Fortaleza - Ceará
To know Fortaleza is also to go on a trip on its history. The city got modernized, but still keeps signs from the past in museums, churches, fortresses, squares, stations, theaters and historic buildings.
The city center is filled with those memories, such as the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, built on the same place where the city originated, and the Luz Palace, a beautiful construction in classic style from the end of the 18th century, which used to be the State Government headquarters. However, going to the beaches is, without doubt, one of the best activities for those coming to Fortaleza.
Iracema, Meireles and Futuro beaches are among the most popular options within the city. To walk on the Beira Mar Avenue promenade from the start, at Mucuripe, up to the Ingleses Bridge, at Iracema Beach, is a must-do walk, and quite reinvigorating. Boat trips by the beach margins are offered at tourist spots and are ideal for those wishing to enjoy a panoramic view of the capital. The city has a physical structure able to cater for any type of event, local and international. Ease of access to the airport, flights available to many Brazilian regions and other countries, and the privileged location make the State a natural choice for organizers of fairs, conferences and events. Add the many tourism attractions, offering first class entertainment for the tourists.
The biggest off-season Carnival in Brazil happens over a weekend in the month of July.
Rock festival with local and national bands, every year in the month of November.
Is the preferred urban beach among the Fortaleza swimmers and has an excellent infrastructure. The beach is quite crowded on weekends. Choose one within many kiosks and enjoy the sun.
Porto das Dunas Beach
This beach has a great infrastructure for tourism. Here is based the biggest aquatic park in Brazil.
Most of the city’s hotels are located along Meireles beach. This beach, although very pretty, is not recommended for bathing due to its proximity to the port.
Morro Branco Beach
It is a breathtaking beach. Here it is possible to walk through an impressive labyrinth of rocks.
A beach adjacent to Morro Branco, it is a paradise for bathers. Lots of sunshine, fresh breeze and the warm water are an invitation for leisure. Don’t miss the Mãe D’Água grotto.
A fascinating place with beach, dunes and lagoons, a few kilometers away from Fontes.
Canoa Quebrada Beach
Canoa Quebrada is the memory of a generation of young adventurers who, in the 1970’s, sought and alternative lifestyle, mingling with the purest Nature. These days the beach is one of the most popular in the cearense coast, without losing the humble and cozy feel of the past.
This pretty beach is located a few kilometers from Fortaleza, on the North coast. An unmissable activity is a buggy ride in the majestic Icaraí Dunes.
This lagoon, located near the stunning Cumbuco beach, is among the main leisure areas in Fortaleza.
Old Customs House
Between 1941 and 1945, the building went through refurbishment. Today it is a branch of Caixa Econômica Federal. Location: 287 Pessoa Anta Avenue.
Old Public Jail
The cells became stalls where a variety of cearense crafts can be found. At the upper floor of the building is the Popular Art Museum, with religious and folkloric themes, and the Mineralogy Museum, with precious and semiprecious stones from Ceará and the Northeast. Location: 350 Senador Pompeu Street. Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturdays, 8am to noon.
Barra do Ceará
The touristic pole of Barra do Ceará stands out for its high historical and environmental value. This is the place where Pero Coelho de Sousa built the São Tiago Fortress, at the Ceará River fringe, west of the where the city of Fortaleza would later be located. The Ceará River marsh is rich in flora and fauna.
Regarding birds, there are 67 species, entertaining ornithologists and casual watchers. The Barra do Ceará salt marshes are famous since the foundation of Fortaleza. Location: Barra do Ceará district, by the margins of the Ceará River.
José de Alencar House
Small house where the cearense writer José de Alencar was born. Erected in 1826, it maintains the original structure until today. There are ruins from the first steam powered sugarcane plantation in Ceará, a collection of paintings, the Arthur Ramos museum, a library and a restaurant serving typical foods. Location: Av. Washington Soares, s/n, Sítio Alagadiço Novo, Messejana (15 km from the Fortaleza city center).
Fortaleza Metropolitan Cathedral
Its building started in 1938, at the site of the old Sé church. There were four decades of hardness, until its inauguration in 1978. With capacity for 5,000 people, the style is gothic-roman. Location: Sobral Street, s/n – Center.
Dragão do Mar Cultural Center
Inaugurated on August 7h, 1998, the Cultural Center has 30 thousand square meters of area to enliven the cearense culture and art. Attractions are the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Art Museum, the Cine-Theater, the anphitheater, the Arts Workshop and the Planetarium.
Location: 81 Dragão do Mar Street – Iracema Beach.
Teacher’s Reference Center - CRP
The Central Market used to be based at the Teacher’s Reference Center (CRP) site. Currently it is a great cultural and pedagogic center, popularizing access to culture, to communication and information technologies, allowing the use of computers connected to the Internet, where the citizen can use them for free for an hour and a half. Location: 434 Conde D'Eu Street – Center.
