Date Established as Sister City: July 7, 2004
City Site: http://www.brasilcontact.com/destinies/ceara/brazil_fortaleza.html
Fortaleza, is the fifth-largest city in Brazil, with an area of 130 sq miles (336 sq km). It is the capital of Ceará state, NE Brazil.
The city, which is bisected by the Paejú River, is often called Ceará by foreigners. Fortaleza is a commercial and industrial city, a tourist center, and a processing and shipping center for the products of Brazil's interior (cotton, coffee, hides, carnauba wax, oiticica oil, rum, and fruits). Textiles and clothing are manufactured, and the city is known for its handicrafts, especially lace making and hammock weaving. Fortaleza was founded in 1609 and became a center of the great sugar plantations of NE Brazil in colonial times. It was occupied by the Dutch from 1637 to 1654. The city grew after 1808, when the ports of NE Brazil were opened to international trade.
Fortaleza has a cathedral and several museums. 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 In recent years, many of the old hotels have been replaced by European-owned international resorts.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. Some of the best bars and clubs are found near Dragão do Mar Center of Art and Culture. Ponte dos Ingleses (Bridge of the Englishmen) is said to be an ideal location for watching the sunset and spotting dolphins.
The scenery is complemented by the jangadas (small rafts used by many of Ceará's fishermen) for catching seafood for the Ceará 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.
Fortaleza has about 16 miles of urban beaches. From North to South, the urban beaches of Fortaleza are Iracema, Meireles, Mucuripe and Praia do Futuro. The Beach Park complex is ocean front and is located in Porto das Dunas, self sufficient and only 9.9 miles from the city of Fortaleza. The Beach Park is the largest aquatic park of South America.
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