Belém is a Brazilian municipality, the capital and largest city of the state of Pará in the country's north. This is an important destination, as it acts as the gateway to the majestic Amazon River, which remains one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions and with a busy port, airport, and bus/coach station. It is the second largest city in the North Region, second only to Manaus, in the state of Amazonas.
The city of Belém is modern, but retains much of its historical charm and beauty. Many of the main streets are lined with trees, while the city center is bustling with tall buildings and the hubbub of a thriving metropolis.
The sloping central park is quiet during the week and bustling on weekends, when locals come out in masse for free performances and tasty street food. Nightlife tends toward the bohemian intellectual sort: art-house theaters, small music venues, heady cafe-bars.
Belém, literally Bethlehem is also known as the Metropolis of the Brazilian Amazon region or the Cidade das Mangueiras (City of Mango Trees) due to the vast number of those trees found in the city. Brazilians often refer to the city as Belém do Pará ("Belém of Pará") rather than just Belém, a reference to an earlier name for the city, Santa Maria de Belém do Grão Pará, and also to differentiate it from a number of other towns called Belém in Brazil. It is named after Santa Maria de Belém in Lisbon, also better known by its shortened name, Belém.
The capital of Pará is full of indentations and recesses forming islands all around it. There are 55 of these islets, most of which are wild and uninhabitable, although some are home to small populations called ribeirinhos.
These include the islands of Mosqueiro, fringed by 14 freshwater beaches, and Caratateua which receive a large number of visitors in summertime. In addition to these and also near Belém, is the island of Tatuoca which is the location of one of the seven geophysical stations in the world, and the only station in Latin America.
Today, the most important exports coming out of Belém are aluminium, iron, nuts, wood veneers, hardwood, pineapples and cassava, amongst others.
The climate of Belém is typically tropical, with rain, heat and humidity all year around. There are certain months that are wetter than others (namely December to May), but there is no dry season. Daily high temperatures average around 26 degrees Celsius (or about 79 degrees Fahrenheit) all year around. This climate creates the ideal environment for tropical rainforest vegetation to abound, giving the city a really beautiful aesthetic aspect.
The Ver-o-Peso (Portuguese: "see the weight") market in the old port center is a major tourist attraction.
Interestingly, Belém has a huge Indian cuisine culture. This is a favourite amongst locals as well as international tourists. The local Amerindian culture extracts colors, scents, flavors, and native tastes from nature to produce a rich and exotic cuisine, adding up to the most authentic of regional cuisines. One such dish, "Cupuaçu", comes from the Cupuaçu tree, found in the Amazonian woods. Cupuaçu is easily identified by its smell and sour taste and is highly appreciated by both locals and tourists. Its pulp is also extracted to make juices, candies, jellies, liquors, and ice cream. Açaí is a palm tree with a long, thin stem. Açaí, also known as Jussara, is purple in color with a delicious taste. Long prized by the local population, it recently it has also reached the national menu.
Freshwater crab, a traditional local delicacy, is a very popular dish in the city's cuisine. Found only in swamps, its well-tempered meat can be served in different forms: as a shell, the so-called unha (the claws) or toc-toc. "Maniçoba" is one of the highlights of the local cuisine. Its preparation is time-consuming and its final appearance is quite surprising for those who have never tried it, due to the dark look of the cooked maniva (ground manioc leaves). But this first impression ends quickly, after you taste the dish with its seemingly awkward ingredients. Maniçoba is often served in ceramic dishes, and can be eaten with rice or with manioc flour and capsicum.
Popular tourist attractions here include:
• The Amazon Biopark Zoo – surrounded by jungles and rivers, the fauna and flora in this natural area are a true wonder. Located less than 15 kilometers from the center of Belém, in the Tenoné neighborhood.
• The Rodrigues Alves Wood–Botanic Garden – Inspired by the Bois de Boulogne Park in Paris, it is a little piece of Amazonia preserved in the middle of the city. It has 2,500 native species, an orchidary, lakes, caverns, waterfalls and even a replica of a mountain.
• The Ver-o-Peso Market – Created in 1688, as a result of the Portuguese deciding to levy a tax for everything entering and leaving Amazonia. Despite resembling a large retailer, the mixture of colours, fragrances and objects is very interesting as well as folkloric. A variety medicinal herbs, various regional fruits, arts and crafts, domestic utilities, meats, fish and seasonings and spices can be found there. The Market brings together two thousand stalls and traders in every part and is located near to the old Mercado de Ferro (Iron market), on the quays.
• The Estação das Docas Complex: It reopened the windows of Belém to Guajará Bay. The restoration project covers the area of old warehouses of the Pará Docks Company. Constructed from prefabricated metal structures in England and that were built at the beginning of the twentieth century in Belém. There are 18 thousand square meters of urbanized area, with coffee bar services, various restaurants, stores, travel agencies, banks, in addition to an auditorium and two memorials: The Porto Memorial and the Fortaleza de São Pedro Nolasco Memorial. There is, also, a fluvial station and extensive external area.
• The Goeldi Museum
• Cidade Velha is an old part of the city that boasts beautiful French architecture.
• The Mangal das Garcas Park
• Forte do Presepio
• Algodoal Island
• Catedral da Se
• Emilio Goeldi Museum
• Mosqueiro: The river island of Mosqueiro, 67 km (42 mi) north of the heart of the city, attracts beach tourists in the dry season.
|The Estação das Docas Complex. Photo: inspiringadventures|
|Photo: wikimedia by Cayambe. The Docas Complex|
|Belém, Teatro Paz (theater). Photo: wikimedia by Celso Roberto de Abreu Silva|
|Belém, Icoaraci. Photo by Rui Santos via Panoramio|
|Açai berries. Close to the fort of Castelo is the site of the Feira do Açaí, a market supplied by boat with the fruits of the açaí palm, a common local tree, which are used in the making of ices and fruit drinks. Photo: planetware|
|Carimbó it is a circle dance of the coast of Pará, Brazil. The name also applies to drum used in this dance style.The most extraordinary manifestation of artistic creativity of Pará people was created by the Tupinambá Indians who, according to historians, were endowed with an unusual artistic sense, coming to be considered in the tribe, as true demigods. Photo: agenciapara|
|Distant 50 Km of Belém do Pará, Mosqueiro is the portal of one of the prettiest freshwater beaches in Brazil. Photo: Natal Jordão vy panoramio|
|Mosqueiro Island, freshwater beach.|
|Belém is home to a part of the Amazon in Mangal das Garças, set on the banks of the Rio Guamá, in the historic center of the capital. The site is a revitalized ecological park, occupying an area of 40,000 square meters in the vicinity of the Navy Arsenal. Photo: Reprodução guiadasemana|
|Mangal das Garças Park|
|The Amazon Biopark Zoo. Photo: holidaycheck|
|The Rodrigues Alves Wood–Botanic Garden. Photo: juremajosefa|
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