São Luiz Movie Theater
São Luiz Movie Theater took eighteen years of diligent work to be built and is the biggest and most luxurious cinema in Brazil. It has refinements worth of imperial palaces: Carrara marble on the floors and entrance hall walls, crystal chandeliers, details of the staircase in solid brass and a decoration on the walls of the projection room with striking artistic detail. Besides, there are 1,500 comfortable seats and a gallery for authorities. For a long time punters were required to dress in suits, such was the sumptuousness of the place. Location: 500 Floriano Peixoto Street – Center.
João Felipe Train Station
Built in 1880, the station was a bridge for arrivals and departures of trains for cargo and passenger transport from the inland to the capital. At present the station still has regular routes through the Metropolitan zone of Fortaleza. Location: Castro Carreira Square, Center.
Osvaldo Cruz Pharmacy
One of the most traditional commercial establishments in Fortaleza. It was founded around 1934 and was the first druggist in the city. The architecture has been maintained and the furniture is mostly old, with some original pieces. Location: 576 Major Facundo Street – Center.
The old lighthouse was a homage to Princess Isabel. Built in baroque style, between 1840 and 1846, by the slaves, it ceased to operate in 1957 and was reactivated in 1982, with the Rafters Museum. Currently, the Lighthouse Museum is based there and it has become National Heritage. Location: Vicente de Castro Av., s/n – Mucuripe.
Typical cearense culture crafts fair open every day from 5pm. There tourists can find a large variety of crafts: pictures, colored bottles, hammocks, lace, etc. Location: Beira Mar Av. (in front of Náutico Club).
Nossa Senhora da Assunção Fortress
It was built in 1649, by the dutchman Matias Beck, at the margins of the Pajeú brook, when it was called Schoonemborch Fortress. In 1654, after the Dutch ousting, the Portuguese took over the fortress, and rebaptized it as Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. After 1819 the fortress took the format it has today. It is the headquarters of the Command of the 10th Military Region. Location: Alberto Nepomuceno Av., s/n. – Center.
The oldest temple in the city, dating from the 18th century. Around 1970, the Fraternity of Nossa Senhora do Rosário has carried out repairs to the Church, when it was threatened with an imminent collapse. In the following year, it was erected with stone and lime. There are rumors that on the temple’s walls were buried the bodies of dead slaves. The original wooden altar, portals, images and lamps have been kept in the church. It is protected by State Law. Location: 2 Rosário Street. Leões Square – Center.
Sagrado Coração de Jesus Church
The site where this church was erected used to be a dune called Anto da Pimenta or Alto da Boa Vista, when, on September 22nd, 1848, the church’s foundation stone was launched; it would have been inaugurated on March 25th, 1886. In 1957, part of the church collapsed, and it was rebuilt with new forms by the Capuchin priests. Vicar Friar João Alberto de Araújo. Location: 135 Duque de Caxias Avenue – Center.
It is located next to the Cathedral. It was built in 1818 to replace two other metallic structure buildings, no longer suited to go along with the city’s development. With the growth of Fortaleza, the market could no longer handle the increased activity. In 1998 it was closed for the building of the new Central Market. Location: Alberto Nepomuceno Street, 199 – Center.
The current Pinhões Market is actually just half of the old Iron Market, inaugurated on April 18th, 1897, which came from France and was dismantled in 1938. Built to be the meat market, it is today one of the newest cultural spaces of Fortaleza. Now called Arts Market, it reveals within it important initiatives for historic rescue: the restoration and conservation of an architectural patrimony, of sentimental value to the city, and the implementation of an arts center which seeks, above all, to act as an effervescent workshop for ideas and cultural products. Location: Visconde de Pelotas Square.
Castelo Branco Monument
Based at Abolição Palace, the old state government headquarters, it the place of rest of the mortal remains of the Brazilian ex-president from the dictatorship period, the cearense Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, and his wife, Argentina Castelo Branco. It consists of a concrete block with a bold fluctuation of 30 meters and 23 plaques with excerpts from speeches and letters from the ex-president. Location: Av. Barão de Studart, 410 – Aldeota.
Arthur Ramos Museum (José de Alencar House)
It features a collection of 3,000 to 5,000 pieces, among them a Ceará indigenous culture exhibition and African pieces, a collection which belonged to the anthropologist Arthur Ramos. There are also paintings and documents from the writer José de Alencar. Location: Av. Washington Soares, s/n, Sítio Alagadiço Novo, Messejana (15 km from the Fortaleza city center).
Museum of Image and Sound
Inaugurated officially in 1980, at the building of the Menezes Pimentel Public State Library, it is part of the Audiovisual Department of the Culture Office. The collection includes over 60,000 pieces, with negatives, photographs, slides, wax records and cassettes, and also a small library with 1,600 cordel books. Location: Av. Barão de Studart, 410 – Meireles.
