Recife, is a historic city in the Northeast of Brazil as well as being the capital of the state of Pernambuco. This city which is one of the economic engines of Brazil has a population of over one and a half million inhabitants. While its metropolitan area has almost four million inhabitants. Together with Salvador (Bahia) and Fortaleza, the capital of Pernambuco is among the most important industrial cities in the Northeast of Brazil. The city extends over two islands, those of Recife and Antonio Vaz, and along the coasts of the Atlantic ocean at the mouths of the Capibaribe and Beberibe rivers.
A LONG HISTORY OF TRADE AND CONQUEST: PORTUGUESE AND DUTCH
Recife was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. But it always remained a small subsidiary village of Olinda. Until, in 1630, Recife was occupied by the Dutch and became the capital of their possessions in Brazil. The Dutch built a new city Mauritsstad, which over the years of their occupation became one of the most thriving commercial centers in South America. The Dutch occupation ended in 1654.
In the following years, in particular from the eighteenth century, the city, thanks to its port, definitively supplanted Olinda as a commercial center of the state of Pernambuco becoming the main city in the area. For its canals, its bridges and for the particularity of being built on water, the city is sometimes called the Venice of Brazil.
ANCIENT BUILDINGS AND MODERN DISTRICTS
Recife is a rich and prosperous city that attracts tourists especially for its beaches and its historic center. The city preserves churches, palaces, fortresses, public markets, and other historical buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The most representative religious buildings in the city are: the Capela Dourada, the churches of Santo Antonio, São Pedro, do Carmo and that of São Francisco. The city also has the oldest synagogue in the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel synagogue, whose construction dates back to 1646, the period when the city was under Dutch control.
Among the historic buildings, the fortresses of Brum and das Cinco Pontas are also worth mentioning. The city center which includes the districts of Santo Antônio, São José, Boa Vista and Santo Amaro houses markets, shops, galleries, theaters, museums and other cultural spaces. Among the most popular beaches in the city there are above all those of Boa Viagem, Pina and Brasília Teimosa.
Recife is served by the Guararapes international airport, which is located near the Boa Viagem district about 11 kilometers from the city center.