Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.3 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. o the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the municipalities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the municipality of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the municipality of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses.
Fortaleza is one of the three leading cities in the Northeast region together with Recife and Salvador. The city will be one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation.
Since the end of the 19th century, the city has been home to various cultural institutions. The Instituto do Ceará (Ceará Institute) was established in 1887, and conducts research in history, geography and anthropology. The Academia Cearense de Letras (Cearense Academy of Letters) was the first institution of the sort in the country, established on August 15, 1894. In 1892, Fortaleza was the site of a cultural movement of literary expression called "Spiritual Bakery".
There are many other cultural centers, such as the Banco do Nordeste Cultural Centre and the Dragão do Mar Center of Art and Culture. The folklore of Fortaleza is rich and diverse, and has roots in a mixture of beliefs originating from white colonisers and native groups. Minor, but also considered important, are Syrian-Lebanese and African traditions.
Fortaleza Carnival season is not known to be very attractive, differently from other northeastern cities like Salvador or Recife. Through the streets of Fortaleza, the Carnaval brings the samba together with festivities as a celebration of Fortaleza's past and diverse culture. It is particularly notable for its unique style of maracatu known as maracatu cearense.
Some of the cultural manifestations are:
- Bumba-meu-boi or Boi-Ceará: songs and dances of a religious cult to the ox, with Portuguese roots.
- Torém: dance originated by the tremembés.
- Violeiros, cantadores and emboladores: musical manifestations expressing social criticism, has typical northeast origins.
- Maracatu: Dance and music, the Fortaleza maractu is of the Baque Virado or Nação lines and is celebrated during carnivals.
- Dança do coco: originated by Afro-Brazilians. On the beach it is just for men and in the hinterland it is danced in pairs.
- Theatro José de Alencar;
- Farol do Mucuripe;
- Fortaleza's Cathedral;
- Estátua de Iracema;
- Forte Nan de Praire Statue;
- Forte de Nossa Senhora da Assunção;
- Palácio da Luz;
- Castelão football stadium (to be remodeled for the World Cup 2014).
- Praia do Futuro
The Beach Park complex is ocean front and is located in Porto das Dunas, self sufficient and only 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from the city of Fortaleza. The Beach Park is the largest aquatic park of South America.