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In the north-eastern area of Brazil, north of the Sertao desert, rises the second largest city in the state of Cearà, Fortaleza. The city's origins are surrounded by a small mystery, which seems to be related to the city's occupation by Dutch forces dating back to the middle of the 1600s: in 1649 the Dutch governor of Pernambuco, a certain Schoonenborch, had a fortress built along the river Pajeú, around which a town developed. Following the defeat of the Dutch troops in 1654, the fortress then took the name of Forte de Nossa Senhora da Assunção at the will of the new Portuguese governor Alvaro de Azevedo Barreto.
The current name, Fortaleza, dates back to the beginning of the 1800s, when the city's motto "Fortitude" was coined from the Latin word “coraggio”. This can still be found in the city's coat of arms. Today the fortress is home to a military barracks, nevertheless history enthusiasts can enjoy a free guided tour, including a visit to the ancient prisons and a museum.
The three million inhabitants can thank Mother Nature for giving the city of Fortaleza a splendid climate which attracts tourists throughout the year. In particular, the city offers a temperate climate, ideal for swimming and excursions during the Brazilian winter, when it is summer here and when the city also hosts a very special event attracting thousands of Brazilian and foreign tourists: the Fortal . The Fortal is an "out of season" New Year's Eve celebrated during the last week of July.
Cover photo: © ttaasen
From Italy: 89 20 10
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