Today one of Brazil's major cities, with a colourful harbour area and a colonial history dating back to 1612, Fortaleza has developed around the ancient fortress of Our Lady of Assumption (Fortaleza Nossa Senhora de Assuncao). There's much to enjoy in its old centre, where you visit the magnificent iron structured Teatro Jose de Alencar and various museums or you can bargain in the market for embroidery, lace and other local handicrafts. In recent times, the city has made attempts to expand the tourist trade and to encourage the construction of luxury hotels along the city's fine beaches.
The first Portuguese arrived in 1603 and, after clashes with the Indians, restricted themselves to settling in the coastal area. Only with the eventual blazing of cattle trails into the interior was it possible to subdue the hostile Indians. It was from Fortaleza that the move for independence from Portugal had its beginnings and actual fighting took place between the Portuguese and the local patriots. Prosperity came to the city in the 19th century when ranching was rapidly expanding and Fortaleza became a major port for the hinterland.
The following 27 cruises call at Fortaleza.
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