Belem, the capital of the Brazilian state of Para, is comprised of many islands with channels and rivers passing through them. It was established nearly four-hundred years ago on the banks of the Amazon River; just sixty miles up the river from the Atlantic Ocean. Over time, it has developed into the charming vacation spot that it is today. Belem is filled with a mixture of new and old and a mixture of modernity and history. Travel to one end of the city and see skyscrapers and have all the modern conveniences; travel to the other side and experience old churches and traditional blue tiles.
One activity in these city that draws visitors every year is the Cirio de Nazare, celebrated in October. The festival lasts for several days, with the main procession on the second Sunday of the month, and a river procession on the day before that. During this festival is a good time to experience traditional Brazilian dancing and hear some local music.
Another place that attracts many visitors is shopping at the markets along the docks. Visitors and locals alike come here to find everyday items such as fresh fruits, fish, and herbs; as well as more exotic things such as alligator and crocodile body parts, and anaconda snakes. You can also find medicinal herbs and potions here.
There are many small communities situated between Belem and the neighboring city of Manaus that are just a short boat trip away. These give an excellent view of river life in this area. The Amazon offers an amazing array of plants and animals that live in the water, and a boat trip is a great way to see some of these in there natural habitat. After a boat trip, a walk along the river will give you a perfect view of a glorious sunset.
Belem has many museums and points of interest for tourists. The Emilio Goeldi Museum is home to hundreds of different species of plants and animals that are natural to the Amazon region. It was founded over one hundred years ago, and attracts many visitors each year. The Casa das Onze Janelas was built in the eighteenth century and has been both a home to a sugar baron and a military hospital before becoming what is now called a cultural space, a place that shows art and photography of Brazil.
Whether you are looking to visit historical sites, enjoy the outdoors, or shop for things you cannot find at home, a visit to the city of Belem will be a pleasant experience.
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