Why to choose Joao Pessoa?

Why to choose Joao Pessoa?
Joao Pessoa is the most Easterly positioned City of South America, the point on the Continent first to receive the Sun’s early morning rays over “Ponta do Seixas”.
Perhaps for this reason alone, Joao Pessoa merits a visit, but in fact, it is just one of many of the attractions the city offers.

According to the Tourists literature, Joao Pessoa is the third oldest city of Brazil, and was founded in 1585. Its first name was Parahyba, given by the native Indians. The Spanish called it Filipeia, the Dutch, Frederickstaadt, the Portuguese Cidade de Nossa Senhora das Neves and finally, Joao Pessoa, for history. Situated between the river and the sea, UNO voted Joao Pessoa to be the second greenest city in the world (the first being Paris).

There are more wonderful surprises to come. Along the shore front, buildings higher than three stories, (or 12.9m) are prohibited, and the atmosphere exudes a “small town” feeling. The urban beaches are surprisingly beautiful and are much sought after by Cooper fans. Despite being slightly farther away, the Cabo Branco, Tambau, Manaira, Ponta de Seixas and Barra do Gramme beaches are where the locals party. But the main tourist beach is without doubt Picaozinho.

You may never have heard of “water tables”, but here in Joao Pessoa, you will become familiar with them. The “tables” determine the water levels, and so, access to the Picaozinho and Areia beaches, but also create beautiful inland seas, destination of one of the most sought after excursions in the region.

Praia de Tambau is the starting point for you to reach the “natural swimming pools” situated off Picaozinho beach. They are created by the coral reefs lying some 2km from the shore. The water, which maintains an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, is crystal clear, enabling even the non divers to see the marine flora and myriads of coloured small fish. Were these day long delights under the warm sun not enough, on moonlit nights, tides permitting, you may dance and sing under the rays of the moon.
An historical tour.

Travelling towards the city’s historical centre, the coloured Acacias, and “Ipes” (Mimosas) serve to remind you of Joao Pessoa’s fame as being the greenest Brazilian municipality. The city was founded at the mouth of the Rio Paraiba, by the banks of the Rio Sanhaua, and grew along side the 500 hectares of Mata do Buraquinho, an area of forest that from the earliest colonial times to this day, remains unspoiled.

The greater part of the historic Centre has also been beautifully restored. The mansions, palaces, churches and convents serve to remind us of how life was in the 17th century. In the Praca Antenor Navarro, a magnificent row of multi coloured 19th and 20th century buildings, that were originally shops, have been tastefully converted into restaurants, cafes and art galleries. At the side of the Antenor Navarro Square is the Largo Sao Pedro Goncalves, where more rows of buildings are to be found. Pride of place goes to the Igreja Sao Frei Pedro Goncalves, with its colonial colours of white and ochre and the Hotel Globo, which for many years was Joao Pessoa’s most prestigious. From a veranda of the hotel, you may enjoy the pleasures of watching life go by as the dusk settles over the beautiful city.

Joao PessoaIt is strange that the most impressive legacy of this historic city is incredibly little known on Brazil. It is the group of baroque buildings incorporating Convento de Santo Antonio, the Sao Francisco Church, Fonte de Santo Antonio and the majestic Cross in the square. This magnificent project was completed in 1779, and is undoubtedly the most important of its kind in Brazil. The building of the Sao Francisco church is impressive, with its richness and imposing style. The main Church Nave, richly painted, is the longest of all churches in Brazil. The multicoloured Cedar Pulpit is carved and gold leafed, the side walls are of blue Portuguese tiles, illustrating the story of Sao Jose do Egito. The ceiling is dedicated to Sao Francisco and decorated with natural tints of “Urucum” and “Jenipapo” (Genipap) shows the originality and richness of this convent. It is a tragedy that the Alter was destroyed by Termites. To-day, the complex of buildings houses the Centro Cultural Sao Francisco, and has Sacred Art and Popular Brazilian Culture museums in addition to promoting periodic art exhibitions.

In the Praca Dom Adauto, another historic complex has left its mark of grandeur. The 16th century Igreja do Carmo, Santa Tereza church, the Bishop’s Palace and the “Casarao dos Azulejos” (the tiled mansion) which is today the Cultural Centre, the meeting point for all historians and visitors interested in the City’s culture. We continue, still within the historic centre, and move onto the Teatro Santa Rosa, built in 1889 in a neo-classic style, with a touch of Greco-Roman influence on its sides. On the stage of this theatre, the Paraibano  poet (resident of Parana State) Augusto dos Anjos (1884-1914) recited his poetry and gave lectures.

Amidst all of the baroque, neo-classic and historical wonders of Joao Pessoa, it is the lake in the Parque Solon de Lucena that is the City’s picture postcard image. The lake is surrounded by magnificent Imperial Palms and the park offers a perfect haven of peace and quiet from the traffic noise around the park.

For the discerning traveller, who daily seeks more unconventional destinations in a search for new experiences and knowledge, Paraiba and Joao Pessoa are the perfect places to realise your dreams.
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