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Fortaleza Map

Fortaleza ( Fortress) is the state capital of Ceara, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.3 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil.


It has an area of 313 square kilometres (121 sq mi) and one of the highest demographic densities in the country (8,001 per km2). To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the municipalities of Pacatuba, Eusebio, Maracanau and Itaitinga; to the east is the municipality of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the municipality of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses. The current mayor is Luizianne Lins a former academic at the local Federal University of Ceara and well known feminist. The city will be one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation.

The statue of Iracema refers to the legend of the indigenous woman depicted in a 19th century novel by Jose de Alencar, a famous Brazilian author born in Messejana (nowadays a district of Fortaleza). Mucuripe Beach holds the Lighthouse Museum. Opened in 1846, the old lighthouse was active for 111 years, until it was closed in 1957, and replaced by a newer one. Dragao do Mar Center of Art and Culture holds the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Contemporary Art Museum and Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, as well as movies and theaters. Besides this, many old warehouses were refurbished and became bars and restaurants surrounding the central area of town.

Carnaval/Carnival

Fortaleza Carnival season is not known to be very attractive, differently from other northeastern cities like Salvador or Recife. Through the streets of Fortaleza, the Carnaval brings the samba together with festivities as a celebration of Fortaleza's past and diverse culture. It is particularly notable for its unique style of maracatu known as maracatu cearense.

Throughout the streets of the city during the carnival season, tourists can see dancing and singing, accompanied by processions of brass bands. There are also displays and shows placed on open trucks as part of a parade travelling across the city. In areas like Avenida Beira-mar, the residents organize sessions of dancing in the streets.

Tourism and recreation

The warm climate, warm ocean waters and the sandy beaches attract tourists. In recent years, many of the old hotels have been replaced by European-owned international resorts. Nightlife is full of festivities with bars, restaurants and shows as the primary attraction. The city is known for having the "wildest Monday nights in the world".Some of the best bars and clubs are found near Dragao do Mar Center of Art and Culture. The Praia de Iracema (Iracema's beach), the first urban nuclei of the city and former touristic attraction, is currently known as a prostitution hotspot of the city. It includes the Ponte dos Ingleses (Bridge of the Englishmen) which is an ideal location for watching the sunset and spotting dolphins.

Fortaleza's urban beaches have warm waters. The scenery is complemented by the jangadas (small rafts used by many of Ceara's fishermen) for catching seafood for the Ceara cuisine. The Praia do Futuro (Beach of the Future) is a popular location with many beachside restaurants, built in the local style using carnauba straw and called "Barracas de Praia" (Beach Huts).

Scuba diving is possible in the area of Pedra da Risca do Meio State Marine Park, a marine protected area located about 10 nautical miles from the shoreline of Fortaleza.

Links:Fortaleza City Council home page & Brazilian Federal Government