Piauí StateSituation and CharacteristicsThe state of Piauí in north-eastern Brazil extends from a short coastline of only 80km/50mi up into the Brazilian Highlands. It is bounded on the west by the Rio Parnaíba, which separates it from Maranhão, on the south by Bahia, on the south-east by Pernambuco and on the east by Ceará. Sheep and cattle-rearing in the arid interior and the growing of cotton, sugar-cane, fruit and grain bring in only modest revenues.
TeresinaSituation and CharacteristicsTeresina, situated at the confluence of the Rio Poti and Rio Parnaíba, which here forms the boundary with the neighboring state of Maranhão, has been capital of Piauí state since 1852. It is 446km/277mi south-east of São Luís, capital of Maranhão.Bus stationOn BR 343AirportAeroporto Nacional TeresinaHistoryTeresina lies in the interior of Piauí, 370km/230mi south of the state's short coastline of only 65km/40mi. Piauí gained access to the sea only in the latter part of the 19th century: it was the only state in north-eastern Brazil which was opened up by the driving of cattle from the interior to the coast. Cattle-rearing gave the pioneers of the sertão, among whom were many bandeirantes, both the food supply they needed and the leather which they used to make clothing and everyday utensils.
Central MarketOn Praça Marechal Deodoro, near the Rio Parnaíba, is the Central Market (Mercado Central), where visitors will find offered for sale clothing and other articles of leather which are not very different from those of the colonial period, as well as a great range of craft products made from cedar, umburana and piqui wood, sisal hemp and buriti and carnauba palm fibres.Literatura de cordelAlso to be found in the market are typical local dishes and much literatura de cordel - trivial literature (so called because it was hung up on a string for sale) in which popular writers handle a great variety of themes, from the latest political events to popular legends.VioleirosVioleiros (guitar-players) and repentistos (impromptu singers) contribute to the liveliness of the scene. They also play an important part in local festivals - the Encontro de Folguedos do Piauí (June), the Encontro de Folguedos do Nordeste (dates variable) and the Grande Festival de Violeiros e Cantadores do Nordeste (Great Festival of Guitarists and Singers of the North-East) in July/August.
Nossa Senhora de Lourdes
N.S. de LourdesOn the south side of the town is the church of Nossa Senhora de Lourdes (1961), with fine life-sized figures of saints and angels by local sculptors.
Piauí MuseumOn Praça Marechal Deodoro is the Piauí Museum (established 1859), which contains religious art and Indian artifacts. Facing the Museum is the Prefecture.
Nossa Senhora do Amparo
N.S. do AmparoBeyond this, higher up, is the church of Nossa Senhora do Amparo (1852), in which the first mass in the new capital of Piauí was celebrated.
On Praça Dom Pedro is the Centro de Artesanato (Craft Center), in which leather goods, ceramics and articles made from plant fibres, wood and straw are offered for sale.
Palácio do Karnak
Palácio do KarnakOn Avenida Antônio Freire, is the late 19th century Palácio do Karnak, in Greco-Roman style, the seat of the state government.
Zoo and Botanic Garden
ZoobotânicoAmong the attractions of the Zoobotânico (Zoo and Botanic Garden), 12km/7.5mi outside the town, are a lake and beaches on the Rio Poti.
São BeneditoOn Praça da Liberdade is the church of São Benedito (1896), with carved wooden doors (national monument).
On Praça Dom Pedro II is the Teatro 4 de Setembro (1894), with neo-Gothic pointed arches framing its doors and windows.