming, and love music and partying. They love to have picnics on beach and take all the family, food and furniture with them. I was told that beach is the Brazilian living room. The local music, known as Forro, a Portuguese and African mix can be heard everywhere in bars, restaurants, night clubs and on the beach. It is played on accordion and tambourin often with a song of mournful negro slave lament.

Three thousand hours of sunlight per year and the constant ocean breeze make Fortaleza an appealing tourist attraction, both for Brazilians and foreigners.

The Metropolitan Cathedral and Mercado Central
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza, which took nearly 40 years to complete (1939-78), and was designed by French architect George Mounier. The church, built in Gothic-Roman style, fits 5,000 people, and is the third largest in Brazil.

Set right next to the cathedral on Rua Conde d’Eu, is the striking new Mercado Central, The Central Market, a huge complex holding hundreds of small stores, with four floors and designed specifically to be a market. Talented artists produce stuff in clothes, leather, wood, glass, coconuts, sand and more, and Mercado has food and drink stalls where you can buy anything produced locally from lace to alcohols, cachacas and cashew nuts.

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