Sunday, June 9, 2013

Brazil - State of Amapá

Fort São José de Macapá

Food court and Craftsman home next (Photo by Amapaense)

Macapá City Photo by Amapaense

Macapá City (Photo by Jorge Andrade)

Amapá is situated in the extreme north of Brazil, bordered by French Guiana, Suriname, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pará. This state has an area of 142.814.5 square kilometres or 55 141 square miles and is home to just under 700.000 people, whether natives of South America or having moved there from elsewhere in the world.

Its capital city, which is also its largest, is Macapá. This city is not accessible on foot or by road, and can only be reached by air or water. Its toponymy is Tupi's origin, as a variation of "macapaba" which means place of many bacabas, a palm tree native to the region, the bacabeira, scientific name 'Oenocarpus bacaba Mart'.

Because the equator runs through the middle of the city lead residents to refer to Macapá as "The capital of the middle of the world."

In terms of the economy, the service industry makes up almost 90% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by the industrial and agricultural sectors.

Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. However, English and French are part of the official high school curriculum due to Macapá's proximity to French Guiana and Guyana.
Initially, Amapá was under the Portuguese captaincy of Costa do Cabo Norte. However, during the 17th century, it was invaded by both the English and the Dutch, who were taking an increasing interest in South America in terms of its land and its natural resources. However, the Portuguese, who had been the first European settlers in the area, soon ensured that the English and Dutch were ousted from the area. At the beginning of the 1700’s, an official border between Amapá and French Guiana were established, but generally ignored by the French. Disputes regarding territory continued until as late as the 20th century. When gold was discovered and the value of rubber increased in the 1800’s, Amapá became increasingly popular. This forced the nations to establish what area belonged to which nations in an official and permanent way, and Amapá was handed over to Brazil.

Oiapoque River (Photo by Amapaense)

The River Oiapoque continues to be a major attraction and identity in the Amapá geography as it was considered to be the northernmost part of the entire country of Brazil. The vast Amazon Jungle constitutes about 90% of the vegetation and landscape of this Brazilian state, giving it an eerie quality of tropical mystery, particularly since well over two-thirds of this jungle is yet to be explored. This state is also notable because it is divided by the equator, placing some of it in the Northern Hemisphere, while the remainder is situated in the Southern Hemisphere. It has an extremely hot, humid climate typical of tropical areas. The Amazon Rainforest is one of the world’s richest and most valuable habitats in terms of its abundance in plant- and animal species. In fact, more than 33% of all the species in the world can be found in the Amazon Jungle alone!

During a trip to Amapá, tourists should include the following places in their travel itineraries:

1Fortress São José de Macapá (Built between 1764 and 1782. The project is authored by engineer Henry Anthony Gallucio and was inspired by the model of French military engineer  Sebastien Le Pay, Marquis de Vauban. It was built by the hands of blacks and Indians, slaves of the Portuguese colonization. The Fortress of São José de Macapa is for Amapa, one of his main references for representing a mark cultural, architectural and historical of the State and Country. Is located at the mouth of the Amazon River, opposite the city of Macapa, and it has been built 18 meters above the water level)

2. Equator Marker (A large obelisk-cum-sundial, the Equator Mark stands on the equator, about 6km southwest of the city center. A hemisphere-straddling sports stadium and a sambadrome (a stadium built for the express purpose of holding huge samba concerts and dances) are part of the same complex.

3. Biological Reserve of Lake Piratuba

This unit was created to protect the flora and fauna of the Amazon ecosystem, transition and lagoon, mainly. It is located in the state of Amapá in the east of the city of Macapa.

3. Trapiche Eliezer Leyv (Originally built in the 40s, is where most of the moored boats arriving in Macapa. Has undergone many reforms to be fully rebuilt in concrete, forming a permanent structural pattern, which contributed to improving urban Macapa and the preservation of the history of the people of Amapá. With its 386 meters long, is served by an electric trolley to transport tourists, where is served ice cream. It has covered area, a railway loading and unloading of passengers, restaurant and a small square).

Photo by Erich Macias
Photo by Gabriela Santiago
Photo by Governo do Amapá
4. Museum of Sustainable Development - Museum Sacaca (Named in honor of one of the most popular citizens of Amapá recent history, that was deeply knowledgeable of medicinal plants and herbs, the museum conveys to the community, through lectures, exhibitions and workshops, the work undertaken by the State Government through the Office of Scientific Research  and Technology of Amapá.The area occupied by the project has 12 thousand square meters, housing a small river, which will serve for fish farming in the region and will be a reference on water resources and fisheries potential of the region. It has typical houses of the chestnut, the tapper and various indigenous ethnic groups present in Amapá, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the reality of traditional communities in the Amazon, their way of life and their experiences of sustainability).

Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar
Monument to Sacaca (Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar)
5. Craftsman House ( It is the largest center of crafts of Amapá. Its main objective is to promote craft activity in the state and promote the generation of employment and income for local artisans, thus enabling the exhibition and sale of their products. The Indian handicrafts is also present, represented by the works of people Waiãpi, Karipuna, Palikur, Galibi, Apari, Waina, Tirió e Kaxuiana.  In the manufacture of the parts are used wicker, wood, clay, fiber, vegetable, seeds, feathers, and other elements taken from nature without impacting the environment).

Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar


In northern Brazil, long before the discovery, the Indians have fed themselves of hunting,  fish, roots, seeds, leaves and fruits coming from the local rivers and forests. The gastronomy of the region, despite having suffered a strong Portuguese and Africa influence, over the centuries, still has its base inspired by the Indian culture. This miscegenation not only meant the origin of new dances, legends, superstitions, amusements and other cultural, racial mixing that gave rise to the use of new ingredients, spices, smells, tastes, secrets and techniques quite different from the usual, creating a cuisine very exotic.

Tucunaré (it's a species of fish present in the rivers of South America, especially Brazil, also known as 'tucunaré-açu, tucunaré-paca, tucunaré-pinima, tucunaré-pitanga, tucunaré-vermelho ou tucunaré-pretinho' (Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar)

Tucunaré (Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar)

Tacacá (It's a delicacy in the Amazon region, in particular, Acre, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia and Amapá. It's prepared with a thin broth and usually well seasoned with salt, onion, garlic, coriander north, coriander and chives, yellowish, called tucupi, on which arises tapioca gum, also known as 'polvilho', dried shrimp and jambu . Serves very hot, in gourds, seasoned with pepper. The tucupi and tapioca (which prepares the gum), are the result of mass grated cassava, that after pressing to make flour, results in a milky yellowish liquid. After left to stand, the tapioca is deposited in the bottom and at its upper tucupi )- Photo by Lilia Suane Bacelar

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