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April 3, 2008

Vitoria - Espirito Santo


Vitória - Espírito Santo

Founded in 1551, on Vitória island, on the margins of the equally named bay, the capital of the State of Espírito Santo extends over an area of 81 km2 and hosts two among the most important ports in the Country – Tubarão and Vitória-, through which flow a great part of the minerals Brazil exports coming from the States of Minas Gerais and Pará.

Vitoria Espirito Santo

The city’s first inhabitants were from the Goitacaz tribe, who called it the Guanaaní Island, that is, the Honey Island, due to the beauty of its surroundings and its waters rich in fish and shellfish. Both inside and outside Brazil, the coast along the State of Espírito Santo is famous for the variety and quantity of its fish. On the beaches of Camburi, and on the Islands of Frade and Boi, and all around the bay’s shore, fishing by flinging nets or with the “puçá” (a traditional indigenous trap for fish), is for tourists a sure guarantee of great stories or, who knows, of a trophy in the many tournaments held on the island. Ocean fishing, no doubt, is the city’s welcome card. Every year, from the Espírito Santo Yacht Club, on the beach of Canto, boats leave with contenders for the Oceanic Fishing International Championship, which gathers the greatest fishers of the so-called “beak fish” (marlins) in the world. Vitória was the stage for two fishing world records: the largest Blue Marlin “ever” caught, weighing 636 kg, caught in 1992; and the largest White Marlin, weighing 82.5 kg, caught in 1979.

The best season for fishing Blue Marlin is from October to March, and for White Marlin, in November. Anyway, any time of the year, fishing in Vitória is plentiful and easy. Visitors will also find in Vitória beautiful beaches and many other attractions, such as the city’s downtown area, a witness to history with colonial buildings, palaces and churches. Vitória’s tradition also extends to the local cuisine, which uses clay pots made by local craftswomen for cooking typical dishes like “moqueca” (a fish and seafood stew) and the “capixaba pie”. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs complete the range of attractions available in the city. With an exciting nightlife, Vitória offers all the infrastructure to welcome tourists traveling on business or leisure.

Vitória’s coastline is considered as one of the best locations for marlin fishing, especially between October and March. And that because around 29 miles away from the coast there is the continental platform, which marks the change in sea depth from 100 to 1000 meters, the natural habitat of oceanic fish.

Most important beach in Vitória, it is 6 km long. It concentrates the city’s cultural and sports activities, organized by the city administration. It offers a varied assortment of hotels and snack and drinking bars that, as usual, serve as main dish the “moqueca” (fish and seafood stew) and the “capixaba pie”.

Canto Beach
It is located near the Espírito Santo Yacht Club, where an yearly edition of the oceanic fishing international championship is held. The beach is bordered by a wide sidewalk that is much used for long walks and jogging.

Suá Cove
It offers a large sidewalk bordering the beach and a bicycle track, ideal for walks, jogging and riding the bicycle.

The Jurema Bend
It is formed by an embankment that connect Boi and Vitória islands. Visitors can appreciate the many snack bars spread along the coastline.

Frade Island
Connected to Vitória by a bridge, it is an area of expensive mansion houses and narrow stretches of sand with very clear waters, turned into “mini-beaches”. The most appreciated beach there is Castanheiras.

Boi Island
Connected to Vitória by an embankment. The island is surrounded by small beaches with crystalline waters. Boi Island has three neighboring islands, Galheta de Dentro, Galheta de Fora and Rasa.

In town
Fonte Grande Hill
This hill concentrates all TV and radio towers in the city, being 308 meters high. It offers a good view of the Vitória metropolitan area.

São Gonçalo Church
In colonial style, the chapel was built in 1707. It is located in Cidade Alta, in the downtown area.

Santa Luzia Church
The oldest building on the island, built in 1551, and considered a national monument. It currently hosts an art gallery and a research center for the University of Espírito Santo. Other churches and monasteries of high historical importance may also be seen in Vitória, such as the Rosário Church, whose construction leads us back to 1765; the ruins of São Francisco Cloister, the first Franciscan building erected out of the Brazilian Northeastern region, dating from 1591; The City Cathedral, built in 1918; and the old Jesuit School, which today hosts the State Government House, together with São Tiago Church, both buildings erected during the 17th century. Visitors can appreciate also the Domingos Martins Palace, currently used by the State Legislative Chamber, built in 1910, on the location that used to be occupied by Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia Church.

The Third Bridge
An interesting way of knowing an important part of Vitória’s coastline is by driving along the Darcy Castelo de Mendonça Bridge, also known as the “Third Bridge”. Being 3,300 meters long and reaching a height of 70 meters at its highest point, it allows visitors to see many beaches, islands and ports, including also the neighboring city of Vila Velha.

Clay pots
Indispensable for preparing the “moqueca capixaba” (a traditional fish and seafood stew), clay pots can be purchased directly from local makers at the Goiabeiras Pot Makers Association (on Rua das Paneleiras, 55).

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