The Northeast is also called the “Gold Coast” and includes the states of Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Fernando de Noronha, Piaui and Maranhão. 42.8 million inhabitants live on approx. 1,600,000 square kilometers. The region is known for historical and folkloric traditions, as well as beautiful beaches.
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Salvador, the capital of Bahia, was once the most important city in Brazil. Today it is the center of Candomblé, the country’s most important Afro-Brazilian cult. Salvador consists of a lower town, which is at sea level, and an upper town, which can be reached on foot by stairs or by elevator. In the lower town is Salvador’s arts and crafts market, the Mercado Modelo, which is well worth seeing. Capoeira dancers can often be found in the lower town. Capoeira is a martial dance originally developed by slaves. The dance is very impressive, it is accompanied by the berimbaus (one-stringed instrument). Countless churches adorn the townscape in the upper town. The monastery of São Francisco de Assis and the church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim are particularly impressive. The old town of Salvador has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The carnival in Salvador is an unforgettable experience. Excellent beaches line the city. On Itaparica Lonely beaches lined with palm trees await the visitor. The island can be reached by ferry from Salvador (journey time 40 minutes). Ornate churches and colonial buildings are typical of the cities of Ilhéus, Pôrto Seguro and Aracaju. Pôrto Seguro is of particular historical importance: this is where Pedro Álvares Cabral, the discoverer of Brazil, set foot on Brazilian soil for the first time in 1500. The Serra da Caivara National Park in the state of Piaui is also one of the eight UNESCO cultural and natural monuments in Brazil and offers numerous interesting rock formations and cave paintings that are up to 25,000 years old. In Maceio takes you back to colonial times. Whole parts of the city have been preserved and are characterized by their white houses with red tiled roofs. Numerous canals and waterways lead through Recife, the »Venice of Brazil«. Recife was under Dutch rule until 1677. The island of Itamaracá is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Fort Orange was built by the Dutch in 1631. In the city of Caruaru, almost everyone is an artist. According to UNESCO, it is the largest center for folk art in South America. Holy Week takes place in the nearby Fazenda Nova the annual passion play. Colonial buildings, relaxing beaches and excellent handicrafts characterize the cities of Olinda, Natal, João Pessoa, Fortaleza, Teresina and São Luis. The beaches in Ceará to the south offer huge sand dunes. Near the small town of Campina Grande is Ingá Rock, which has mysterious inscriptions. Archaeologists believe they came from Phoenician sailors.
The states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo cover an area of 900,000 square kilometers with excellent infrastructure and around 65.6 million inhabitants. Hotels, historic sites and top-notch seaside resorts make the Southeast a wonderful vacation destination.
Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for 125 years and is rightly considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The cultural landscape of Rio de Janeiro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Brazilians say: »God created the world in 6 days, on the 7th he created Rio«. Rio is idyllically situated between the mountains by the sea. There are numerous bays, islets, rocks and beautiful beaches such as B. the famous Copacabana or Ipanema and Leblon. The 370 m high Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) offers a wonderful view. The Corcovado is Rio’s landmark: the 40 m high statue of Christ has stood on the summit of its 713 m since 1931. In October 2006, on the occasion of her 75th birthday, it was declared a sanctuary. The botanical garden, which was inaugurated in the imperial era (1808),
is particularly recommended. An avenue with over 30 m high palm trees and the entire complex with 7000 different plant species amaze the visitors. The city pulsates, especially at carnival time. Numerous samba schools are available for enthusiastic participants. There are a number of museums, theaters and other cultural institutions worth seeing. Sao Paulo
is the most important industrial and commercial center in Brazil and with 9 million inhabitants one of the largest cities in the world. São Paulo offers the best shops in the country and a fascinating nightlife. The international flair is impressive: After an American breakfast, you can enjoy lunch in a Japanese restaurant, then have five o’clock tea in a fine English way, drink cocktails in a French bar, have dinner in a Russian restaurant and finally the sounds of a Viennese orchestra listen. In the MASP ( Museo de Arte de São Paulo ) you can admire an internationally renowned collection of Impressionist paintings, including works by van Gogh and Degas.
Belize horizons, the capital of Minas Gerais, was modeled after Washington DC and provides access to all colonial cities. Towns like Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais mushroomed during the gold rush of the 18th century. In 1980 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo are just a few of the numerous spa towns.