Fortaleza is the capital of Ceará and one of the most important urban centres of north-eastern Brazil. The first settlement in the region was Fort of São Tiago, within the settlement of Nova Lisboa. The city was then taken over by Dutch invaders, who in turn founded Fort Schoonenborch, which was renamed "Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunçao" when the Portuguese regained control. Due to its placement on the Atlantic ocean, it is very appreciated for its beaches and outstanding architecture.
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Built in the neo-gothic style, this church is one of Fortaleza's most beautiful buildings. Construction began in 1938 and was finished in 1978, with some features resembling gothic European cathedrals. It is located in Rua Monsenhor Tito Guedes 75, facing Pedro II Square, and can sit 5,000 people. It's twin towers reach a height of 75 metres (246 feet) and are one of Fortaleza's most recognizable landmarks.
Dragão do Mar Centre of Art and Culture
This is the most important place for culture in the city. Founded in 1999, it is administered by the local government and was named after Francisco José do Nascimento, a fisherman who became known for commanding the abolitionist movement in the 1880s. With its overall area of 33,000 square metres (335,000 square feet) the Centre regularly holds artistic and cultural events. The Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Menezes Pimentel Public Library and the Contemporary Art Museum of Ceará are also housed within the centre's very spacious and interesting structure.
José de Alencar Theatre
This is one of Fortalezas best appreciated buildings and it's named after a writer who was born in the city and turned into one of the most prominent Brazilian writers in the 19th century. The Theatre's construction work began in 1908 and it was officially inaugurated on July 17, 1910. Its ground floor hall was designed in the art nouveau style, with a dome decorated with frescoes and friezes. It is located at Rua Liberato Barroso 525 and holds frequent dramatic performances and other artistic shows.
Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção
The city of Fortaleza grew around this fort, originally built by Dutch settlers who called it Fort Schooneborch. The current building is located on top of Mt. Marajatiba, facing river Pajaéu, and has a square floor-plan measuring 90 metres (295 feet) on each side. Taking a guided tour through the fort can be an interesting way to learn more about Ceará's history. The tour's features some of the weapons used by the Dutch to protect their recently conquered territories.
This huge commercial space houses many shops, offering a wide assortment of crafts and and other regional products. In more than 500 retail outlets, visitors can purchase anything from local north-east Brazilian fashion, regional packaged food, music instruments, jewellery and ornaments, wicker bins and many other types of products. The building is located at Av. Alberto Nepomuceno 199, and can be seen from afar due to its semicircular shape and great glass dome.