Ceará Museum (Provincial Assembly)
Built in 1871, the old Provincial Assembly was based there. Currently it is the headquarters of Ceará Museum, created in 1933, and known initially as Historic Museum of Ceará. The current name dates from 1950. In 1953 it became National Heritage. The collection is organized in modules, with approximately 1,141 historical and anthropological pieces arranged in various rooms. Location: 51 São Paulo Street – Center. Opens from Tuesday to Friday, from 8:30am to 5pm, and on Saturdays, from 8:30am to 12:30. On Tuesdays the entrance is free.
Founded in 1984, it tells the story of the Maracatu in Ceará. There are 230 pieces arranged in five sections of clothing, slave house objects, musical instruments and Maracatu characters. Location: 362 Rufino de Alencar Street. Opens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8am to 5pm. Free entrance.
New Statue of Iracema
The work, from cearense sculptor Zenon Barreto, is six meters high, two of them the pedestal, all sculpted in iron and covered with fiberglass. The statue is presented kneeling down and arched, communicating all the pain that devastated Iracema’s heart with the loss of her beloved one, at José de Alencar’s work. Location: Tabajaras Street, s/n. Promenade – Iracema Beach.
Ceará Stately House
Inaugurated in 1914, it is the symbol of great transformations in the city’s semblance. For a long time it used to be the meeting point of the cearense society, and between 1920 and 1940 the famous Clube Iracema was based there. In 1955 the building was put for sale and acquired by Caixa Econômica Federal, which was occupying it since 1946. Location: 48 Guilherme Rocha Street. Ferreira Square – Center.
Built in the end of the 18th century to be the residence of the major-captain Antônio da Costa Viana, it was the headquarters of the state government until around 1970. With neoclassic architecture, it has wide halls, built with the traditional technique of brick and timber. The Cearense Academy of Literature is based there. It is protected by State Law. Location: 1 Rosário Street – Center.
Inaugurated in 1906 for loading and unloading passengers and cargo. It was built with metallic profiles and timber floor. Location: Iracema Beach.
Building started in 1923 by the English company Nestor Grifts. It has never functioned as a port. The sunset view is regarded as the most beautiful in the city. Location: Rua dos Cariris, s/n – Iracema Beach.
The ideal place found to build the port, which would be approved in 1835, was Ponta do Mucuripe. In 1860 the port was abandoned and replaced by the Metallic Bridge, which would inevitably become Fortaleza’s port. Location: Vicente de Castro Av., s/n. – Mucuripe.
Coração de Jesus Square
It was initially called Boa Vista Square, as it was located in Alto da Boa Vista. Founded in 1880k after the inauguration of a church with the same name, the square is tree lined, with many benches, where an urban bus terminal is also based. Location: Between the Streets Solon Pinheiro, Pedro I, Jaime Benévolo and Av. Duque de Caxias.
Cristo Redentor Square
It got this name in 1922, because of the monument with a column with Christ on top, 35 meters high. It is regarded one of the most arborized squares in Fortaleza. Many cultural events happen there, as it is located between São José Theater and the Prainha Seminar. Location: Between Rufino Alencar, 25 de Março, Franco Rabelo Streets and Dom Manuel Avenue, in front of the public library and Dragão do Mar Cultural Center.
It is the vital city center, where many buildings of historic importance share the space with various commercial establishments based there. The square was inaugurated in 1929, with the name of Feira Nova. In 1842 it started to be called Largo das Trincheiras.
In 1871 it was named Ferreira Square paying homage to pharmacist Antônio Rodrigues Ferreira. Along its history, it went through many refurbishments. The last one occurred in 1991, when a new column was installed and the gardens rearranged, thus recovering the original architecture. The square was chosen by the population as the city’s icon. Location: Between Floriano Peixoto, Guilherme Rocha, General Bezerril e Pedro Borges Streets – Center.
José de Alencar Square
José de Alencar Square pays homage to the cearense writer, lawyer, government representative and minister José Martiniano de Alencar, one of the exponents of Romantism. Initially is used to be called Patrocínio Square, then Marquês de Herbal Square, and today José de Alencar Square. Location: city centre, between 24 de Maio, São Paulo, General Sampaio and Guilherme Rocha Streets.
Place which staged the scenes of shootings of some heroes of the Equator Confederation. Built in 1980 in neoclassic style, it is regarded as one of the main squares in Fortaleza. In 1940 it was refurbished to look like the Public Promenade in Rio de Janeiro. Mártires Square, its current name, became National Historic Heritage. Location: Between Barão do Rio Branco, Dr. João Moreira and Floriano Peixoto Streets, next to the 10th Military Region.
São José Theater
Inaugurated in 1915. It features its own theater group, which aims to receive theater groups from the city. The Maracatu Museum is based there. It is protected by Municipal Law. Location: 326 Rufino de Alencar Street – Center.
José de Alencar Theater
Considered one of the most beautiful in the Country, it is one of the most significant artistic monuments in the city. It became national historic heritage. Location: José de Alencar Square s/n – Center.
Crafts can be found at the local markets. Clothes, shoes, bags and bikinis made by the skillful cearense hands are sold at Monsenhor Tabosa Street, a huge open air shopping center.
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