Fortaleza Tourist Attractions
Fortaleza, capital of Ceará state, an important port and tourist center, is Brazil's fifth largest city. It grew out of Fort Schoonenborch, founded by the Dutch in 1649 at the outflow of the Rio Pajeú into Mucuripe Bay. A few years later, in 1654, the fort fell to the Portuguese, was renamed Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção and became the seat of a capitania. Fortaleza is now famed throughout Brazil for its leather goods and textiles.Bus StationRua Oswaldo Studart
The Teatro José de Alencar, beyond Praça do Carmo, to the west of the Central Market, is a magnificent iron structure in Art Nouveau style, built in 1910 and reopened after restoration in 1991. The gardens were designed by Burle Marx. The entrance lobby and foyer are separated from the auditorium by an inner courtyard opening on to a garden, bringing air and light into the interior. The boxes are named after works by José de Alencar (1829-77), the famous Ceará-born novelist. In Praça José de Alencar is a monument in his honor.
Some distance south of Praça da Sé, in Rua Conde d'Eu, is the Mercado Central (Central Market), with more than 600 stalls where anything and everything can be bought. Good buys here are medicinal herbs and local craft products (pillow lace, embroidery, etc.).
Museum of Folk Art and Culture
The Museu de Arte e Cultura Populares (Museum of Folk Art and Culture), located in the State Tourist Office building, is one of Fortaleza's most interesting museums.
State Tourist Office (EMCETUR)
Near the railway station, housed in a former prison (1850-56), is the headquarters of EMCETUR, the State Tourist Office, which has over a hundred shops selling Brazilian craft products.
On the way there is Praça dos Mártires (Martyrs' Square; protected national monument), which in the 19th century was the citizens' favorite promenade.
There are a number of attractions within a short distance of Fortazela.
78km/48mi south-east of Fortaleza is Beberibe, around which are some of the finest beaches in the north-east - Morro Branco (4km/2.5mi), Fontes (10km/6mi), Marambaia (15km/9.3mi), Barra de Sucatinga (18km/11mi), Pirajuru (42km/26mi). At the first of these two there are cascades of fresh water pouring down from the hills. A further attraction of Praia das Fontes is the Mãe d'Agua, a small rock cave which emerges from the water at low tide.
This national park reveals a diverse landscape, with a highland region of caves, cliffs, and unique rock formations.
Near Porto das Dunas, 31km/19mi south-east of Fortaleza, is Aquiraz (pop. 45,000), which has preserved many colonial buildings, in particular a ruined Jesuit college and two buildings on Praça Cìnego Araripe, the church of São José de Ribamar (1756) and the 18th century Museum of Sacred Art, which also bears the name of São Josä de Ribamar, Ceará's patron saint.
Porto das Dunas
North-west and south-east of Fortaleza are numbers of beautiful beaches, with dunes and groves of palms. To the north-west, for example, there are Icaraí, Cumbuco and many more. 22km/14mi south-east of Fortaleza is the bathing resort of Porto das Dunas, with Beach Park and Aqua Park, where beach-buggies, boats and equipment for various water sports can be hired.
On Sundays a tourist train runs 92km/57mi south-west from Fortaleza to Baturité, a hill town (pop. 30,000) which has a number of buildings of the colonial period, including the church of Nossa Senhorra da Ralma (1764). Some 20km/12.4mi beyond the town is the Serra de Guaramiranga, with numerous waterfalls and the Pico Alto (1115m/3758ft), the highest peak in Ceará.
Birthplace of José de Alencar
Birthplace of José de Alencar14km/8.7mi south-east of the city on the road to Mecejana (reached by way of the Avenida Perimetral) is the house in which the novelist José de Alencar was born, now occupied by the Arthur Ramos Museum of Art, which contains a library and a collection of pictures illustrating scenes from Alencar's novels.
Fortazela - Historical and Anthropological Museum
Historical and Anthropological MuseumIn the eastern district of Aldeota, is the Museu Histórico e Antropológico do Ceará. Other interesting museums are the Museum of Art of the Federal University of Ceará on Avenida da Universidade (Benfica district) and the Center for the Preservation of Railway History (Centro de Preservação da História Ferroviária do Ceará) on Avenida Francisco Sá.
Praia do Futuro
Praia do FuturoFrom Praça Castro Carneiro (near the Tourist Office) there are buses to the Praia do Futuro, which has dunes up to 30m/100ft high and very clean water.
Praia do Mucuripe (Praia do Meireles)
On the Praia do Meireles and Praia do Mucuripe with its jangadas (both on the east side of the city) visitors can hire saveiros (schooner-like two-masted sailing boats) on which they can explore stretches of the coast almost inaccessible by road.