Recife and Olinda

Cape Lighthouse

Recife was built as a port city along tropical, white-sand beaches lined with palm trees. It is the capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco.


Recife is a fast growing urban area that has been called the “Venice of Brazil” because it is dissected by numerous waterways and connected by many bridges. The city got its name from the coral reefs that line the coast. Local fishermen go out into the high seas in “jangadas”, crude log rafts with beautiful sails unique to the area, that require expert navigational skills to maneuver. Recife exports great quantities of the hinterland’s products, including sugar, cotton, and coffee.


Olinda, now an UNESCO designated world heritage city, was founded in 1537 as the capital of the Portuguese captaincy of Pernambuco. Its economy depended heavily on sugar cane and slave labour. In 1630 the Dutch captured the city and held it for about 25 years. The town prospered under the governorship of Count John Maurice of Nassau.


Marco Zero (Ground Zero)

By the early 1700’s Recife (8 km away) started to overshadow the economic importance of Olinda. The city is noted primarily for its 16th and 17thcentury ornate churches and monasteries and for other colonial buildings. There is a large colony of artists who produce woodcarvings and pottery.


In order to get to know Brazil’s roots, where nature is abundant and the country offers its most extensive display of popular culture, you need to visit the northeast. This region includes nine states: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe, and one territory, the Fernando de Noronha Island. The delicious swing of typical dances, such as forró, frevo, ciranda, Maracatú, and lambada, as well as the electrical instrument caravans and Carnival, will easily captivate you.


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