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Fortaleza Travel Guide

Fortaleza's beaches



Praia de Iracema possibly is the most popular beach. The name Iracema refers to an Indian female of the same name, who became part of the History of Ceará.

History books say that a Portuguese called Martim Soares Moreno was one of the greatest heroes of the war against the Dutch invasors, in the first half of the 17th century; Martim Moreno chose to live in Ceará, among the Indians.

In the 19th century, José de Alencar, one of the greatest Brazilian writers, wrote a book called Iracema; in the book, Iracema was the wife of Martim Moreno. Iracema provided the strenght that Moreno needed to fight. The name Iracema doesn't appear in the History books, but Alencar said that his novel was inspired by tales he heard since childhood.

Iracema is so entrenched in Fortaleza History that there are five statues of her in the city. The oldest one was dates back to 1965, when the novel Iracema was turning the 100th anniversary, and is located in the beach of Mucuripe.

This statue in the beach of Iracema is known as "Iracema, Guardiã" (Iracema, the Guardian), and is from 1996. Whereas the other statues portray Iracema and her family, this one shows the Indian holding a large bow, as if ready for a battle.

The District of Iracema starts to get busy in the afternoon and becomes crowded at nights, when people come to the many restaurants and night clubs in the area.

Iracema used to be a decadent portuary zone, until the late 1980s, when the Government started a refurbishing programme, by means incentives to new businesses. Old buildings were overhauled, and many restaurants, art shops and night clubs were opened in the area.

Iracema concentrates most nightclubs in Fortaleza, the most famous club is Pirata, which opens on Monday nights only. Pirata was opened in 1986, and it was after visiting it that the New York Times published an article considering Fortaleza to have the wildest Monday in the world. Pirata is located right in front of the Ponte dos Ingleses, in the heart of Iracema. From 8pm, when the place opens, until around 5am (when a free soup is served, to recover energies), a few bands perform at Pirata: forró, axé and other dancing rythms. In early 2006, admittance ticket was R$ 30.

Another well known place is a big house located right in front of the lower exit of Dragão do Mar Cultural Center. This place changes names quite often. In 2005, it was called Orbita, and in 2006 it was called Armazém (Warehouse). Here, you will find three different large ambiences, each playing a different rythm (forró, techno, dancing).

Some warnings: this is the main destination of single travellers looking for companion; also, the control of drinks is made by a magnetic card, and there is no record, until check out time, of how much you consumed.

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