Fortaleza

Raimundo Fagner

Praia de Canoa Quebrada, barco a velaWhite candles are emerging from the sea
With the first stars in the sky
When the green afternoon is more beautiful
And the blue only needs God
If this city is my world

Mucuripe, you were never mine
Your charm got me deeply involved
Like a raft forgotten by the wind
But when I sing the beauty
We will still make
Without neglecting the wealth
Fortaleza I only think of you

I just want to say
That the city is the light
That illuminates the laughing boys
Beyond imagination
I take you in my heart

(FORTALEZA – Raimundo Fagner and Fausto Nilo – recorded by Fagner on the CD “Fortaleza” in 2007)

Fortaleza is still a brand new matrix with modern look, a light history, and a friendly and welcoming people. The pace of its urban growth is considered a phenomenon for the rapid physical development it has presented in the last fifty years. It had about 350,000 inhabitants. Today there are 2.5 million between the north shore and the mountains to the South

Sister city to a semi-arid region with scarce opportunities, Fortaleza has generated a special kind of intelligence and creativity, unique in the culture of its people. Whoever comes to the city benefits from the amenities typical of any modern western city, enjoys the scenery of the coast, a more qualified urbanization, life in skyscrapers, international standard hotels, the malls, the public facilities dedicated to recreation and culture in general.

The beach is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city, though the old historic center, with a rehabilitation project, attracts visitors curious for urban history.”

It increasingly offers visitors the raftsman cuisine which takes fish and seafood as base, and the produce of the cuisine due to the practice of wandering cattle escorts in the hinterlands. To the numerous restaurants that exist today those created by migrants from the Southeast are added, serving quality international food for those who prefer it.

The beach is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city, though the old historic center, with a rehabilitation project, attracts visitors curious for urban history. The center still keeps its markets, its monuments, its handicraft shopping centers and shops that specialize in other products of popular creation.

An exuberant and whimsical metal frame which came from Scotland gave rise to José de Alencar Theatre, opened in 1910. The city’s popular heart beats at Ferreira Square. That’s where São Luiz Cine is, colossus of the old street cinemas architecture, which will be preserved by a state project.

On the outskirts of downtown, in the meeting zone of Praia de Iracema (Iracema Beach) and Prainha (Little Beach) neighborhoods, one can visit Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura (Sea Dragon Art and Culture Center), remarkable converging focus of people with social and age diversity. Dragão offers art exhibitions, cinemas, theater and cafes, and is in harmony with the neighborhood of the ruin of Ponte Metálica (Metal Bridge) (a concrete pier constructed in the nineteenth century, located in the central border to work as the first commercial port of the city, now deactivated).

Ponte dos InglesesVery close to it is Ponte dos Ingleses (English Bridge), rehabilitated and adapted to serve those in search of the sunset, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Brazil. Praia de Iracema concentrates some of the places of the so-called creative industry production, including museums, advertising agencies, TV stations, studios, alternative theaters and the striking handicraft trade on Monsenhor Tabosa Avenue, all within walking distance of Mercado Central (Central Market) where is the best of crafts and folk art in the region.

At night, the crowds have fun until late at night and then a wide range of options opens up: the comedy shows, characteristic of Ceará people, whose lineup is scattered around the city, popular dances dominated by forró [1], through which countless bands have become famous (one of its best-known examples is Pirata (Pirate), located at Praia de Iracema, the bohemian area of the old pericentral region) and the endless number of bars with live music, where singers have varied repertoire.

Praia de MucuripeThe park bordering Beira Mar (Sea-shore) Avenue offers access for hiking, and this is where thousands of walkers, street vendors, street performers and a fair of crafts vie for space. The eastern part of this linear area of attractions is the neighborhood of the city port which is known as the Mucuripe neighborhood. This area of great historic importance and remarkable landscape has inspired the song Mucuripe which I wrote in partnership with Belchior. Mucuripe is an old neighborhood of raftmen, where one day, after the war, the American filmmaker Orson Welles filmed an unfinished story, starred by the natives themselves and has recently been distributed commercially under the title All is True. From there also left, more than once, the raftmen heroes in daring sea voyages challenging the great Atlantic with their slight vessels bound to Rio de Janeiro and Argentina, facts that became remarkable in Brazil at that time. This summarizes the scope and spirit of Fortaleza, the young Brazilian metropolis that is home to the most festive, hospitable, hardworking and humorous people among Brazilians in general.

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According to historians, three months before Cabral discovered Brazil, Vicente Pinzón and Lepe Diogo expeditions set on shore in Ceará. One in Icapuí and one in Barra do Ceará, Fortaleza. These findings were not recognized because of the Treaty of Tordesillas. So begins the history of the local beaches.

According to historians, three months before Cabral discovered Brazil, Vicente Pinzón and Lepe Diogo expeditions set on shore in Ceará.”

In Ceará, the beaches of the rising sun and the setting sun spread from Icapuí to Barroquinha. From one extreme to the other, like a soccer ball, the sun crosses the large area of the coast of Ceará, lighting up its beaches – landscapes dreamed, drawn, painted and sung by God!

Among several, be it Canoa Quebrada (broken canoe), Jericoacoara and Praia das Fontes (Fountains beach), of so many inspirations, winds mould dunes and embroider sea cliffs, while our green sea describes waves in music staves. It is the singing and the charm of nature meeting the art of the place!

Footnotes

[1] Forró is a kind of Northeastern Brazilian dance that developed from European styles of folk music such as “Chula” and “Xotis”.