Fortaleza, Brazil

We arrived in Fortaleza (Fortress) on Friday, February 24.  It is another big city (about 3 million) with skyscrapers lining its beachfront like Miami Beach.

01 Fortaleza from ship

I could think of only two reasons for stopping here: (1) its on the way, and (2) its our last docking port until we leave the Amazon, so we needed to fill up on water.  A shuttle bus took us to the older part of town, but really it wasn’t much fun to walk around.  Narrow, crowded sidewalks, lots of traffic, people set up all over the sidewalk selling stuff (and not interesting stuff) – altogether it was not a very pleasant city.

We saw two buildings of note.  First was the Metropolitan Cathedral, a 20th century building that is the 3rd largest cathedral in Brazil.  It is in a European style, with flying buttresses no less, and we were told it was inspired by the cathedral of Cologne (I have seen the cathedral of Cologne, & it is much more elaborate & beautiful than this one).

21 Metropolitan Cathedral 06 Cathedral seen from lion statue in Praca deLeoes

05 Stained glass window in Metropolitan Cathedral 04 Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza

The other building was the Teatro Jose de Alencar (named after a 19th century Fortalezan writer).  Approaching it on the street you see an ornate but fairly conventional Italianate (we were told) building.

07 Outside of Teatro Jose de Alencar 08 Rick outside Teatro Jose de Alencar

But when you walk through to the inner courtyard you come upon the actual theater, which is made largely of iron in an Art Nouveau style.

09 Inside courtyard of Teatro from spiral staircase 17 Teatro courtyard facade

16 Mary on upper level of Teatro courtyard facade 12 Galleries of Teatro

It was a whimsical combination, which we enjoyed.

14 Mary & stage of Teatro

On our way back to the shuttle bus we walked through the Praca Jose de Alencar, where so-called comedians pass the hat and if you don’t put something in it you become the butt of some nasty jokes.  Since we don’t speak Portuguese we decided to skip this entertainment, and we walked on through the Praca dos Martires (park of the martyrs) where there was statuary, fountains and a cooling canopy of trees (have I mentioned that in this part of the world it is HOT?).

19 Fountain in Praca des Martyrs 20 tree in Praca des Martyrs


UPDATE on Vitoria:  You may recall (you can look back if you don’t) that we showed you a church in Vitoria dedicated to Our Lady Of The Good Death & speculated that there might be an interesting story behind that title.  Since then, our friend Rita Reimer found the story & sent it to us to share with you:

The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death (Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte) is a small but renowned Afro-Catholic religious group in the state of Bahia, Brazil.  Founded in the early 19th century as a Church-sponsored beneficent Sisterhood for female African slaves and former slaves, it became one of the oldest and most respected worship groups for Candomblé, the major African-based religion in Brazil. Presently reduced to about thirty members (from 200 or so at its height), most of them over fifty, it still attracts worshipers every year, especially at its August festival.

One response

  1. Rita

    One of the things Catholics pray for is a “good death,” presumably meaning to die in the state of grace. I go to St. Augustine’s R.C. Church in N.W. D.C. (15th and V), which is the “Mother Church of Black Catholics in the US” and they are very plugged in to this sort of thing. So I was vaguely aware of its existence and happy to have the chance to look into it further.

    Mostly, however, I go to St. A’s because they have the best Gospel Choir in the universe, and they have also been described as the last vestige of 60’s liberalism left in D.C.

    Our mild winter has continued, but we are now quadrupling or some such the most rain on Feb. 29. A good day to stay indoors and wait for the start of Spring Training telecasts to start up on MLB-TV.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:12 am

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