Brazil travel blog by Mark Berman -
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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!
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
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
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
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.
Heading now to quite a prestigious
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
! 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
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.