Situation and CharacteristicsSergipe, the smallest state in Brazil, lies on the east coast, bordered on the west by Bahia and on the north-east, beyond the Rio São Francisco, by Alagoas. In the fertile coastal region arable farming (cotton, sugar-cane, fruit, vegetables) predominates, in the arid uplands stock-rearing. Its raw materials consist of minerals and offshore natural gas and oil.
BeachesAlong the 200km/125mi long coastline of Sergipe there are numerous beaches, some still unspoiled. To the south of Aracaju are the beaches of Coroa, Meio (7km/4.3mi) and Atalaia Velha (9km/5.6mi), which is famed for its caranguejos (giant crabs up to 25cm/10in. in diameter) and has good hotels.South of Aracaju on the Bahia road (BR 101) are the beaches of Náufragos, Abaís and Caueira, all of unspoiled beauty. Beyond this, in Estância Bay, where the road crosses the Rio Real on the boundary between Sergipe and Bahia states, are the huge sand-dunes of Saco Beach.On the island of Santa Luzia, in the Rio Sergipe, are the fishing village of Barra dos Coqueiros and the beach of Atalaia Nova. Here, in 1988, was built the first Hotel da Ilha, a good base from which to seek out the numerous, largely undeveloped, beaches on the island.To the north of Aracaju and Barra dos Coqueiros extends an unbroken stretch of coast which is still practically untouched. Near the border with Alagoas state, on the Rio São Francisco, is the Ponta do Arambipe, the last beach in Sergipe state.
Sao Cristovao, Brazil
São CristóvãoSão Cristóvão, founded in 1590 and until 1855 capital of Sergipe state, lies 25km/15mi south of Aracaju. The town is now protected as a national monument. Many of its winding streets and centuries-old churches and houses have preserved their characteristic aspect.
The church and monastery of São Francisco, on Praça São Francisco, date from 1693. The monastery now houses a Museum of Sacred Art (17th-19th centuries).
Capuchin Church10km/6mi from São Cristóvão are the ruins of the Igreja dos Capuchinhos (1746), which was destroyed during the Dutch invasion.
Igreja da Misericórdia
On Praça São Francisco is the Igreja da Misericórdia. The church, built in 1627, belongs to the orphanage of the Imaculada Conceição (1646).
Nossa Senhora da Vitória
N.S. da VitóriaOn Praça Getúlio Vargas are the 17th century church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória and a number of other colonial buildings.
Senhor dos Passos
On Praça Senhor dos Passos are the churches of the Senhor dos Passos (1739-43) and the Ordem Terceiro do Carmo (1776).
The Museum, housed in the Palácio do Governo, contains pictures, ceramics, furniture and other relics of the past.
23km/14mi north of Aracaju is the little town of Laranjeiras, which was founded in 1605, razed to the ground during the Dutch occupation and rebuilt by the Jesuits in the 18th century.
Nossa Senhora da Comandaroba (Gruta de Pedra Furada)
The Jesuits built the church of Nossa Senhora da Comandaroba, 4km/2.5mi outside the town of Laranjeiras, has a Baroque altar. Tradition has it that there was a tunnel from the high altar to the Pedra Furada Cave, 3km/2mi from Laranjeiras on the same road as the church, so that in the event of danger the monks might take refuge in the cave.
Sant'AninhaThe chapel of Sant'Aninha (1875) contains porcelain figures of saints. The high altar is decorated with gold mosaics.
Afro-Brazilian MuseumIn Rua José do Prado Franco are the Afro-Brazilian Museum, housed in the Palácio Accioles Ribeiro, a stone-built 19th century neo-classical mansion, and the church of São Benedito.
Nossa Senhora da Conceição do Pargos
N.S. da ConceiçãoThe church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição dos Pargos (1843) now houses a Museum of Sacred Art.
Sagrado Coração de Jesus
The church of the Sagrado Coração de Jesus (Sacred Heart) dates from the 18th century.
Santo Antônio7km/4.5mi south of Laranjeiras on the Aracaju road are the old Jesuit house and church of Santo Antìnio, now private property.