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Visit Recife – The Venice of Brazil

Visit Recife - The Venice of Brazil

Copyright 2006 Fionnuala Downhill

Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco in Brazil and the counties fourth largest city. It is a bustling and vibrant city known for its rich cultural heritage and colonial architecture. It is not as cosmopolitan as some of Brazil’s other large cities. Recife mean ‘reef’ in Portuguese and the city is located along side a long coastal reef situated on the Atlantic Ocean.

Recife developed as a city of trade and as a major port. It is known as the Venice of Brazil and includes a mixture of the old and the new with narrow streets, canals, rivers and bridges. One of the pleasures that Recife offers is the opportunity to wander through the streets and to discover new pleasures. The architecture reflects the different cultures that have settled in the area and there are a number of historical monuments and churches many influenced by Portuguese and Dutch settlers.

The number one beach for city inhabitants and visitors alike is the Boa Viagem beach. This beach is one of the most famous in Brazil. Because it is protected by the reef the beach offers a safe place for swimming and other water sports. This area around Boa Viagem is the true heart of the city and includes many hotels, exciting nightlife and fine dining experiences. This area is also the shopping center of the city and offers many fine stores and boutiques. It is also a fine base to begin exploring the rest of the city.

Recife Antigo is the ancient part of the city. Much repair work is being done to revitalize this area. This is a great area for walking and sightseeing. This vibrant part of the city is alive with music and dance and of course carnival! One of the most famous carnivals in Brazil is the Carnival at Recife Antigo.

The Casa da Cultura is an important cultural marketplace full of arts, crafts and souvenirs. It was once an ancient colonial prison but has been transformed into a marketplace and center for traditional arts. This is also a center for performance art, dance and music.

For art lovers a visit to Francisco Brennand’s Oficina Ceramica is essential. It is located just outside the city in a dense forest. Brennand is one of Brazil’s most famous artists and this center dedicated to his work includes a museum and workshop. There is also a retail store located in the Boa Viagem area dedicated to his ceramic art.

The local cuisine in Recife has many influences including Spanish, Dutch, African and Indian. The area is renowned for its bountiful supply of fresh seafood as well as local fruits including coconuts and mangos. Local dishes include crabs cooked in a spicy sauce, shrimps in mango sauce, and fried needle fish.

Because Recife is situated close to the equator the weather is tropical. The hottest months are from December through February. This is when the locals take their vacations. Winter is during June through August and this is the period of heavy rainfall.

No matter what time of the year you decide to visit Recife you are sure to experience the holiday of a lifetime. There are untold treasures to be found in this bustling and vibrant city.