Manaus: Vacations and travel info
The largest city in northern Brazil, Manaus is also the capital of Amazonas, the most extensive state in the country. This beautiful metropolis is considered the gateway to the immense Amazon Rainforest, the largest ecological reserve on the planet, and it holds an important position in the fields of mining, petroleum and natural gas production.
The city of Manaus overflows with distinctly marked European and mestizo cultural influences. Over the years, it has grown and thrived with the political, economic and cultural heritage passed down by the Portuguese, Spanish and French settlers.
Manaus holds a highly diverse population, including people of mixed race along with people of Caucasian, indigenous, African and Asian heritage.
History and modernity thrive side-by-side in this cosmopolitan city. Even considering its incredible growth over the years, this beautiful place still manages to maintain its old charm and the natural beauty of its surroundings, drawing in tourists from every corner of the world.
Manaus boasts a strong position as one of the largest industrial cities in Brazil, especially when it comes to transportation and communications. The large amount of energy produced by the region's natural gas supply makes it easier for certain areas in the state to export.
This city has undergone much cultural and economic evolution, not to mention progress, throughout the years. It offers an immense urban infrastructure featuring a modern image with convenient avenues and expressways.
Another important factor in this unique city is its tourist development, which has advanced leaps and bounds thanks to the stunning natural surroundings and its urban economic growth. Here, you'll come across the world's largest botanical garden: Adolpho Ducke. Manaus is always prepared to receive thousands of tourists each year, whether they're in town on business or on vacation.
A Brief History
The origin of the city's name comes from the indigenous Manaus tribe, which lived in this territory since colonial times. The name of the tribe translates to "Mother of God".
During the height of the rubber boom, the city received an enormous rise in its demographics with the arrival of immigrants, mainly "nordestinos" (people from Brazil's northeastern region) along with a variety of international immigrants. This influential era greatly contributed to the economic growth of Manaus. During this affluent time, upper-class families would often send their children to study in Europe, and the local buildings were constructed out of exclusively European materials in art nouveau and neoclassic styles, namely the famous Teatro Amazonas, the Mercado Municipal, the Alfandega (Customs House) and the Palacio da Justica, which are widely recognized today for their impressive architecture.
With the decline of the area's rubber golden age, the region's development was spurred on by the creation of the Zona Franca de Manaus (a free trade area) in 1967. For many years, the Zona Franca de Manaus aided thousands upon thousands of Brazilians who were able to buy imported items with little or no taxes. Today, the Zona Franca de Manaus continues to be the main source of income for the entire Brazilian state of Amazonas.
Both the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes pass through the city of Manaus, eventually joining together to form the majestic Amazon River, the world's longest and most voluminous river.
One impressively beautiful phenomenon is the spot where the waters of these two rivers join together, known as "Encontro das Aguas" (The Meeting of the Waters). The difference in density, volume and speed between the two rivers make this area truly unique, dividing the colors of the rivers in a distinct line. Local hotels and travel agencies offer daily boat tours to Encontro das Aguas, where you can see floating hotels, walk through jungle paths, visit nearby lagoons and even buy indigenous artisanry from the local people.
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