Recife

Recife


Recife, the second oldest city in Brazil, is the metropolis and largest city of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The port city is located in the northeast of the country, at the confluence of the Capibaribe and Beberibe rivers in the Atlantic. Recife was built on islands and peninsulas. Recife's population is estimated at 1,65 million (based on the 2010 census). Approximately 3,5 to 4 million people live in the metropolitan area of ​​the provincial capital.

The high-rise backdrop of the port city of Recife


The high-rise backdrop of the port city of Recife


Hustle and bustle in the center of Recife


Hustle and bustle in the center of Recife 


Recife's story

Portuguese settled the region from 1537. In 1630 the Dutch West India Company seized the region. The rule of the Dutch conquerors lasted until 1654. After the battle of Guararapes, the Dutch lost their colony. The short Dutch settlement epoch was enough to make the swamp-like area habitable by creating canals. Because of the 50 canals and 39 bridges Recife is called "Veneza Brasileira, Venice of Brazil".

Recife - Bridge on the Capibaribe


Recife - Bridge on the Capibaribe


Ponte Imperador - bridge over the Capibaribe


Ponte Imperador - bridge over the Capibaribe 


The name Mauritsstad (Portuguese Maurícia) given to Recife by the Dutch is derived from the name of the governor Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen. The name lasted until 1710, when the city was named Vila do Recife. From 1823 on, Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco.

Recifes economy and transport

In the beginning, the cultivation of sugar cane and sugar production guaranteed the prosperity of the entire region. However, the sugar monoculture prevented the emergence of other, future-oriented industries for a long time. Today Recife is home to key industries including auto accessories, communications technology, food, textiles and packaging.

Recife can be reached by air and long-distance buses. There are underground trains running within the urban area. A relic from bygone times is the zeppelin tower, the anchor mast for zeppelins. Between 1930 and 1938 there was a transatlantic connection for airships between the Spanish city of Seville and Recife. 

Recife - the Torre de cristal in the Parque de Esculturas

Recife - the Torre de cristal in the Parque de Esculturas


Recife - university and cultural location

Recife has been a university location since 1943; more than 78.000 students are enrolled at four universities. The city has several museums and theaters. The art and music scene is highly valued, and even Recife's Carnival is known far beyond Pernambuco's borders.

Pernambuco Handicraft Center

Pernambuco Handicraft Center


UNESCO World Heritage City of Olinda

The neighboring city of Olinda is part of the Recife metropolitan region. The city is one of the oldest cities in Brazil and is one of the country's cultural and ecclesiastical centers. Olinda has been a bishopric since 1676 and was the capital of Pernambuco until 1823. After that, the capital city function was transferred to Recife.

Olinda - behind it the high-rise buildings of Recife


Olinda - behind it the high-rise buildings of Recife


Olinda - Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo


Olinda - Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo 


While Recife was a port and production location in the past, the privileged upper class preferred Olinda as a residence and administrative center. Many dilapidated buildings from the glorious past still characterize the cityscape today. Olinda has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1982. The buildings built in the style of European architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries were decisive for the award.

Recife - destination of the cruise ships

Recife is a destination that is not very frequented by cruise lines. Fewer than 20 cruise ships were reported for 2019.

Recife's modern cruise terminal

Recife's modern cruise terminal


The ships visit the city mainly in connection with world or Atlantic transit voyages. Under Recife sightseeing we introduce some of the attractions of the cities of Recife and Olinda.

Update April 2021