Things To Do And See In Manaus, Brazil
Manaus: Manaus (/mɑːˈnaʊs/; Portuguese: [mɐˈnaws, mɐˈnawʃ]) is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. It is the seventh-largest city in Brazil, with an estimated 2019 population of 2,182,763 distributed over a land area of about 4,401.97 square miles (11,401 km2). Located at the east center of the state, the city is the center of the Manaus metropolitan area and the largest metropolitan area in the North Region of Brazil by urban landmass. It is situated near the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers.
The city was founded in 1669 as the Fort of São José do Rio Negro. It was elevated to a town in 1832 with the name of “Manaus”, an altered spelling of the indigenous Manaós peoples, and legally transformed into a city on October 24, 1848, with the name of Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro, Portuguese for “The City of the Margins of the Black River”. On September 4, 1856, it returned to its original name.
Manaus is located in the center of the world’s largest rainforest, and home to the National Institute of Amazonian Research is the most important center for scientific studies in the Amazon region and for international sustainability issues.
It was known at the beginning of the century, as “Heart of the Amazon” and “City of the Forest”. Currently, its main economic engine is the Industrial Park of Manaus, a Free Economic Zone. The city has a free port and an international airport. Its manufactures include electronics, chemical products, and soap; there are distilling and ship construction industries. Manaus also exports Brazil nuts, rubber, jute and rosewood oil. It has a cathedral, opera house, zoological and botanical gardens, an eco-park and regional and native peoples museums.
Manaus, city and river port, capital of Amazonas Estado (state), northwestern Brazil. It lies along the north bank of the Negro River, 11 miles (18 km) above that river’s influx into the Amazon River. Manaus is situated in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, 900 miles (1,450 km) inland from the Atlantic coast. The city, on a terrace overlooking the river, is traversed by several side channels called igarapés (“canoe paths”), which are spanned by bridges and divide it into separate compartments.
Manaus is the Amazon’s largest city, an incongruous urban metropolis in the middle of the jungle and a major port for seafaring vessels that’s 1500km from the ocean. The Amazonian rainforest has a population density half that of Mongolia, but the journey there invariably begins in (or passes through) this gritty, bustling city. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little out of whack.
The first European settlement on the site was a small fort (São José do Rio Negrinho) built-in 1669 by Captain Francisco da Motta Falcão. The mission and village that later grew up were called Villa da Barra, or Barra does Rio Negro (barra referring to the sandbar at the mouth of the Negro River). The town succeeded Barcelos in 1809 as the capital of the Rio Negro captaincy general and in 1850 became the capital of Amazonas province (later state). Its name was then changed to Manáos (after an Indian river tribe); since 1939 it has been spelled Manaus.
From 1890 to 1920 a regional economic boom based on the production of natural rubber from the tree Hevea brasiliensis brought prosperity to the city. Manaus’s majestic buildings and homes, including the cathedral and ornate opera house (Teatro Amazonas, constructed 1896 and renovated 1987–90), and the creation of port commerce date from that period. Manaus also became one of the first cities in Brazil to have electricity. It was made an episcopal see in 1892. In 1902 a British corporation began improvements to the port facilities, including a customs house, a stone quay, storehouses, and floating wharves to allow for the annual rise and fall (up to 40 feet [12 meters]) of the river. Most of the iron, glass, and other building materials were specially ordered from Britain, France, and elsewhere in Europe. Manaus declined in the 1920s when the price of natural rubber collapsed on the world market. Although its economy strengthened somewhat during World War II, Manaus did not prosper significantly until after it was declared a duty-free zone in 1967.
Manaus, the historic gateway to Brazil’s Amazon, melds a colorful past and a bustling entrepreneurial culture with its status as a symbol of biodiversity. Just beyond the river port and the spectacular architecture of the city center is the rainforest that has lured adventurers and dreamers for centuries. Now, Manaus, home to nearly 1.8 million people, can add sports to its list of attractions as one of the sites for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
1. Climb above the canopy. A course in tree climbing gives ecotourists an alternative way to experience the world’s largest tropical forest. (210 reais for a one-day excursion.)
