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Alcântara, Maranhão

Only an hour by boat from Sao Luis one can enjoy a city that seems to have stopped in time.
Alcantara sunset Old colonial buildings, churches and monuments such as the Porto do Jacare, the Igreja da Matriz, the old prison, and the Pelourinho give you a look at old time architecture.
From Alcantara it also possible to sail through the igarapes and visit the Ilha do Cajual, an island which is visited by many migratory birds fleeding the cold in Northern Hemisphere.
At the sunset, the City becomes especially beautiful, when the historic buildings' skyline is highlighted.
Spending the night in Alcantara allows one to discover the City's charming nightlife. Witnessing a full moon in Alcantara is a special delight.

Beside the ancient, the modern. Alcântara was chosen by the Brazilian Aerospace Program to build the Rocket Launching Center of Alcântara; the city latitude is just 2º 18' South of Equator, and from this position it´s possible to take full advantage of the rotation of Earth to put satellites in orbit.
Unfortunately, 21 Brazilian scientists died on an accident in Alcântara in 2003, and visitation was restricted after that.

Places to visit

Praça da Matriz
This is a square plaza surrounded by colonial buildings, a pelourinho, ruins of the Igreja de São Matias, and century old trees.

Museu Histórico e Artístico de Alcântara (Historical and Artistic Museum of Alcântara)
Praça da Matriz.
Its collection illustrates the City's past opulence.

Alcantara PelourinhoPelourinho (see photo)
Praça da Matriz.
"Pelourinho" is the designation of a pole in public place where fugitive slaves were punished during the slavery epoch.
The Pelourinho of Salvador, Bahia, is the most famous in Brazil, but Alcantara's pelourinho, decorated with the Empire's sign, is one of the best kept in the entire country.

Casa de Câmara e Cadeia
Edification from the end of the 18th century, the old prison is currently Alcantara's City Hall.
Praça da Matriz.

Casa do Imperador (Emperor´s House)
Rua Grande.
This unfinished building started being built to host the Emperor, D. Pedro II, but he never made it to Alcântara.

Alcantara, Maranhão Casa do Divino
Rua Grande, s/n.
Some of the Divino Espírito Santo celebrations take place in this house. One can see some of the decorations used in the celebration, stored in the various rooms of the house.

Fonte das Pedras (Stones Fountain)
Rua Pequena.
Built in the 18th century to supply water to the City.

More info and photos of Alcântara:
Alcântara at Several photos, descriptions in English.

Photos by the Tourist Board of Maranhão.

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