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Explore Recife

Recife is the third largest city in the Northeastern Region of Brazil, the largest metropolitan area and the most important cultural, economical and political city in this Region. It is the 5th largest metropolitan area in Brazil and the capital of Pernambuco. Recife is also where the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River to flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

Recife Tourist Information

Known as the Brazillion Venice.

Recife is served by Guararapes International Airport. Surrounded by rivers and crossed by bridges, Recife is full of islands and mangroves that magnify its geography. It is known as the Brazilian Venice, thanks to its fluvial resemblance with the European city, and is considered one of Brazil's cultural capitals.

Recife is the birthplace of poets and writers Manuel Bandeira, Carlos Pena Filho, Saulo Moreira, Sebastião Uchoa Leite, Nelson Rodrigues, Gilberto Freyre, Paulo Freire and João Cabral de Melo Neto; and of such composers as Lenine, Fred Zero Quatro, Otto, Pochyua Andrade, Don Tronxo, Valença Brothers, Antônio Nóbrega, Naná Vasconcelos, Jorge du Peixe, Paulo Diniz, Fernando Lobo, Antônio Maria and Chico Science. Canadian ice hockey player Robyn Regehr and footballers Rivaldo and Juninho Pernambucano were also born in Recife.

The area around Recife was one of the first in Brazil to be settled by the Portuguese Crown. In 1534, John III of Portugal divided Brazil into Hereditary Captaincies; the Portuguese realized that they had no human or financial resources to invest in such a large and distant colony, and decided to assign this task to private entrepreneurs, called Donatários as this system had already been successful in the settlement of the Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Because of several problems, most Captaincies failed. One of the few to prosper was the Captaincy of Pernambuco, which was assigned to Duarte Coelho Pereira, the man who founded Olinda and became famous for expressing his enchantment with the beauty of the place, giving the name to the city.

A mixture of Portuguese, Indians and and Black Slaves.

Pernambuco prospered from the sugarcane industry (beet sugar was not industrially produced in Europe until the beginning of the 19th century). At the time, in Europe, sugarcane plantations could be grown only in Andalusia and the Algarve; in the 1420s, sugarcane was carried to the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores; the sugar from Brazil was very appreciated in Europe. Duarte Coelho found in Pernambuco plenty of fertile land and an excellent climate for the cultivation of cane; all he needed was labor to work in the crops and to keep the "engenhos" ,rustic wooden machinery moving.

At first, the Portuguese tried to use the indigenous peoples of Brazil, but they soon realized that the indigenous culture was not compatible with the work in the engenhos. The solution was to import black slaves from Africa; from the 16th to the 19th century, Pernambuco received many slaves, making it one of the Brazilian States where black culture has the most visible traces in dance, music, culinary, etc. Alone, this mixture of Portuguese, Indians and black slaves would be enough to make Recife one of the most culturally diverse cities in Brazil.

Expelling the Dutch.

The Dutch added to the mix. From 1580 to 1640, the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal were unified under the rule of the former. Spain was engaged in a war against Holland, and determined that the Dutch, who were the main distributors of Brazilian sugar in Europe, would be prohibited from coming to Brazil. The Dutch decided to invade several sugar producing cities in Brazil, including Salvador and Natal. From 1630 to 1654, they took control of Recife and Olinda. During this period, the first synagogue of the Americas was founded in the city, and for this brief time Recife became one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world.

The inhabitants fought on their own to expel the Dutch, being helped by the involvement of the Dutch in the First Anglo-Dutch War. This was known as the Insurreição Pernambucana (Pernambucan Insurrection). Most of the Jews fled to Amsterdam; others fled to North America, starting the first Jewish community of New Amsterdam now known as New York City. During the 18th century, riots spread throughout the city, in which the rich farmers of Olinda and the traders from Recife clashed. Recife had a clear advantage in relation to Olinda: Olinda has no harbour, while Recife's Harbor is one of the best on the Atlantic. Recife's victory asserted the supremacy of its bourgeoisie over the decadent sugar aristocrats of Olinda. This was a decisive factor for Recife's growth.

