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Recife, Brazil - City Of Waterways & Bridges, Culture & Dutch History

Brazil travel blog by a backpacker - March 2017   » View Photoset (76 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for nearly 10yrs!
An historical center surrounded by water with old stone churches popping out by the dozen and bridges with picturesque views of the city all around!
Brazil Photo - The green river banks and the buildings that blend into the landscape in Recife.
The green river banks and the buildings that blend into the landscape in Recife.
Recife reminds me of some of the Dutch colonies I have been to in the way the buildings all stand side-by-side in front of the water. The Dutch in fact were the original colonizers of Recife back in the 1600's. I arrived in Recife from Maragogi Beach, 3hrs 30mins south and I was keen to get out into the streets and do some exploring.

Lets Get Walking

One of the first things I stumbled upon was a sculpture from the Poets Circuit (Circuito da Poesia) which consists of 17 bronze sculptures of famous and beloved Brazilian poets. These sculptures are scattered around the city and each location is marked on a map. 2 men selling fruit and veg on the street were both keen for photos while I was around Maciel Pinheiro Square
Brazil Photo - Long red building housing the Natural History Museum Louis Jacques Brunet in Recife.
Long red building housing the Natural History Museum Louis Jacques Brunet in Recife.
opposite Igreja Santissimo Sacramento church - pineapples, mangos, apples, kumara and yuca. These streets around the center have a certain grittiness and a well-worn feel.

6th of March Bridge

I headed to 6th of March Bridge (Ponte 6 de Marco) also known as Old Bridge. The bridges across the waterways are what makes Recife come alive, suddenly the city streets and buildings are no-more and there's open space and wide views! On the other side I came to what used to be the House of Detention (1850) which held 200 prisoners, in 1973 it was remodeled and turned into a craftwork shopping and cultural center - Casa da Cultura. Around this area are more grand churches and some monuments.

Mauricio de Nassau Bridge

To the next bridge - Mauricio de Nassau
Brazil Photo - Fountain with female figures at Maciel Pinheiro Square in Recife.
Fountain with female figures at Maciel Pinheiro Square in Recife.
Bridge! This bridge is located where the very first bridge in Latin America was built by the Dutch in 1643, it was reconstructed in 1917. Carnival decorations still stood along the bridge. It's quite picturesque around here with views of palm trees along the waterway banks with old buildings blending in like a jungle scene. From these angles Recife actually looks like it's growing out of the jungle! There are some
Brazil Photo - The God of pink flowers, Statue of Liberty, Bonecos Museum in Recife.
The God of pink flowers, Statue of Liberty, Bonecos Museum in Recife.
spectacular historic buildings around Plaza Republica (Praca da Republica). You will see the government palace (Palacio do Campo das Princesas), the Santa Isabel Theater (Teatro de Santa Isabel) and the Justice Palace (Palacio da Justica). This is a heavily green area with lots and lots of trees, nice!

Santa Isabel Bridge

Crossing the Santa Isabel Bridge I suddenly thought I was in Jerusalem when I saw the big gold dome on the other side, it's actually the Pernambuco Legislative Palace! Directly to the right of this is a handsome red building housing the Natural History Museum Louis Jacques Brunet, a little further on is the huge and impressive Reitor Joaquim Amazonas University.

Marco Zero

Heading now to quite a prestigious
Brazil Photo - Colorful group of buildings and trees along the edge of the river in Recife.
Colorful group of buildings and trees along the edge of the river in Recife.
part of the city, Marco Zero / Praca Barao do Rio Branco - a public space for events. There's 3 tall skinny buildings with domes around the plaza, one is a cultural center. Nice views of the water and the Francisco Brennand Sculpture Park.

Rua Bomb Jesus and Bonecos

Around Rua Bom Jesus (street) are attractive cobblestone streets to wander around with colorful houses, shops and interesting things. It is here I found the Museum of Gigantic Bonecos of Olinda! Bonecos are the huge puppet characters they have at the Brazilian carnivals! Inside you will see many famous Brazilian's including soccer stars, but also we have The Beatles, Mick 'n' Keef, Jimi Hendrix, Gene Simmons, James Brown, Ziggy Stardust and even Batman! A fantastic
Brazil Photo - Doll with a red scarf and a green skirt, Teatro Mamulengo, Recife.
Doll with a red scarf and a green skirt, Teatro Mamulengo, Recife.
place for some fun photos!

Synagogue and Theaters

Nearby is the historical Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue and 2 theaters - Teatro Apolo and Teatro Hermilo Borba Filho. An interesting bar / cafe called Teatro Mamulengo was a surprise, it has interesting dolls, masks and other little characters on display, it's quite a show!

Great Place to See / Taxi to Olinda

I enjoyed Recife, the city has plenty to see, great history and is known to have a spirited culture of music and entertainment! Some restoration of the many church facades would shake-off some of the grit, the waterways and bridges are really beautiful! Of course if the city ain't for you, there's always the beach, but watch out for sharks! By taxi to Olinda is where I went next, 20mins.

     

View all photos in the Recife Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Recife (Brazil) to:


Map location: Recife, Brazil. Recife is a city built around rivers and waterways and was founded by the Dutch! There is lots of history, churches and of course the Bonecos Museum. Recife has a gritty feel and much open space!
 A : Olinda - Brazil 19 kms 19 kms straight distance
 B : Joao Pessoa - Brazil 100 kms 100 kms straight distance
 C : Maceio and Maragogi - Brazil 191 kms 191 kms straight distance
 D : Pipa Beach - Brazil 200 kms 200 kms straight distance
 E : Ponta Negra Beach / Natal - Brazil 250 kms 250 kms straight distance
 F : Penedo and Neopolis - Brazil 298 kms 298 kms straight distance
 G : Salvador da Bahia - Brazil 660 kms 660 kms straight distance
 H : Sao Luis - Brazil 1191 kms 1191 kms straight distance
 I : Belo Horizonte - Brazil 1638 kms 1638 kms straight distance
 J : Ouro Preto - Brazil 1646 kms 1646 kms straight distance
 K : Brasilia - Brazil 1651 kms 1651 kms straight distance
 L : Belem - Brazil 1655 kms 1655 kms straight distance
 M : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 1847 kms 1847 kms straight distance
 N : Rio de Janeiro - Brazil 1893 kms 1893 kms straight distance
 O : Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) - Brazil 2026 kms 2026 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Recife, Brazil:

Hotel Central, Recife, Brazil - Large Photo
Hotel Central, Recife, Brazil (March 2017 - 1 night) - Kind of old and in need of some sprucing up but has character! $84 Reals for a single bed room without bathroom, itchy bed, room had a basin though, came in handy in the middle of the night... In the center of course and near the large mall where you can get a lot of food to eat and use the ATM machines too. The buffet breakfast included in the morning was pretty good. Not great but not bad for a backpacker!

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Recife, Brazil - City Of Waterways & Bridges, Culture & Dutch History. Recife is a city built around rivers and waterways and was founded by the Dutch! There is lots of history, churches and of course the Bonecos Museum. Recife has a gritty feel and much open space!

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