2. Swim with dolphins. Pink river dolphins, found primarily in the Amazon River, are known for their playful nature, long beaks and pink hue. After feeding the dolphins, swim with them in their natural habitat. (130 reais)
3. Witness nature’s grudge match. For nearly four miles (6.4 km), the dark Rio Negro and the sandy Rio Solimões flow side by side, creating a starkly beautiful natural divide called Encontro das Águas (Meeting of Waters), before merging to form the Amazon River. Catch a boat from Porto da Ceasa, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) from the city center, to see this natural wonder.
4. Refuel with superfoods. Snack on guaraná and açai, the acclaimed superfruits native to the Amazon rainforest. And don’t forget the fish! With over 2,000 species in the Amazon River, many typical dishes use local fish, like the famous caldeirada de tambaqui.
5. Hobnob with rubber barons. The neo-classical Teatro Amazonas opera house was built by Italian architect Celestial Sacardim during the nineteenth-century rubber boom. While the rubber barons are long gone, the music remains. The luxurious 700-seat theater offers guided tours Monday-Saturday and cultural programs nightly. (10 reais for a guided tour; prices vary for general admission.)
6. Befriend a manatee. For just 5 reais, the Bosque da Ciência (Science Forest) run by the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia offers visitors an introduction to the mysteries of the rainforest, and glimpses of manatees, otters, and monkeys. Don’t forget to stop by the nature museum.
7. Beat the heat. With average temperatures in the humid 80s and 90s (26-32 C) year-round, the Ponta Negra River beach is a perfect place to cool off. Just eight miles (13 km) from downtown, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or a view of the spectacular sunset.
8. Find your own treehouse. Treetop resorts and jungle lodges can be found throughout the city. The Ariau Amazon Towers, the largest treetop hotel in the world, has suspended walkways, elevating guests off the ground and into the canopy layer. (1,150 reais per night.)
9. Get a whiff of Paris. Constructed during the rubber boom, the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, about 10 minutes from the city center, is a replica of the Parisian Les Halles market. Find great deals on local goods inside this landmark building.
10. Catch World Cup fever. The Arena Amazônia soccer stadium can seat up to 46,000 people and is powered by rainwater and solar energy. The stadium will host four World Cup matches this June before it becomes home to four local soccer clubs.
Manaus is now a major inland port reached by oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic and is the chief collecting and distribution center for the riverine areas of the entire upper Amazon basin. In the late 1970s, the Brazilian government and private companies began extensive deforestation to develop the mineral and agricultural wealth of the surrounding forested region. The government also installed a fishing terminal in Manaus. The city receives beef from the savannas of the upper Branco River, which also supply hides for export.
Manaus’s industries include brewing, shipbuilding, soap manufacturing, the production of chemicals, the manufacture of electronics equipment, and petroleum refining (the oil being brought by barge down the Amazon from Peru). The scales of the pirarucu (Arapaima gigas), a large South American fish, are exported for use as nail files. The city’s principal exports include electrical equipment, petroleum, chemicals, Brazil nuts, and a host of minor forest products.
Tourism has become a growing part of the economy. The city has botanical and zoological gardens, and there is a natural jungle park on its outskirts. Manaus is the seat of the National Research Institute of Amazonia (founded 1954), the University of Amazonas (1962), the Geographic and Historical Institute of Amazonas (1917), and a Salesian school for orphans. The city has an international airport. Manaus contains half of the state’s population and rivals Belém (near the Atlantic Ocean) as the Amazon basin’s largest urban center. Pop. (2010) 1,802,014.
What is Manaus known for?
It was known at the beginning of the century, as “Heart of the Amazon” and “City of the Forest”. Currently, its main economic engine is the Industrial Park of Manaus, a Free Economic Zone. The city has a free port and an international airport. Rubber made it the richest city in South America during the late 1800s.
What does Manaus mean?
It was elevated to a town in 1832 with the name of “Manaus“, which means “mother of the gods” in tribute to the indigenous nation of Manaós, and legally transformed into a city on October 24 of 1848 with the name of Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro, Portuguese for “The City of the Margins of Black River”.