Recife is now a large city whereas Olinda is a small historical town. Recife is located in the so called Litoral zone (Seashore Zone) of Pernambuco, an area a few tens of kilometers wide adjoining the coast. Thanks to the proximity with the sea, Recife is not so affected by the droughts commonly observed in the arid zone of the Sertão, which takes the best part of the West of the State of Pernambuco. Temperature in Recife ranges from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. The rainy season usually goes from May to August. Within its metropolitan area are the cities of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Olinda, Paulista, Abreu e Lima, Igarassu, Camaragibe, Cabo de Santo Agostinho, and São Lourenço da Mata.

An excellent structure for business events.

Recife wins over its visitors" hearts with its multitude of attractions, making it a truly unique place. The city is a growing metropolis, which can be readily seen on a trip along Boa Viagem Beach or to the sophisticated commerce. It is, at the same time, a place of historical and architectonic heritage, demonstrated by the several 17th and 18th Century constructions, an inheritance from Portuguese and Dutch colonizers. Pernambuco"s capital also stands out for its modernity.

It offers an excellent structure for business events, having large and small installations that are well equipped and ready to hold congresses, Expositions, Fairs and national and international company meetings in all areas. Within an area surrounded by the Capibaribe, Beberibe and Jordão Rivers, the city reveals many different facets. The traffic is facilitated by the many bridges, which gave it the nickname of the Brazilian Venice. Just like Pernanmbuco, one of the richest States in culture, Recife presents several unique popular habits and traditions that can be found on every corner of the city, enchanting and entertaining its visitors.

Recife"s street Carnaval is considered one of the best and most joyous in Brazil, attracting multitudes of people. It starts on a Saturday with a Galo da Madrugada group parade and continues under the heat and hot February sun for three days, at the rhythm of frevo and maracatu (typical Brazilian dances). There are several tours around the city and its neighboring areas.

There are rafts leaving Boa Viagem Beach and boat rides along the beautiful Pernambuco coast. Another excellent destination is Olinda [link para Olinda], a city granted the Heritage of Humanity, just a few miles away from Recife. The ocean waters are warm and the beaches are visited by tourists throughout the year. There are also several restaurants serving the best typical and international cuisine as well as modern and diversified hotel chains.

Nightime in Recife.

At night, it is time for bars and outdoor shows, located in remodeled old buildings in Old Recife, another must stop. For scuba diving lovers, the city offers some must be seen places for underwater adventures. Recife is one the best destinations in the country in this segment, with many natural pools along its coast and a shipwreck yard with more than 30 boats. Submerged old embarkations, located in depths from nine to 58 meters, still keep some historical remains, as well as fish, algae and coral that have grown on them over time.

In order for the tourist to explore all these underwater wonders, the city has an efficient support structure comprised of several qualified and experienced diving companies. Recife"s joyous Carnaval is nationally known and admired, attracting thousands of people every year. The party starts a week before the official date, with electric trios "shaking" the Boa Viagem district. On Friday, people take to the streets to enjoy themselves to the sound of frevo and to dance with maracatu, ciranda, caboclinhos, afoxé, reggae and manguebeat (cultural movement created in Recife during the 90s) groups.

There are still many other entertainment poles spread out around the city, featuring local and national artists. One of the highlights is Saturday when more than one million people follow the Galo da Madrugada group. From Sunday to Monday, there is the Night of the Silent Drums, on the Pátio do Terço, where Maracatus honor slaves that died in prisons.

Accustomed to receive thousands of visitors every year, Recife is well prepared and well structured in terms of lodging as well as gastronomy. There are several lodging options - from simple and cozy inns and camping grounds to luxury and sophisticated hotels overlooking the sea. The city"s restaurants, bars, snack bars and cafés do not disappoint the tourists.

Recife provides visitors and residents with various sport activities. There are several soccer clubs based in Recife, such as Sport (1987 national soccer champion and 35 times state champion), Santa Cruz FC (23 times state champion), and Náutico (21 times state champion).

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