Before finishing our chronicle of Pará we want to introduce the state capital Belem for you. Belem is among the most important cities of northern Brazil and is a excellent gateway for this huge region with numerous eco-tourism destinations. The region of Belem has been home for indigenous tribes and controlled by portuguese conquerors, but today it is an interesting mixture of culture, history and present.
When travelling to Belem, make sure you get accommodated in the city center close to the old port called Estacão das Docas, which has been reformed to serve both locals and tourists with numerous restaurants, bars and shops. This elegant riverside destination is among the most visited parts of Belem and has an excellent access to other nearby attractions. Right next to Estacão das Docas you will find a famouss market place called Ver-o-Peso. Here you will find basically anything from local herbs to souvenirs and be able to taste the famous Açai of the Amazon. Ver-o-Peso is an excellent place to buy souveniers as you will find a large variety of resonably prised handcrafts. Right next to the market place stands a museum introducing the indigenous cultures and their traditions to you, it’s also a good place to shop some handcrafts done by the local tribes.
While you walk along the riverside you will come to the oldest part of Belem, which is filled with colonial style buildings reminding us of the era, when Belem was controlled by the portuguese conquerors. These colourful buildings are worth admiring and today many of them serve either as museums or as restaurants. In the hearth of the old town, right at the square of Frei Caetano Brandão you will find a number of attractions, like the impressive Cathedral of Sé, the Palacete of 11 windows (Casa das 11 Janelas) and the old fort of Belem. The Cathedral of Sé is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Brasil and the former mansion, Palacete of 11 windows on the other hand is a well conserved historical building, which today hosts a museum and a stylish restaurant with same name. The fort of Belem takes you all the way back to the days when the portugueses landed here in 1616, and built the fort with an intention to start controlling these distant lands. Today the fort includes also a very interesting museum taking you to the history of the indian tribes and showing a large number of historical items found in the archelogical excavations.
Today Belem is a culinary capital of Amazon region with many stylish restaurants offering tasty meals prepared with local specilities. Try out lunch at the restaurant of Mangal das Gracas, an ambiental park that in addition to the culinary experiences introduces you also to the nature of these ecuatorial regions. For a romantic dinner at candle light, try out the fancy restaurant of Casa das 11 Janelas (the Palacete of 11 windows), where you will feel the presence of history while you enjoy your meal.
Every October the largest catholic festival the Cirio de Nazaré is celebrated in the streets of Belem as homage for the virgin of Nazaré. Once you are familiar with Belem, check out the other attractions (Ilha do Algodoal, Ilha do Marajó and Alter do Chão) of this state where all the events are accompanied by local music Carimbo.
Brasil Diversity recommends:
- Hotel Espresso XXI Nazaré – If you search for a centrally located accommodation suitable both for business and leisure, try out Espresso XXI Nazaré a modern hotel in the hearth of Belem.