Rio Grande de Norte Attractions
Rio Grande do Norte StateSituation and CharacteristicsThe state of Rio Grande do Norte lies in the extreme north-east of Brazil. In spite of the similarity of name it has nothing to do with Rio Grande do Sul. It is bordered on the north-west by Xeará and on the south by Paraíba. Most of the state's area lies in the foothills of the Brazilian Highlands. The barren interior offers acceptable conditions only for cattle-rearing; in the coastal region cotton, sugar-cane and grain are grown.
NatalSituation and CharacteristicsNatal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, lies 537km/334mi south-east of Fortaleza, 185km/115mi north of João Pessoa and 297km/185mi north of Recife. It was founded on Christmas Day (in Portuguese "Natal") in 1599 on the banks of the Rio Potengi, later extending as far as the Atlantic coast.Bus stationAvenida Capitão-mor Gouveia 1237AirportAeroporto Internacional Augusto SeveroHistoryThe town developed after the Portuguese victory over the French and their Indian allies the Potiguares at the Forte dos Reis Magos ("Fort of the Three Kings"; built 1598). From 1633 to 1654 the settlement, then known as the Cidade dos Reis, was under Dutch control. Thirty years later the whole of Rio Grande do Norte was racked by the "Guerra dos Bárbaros", the worst native rising ever experienced in Brazil. The most violent fighting was between 1687 and 1697, but in subsequent years, until 1713, there were frequent skirmishes which decimated the Indian population.
Câmara Cascudo Museum
Câmara Cascudo MuseumOn Avenida Hermes da Fonseca, to the east of the Cidade Alta, is the Museu Câmara Cascudo, with anthropological and ethnographic material, utensils of the Amazonian Indians, fossils, skeletons, reconstructions of sambaquis (shell-mounds), Christian and Candomblé cult objects and local craft products.
Museum of Sacred Art
Beaches to North of NatalA memorable experience is a beach-buggy ride by way of the dunes fringing the beaches to the north of Natal to Cabo São Roque, the "elbow" of Brazil (i.e. the promontory in South America reaching farthest east in the direction of Africa).The first beach to the north is the Praia do Forte, the original nucleus of Natal. Beyond this is the Praia da Redinha, 20km/12.4mi from the city, where the Festa do Caju is celebrated in the first half of January and the Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes on January 20th (procession of boats).
Praia Genipabu Pitangu
Praia GenipabuPitangu30km/19mi north of Natal is the Praia Genipabu with its gigantic dunes. Beyond the estuary of the Rio Ceará-Mirim is the fishing village of Pitangu, on a lagoon with crystal-clear water. The offshore reefs shelter the beach, providing good conditions for swimming.
Praia Jacumã (Praia Muriú)
Praia JacumãPraia MuriúThe beaches of Jacumã and Muriú, rather more than 50km/30mi from Natal, also have immense dunes and lagoons.
Tourist CenterIn Rua Aderbal de Figueiredo (Petrópolis district) is the Casa da Detenção, the old prison, now occupied by the Tourist Center, with a museum, an art gallery, craft shops, a restaurant and a discothäque. Folk events, with dancing and singing, are put on here.
HarborNatal's harbor is in the Ribeira district, on the banks of the Rio Potengi. Farther south are the Cidade Alta (Upper Town) and the central area which contains most of the city's historic buildings.
Nossa Senhora da Apresentação (Cathedral)
N.S. da ApresentaçãoNew CathedralThe church of Nossa Senhora da Apresentação (1694), on Praça André de Albuquerque in the city center, was formerly the Cathedral. The New Cathedral (Catedral Nova) is farther east, on Avenida Deodoro.
Nossa Senhora Câmara Cascudo Memorial
Câmara Cascudo MemorialOn Praça André de Albuquerque is the Câmara Cascudo Memorial, with a library, a picture gallery, an art gallery and a collection of documents relating to the Rio Grande do Norte historian Câmara Cascudo.
Nossa Senhora do Rosário
N.S. do RosárioOn Praça D. Vital is the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (1714).