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In the Brazilian state of Pernambuco is the state capital Recife which is one of the oldest settlements in the country. The city is one of the largest in Brazil with a population of over 1,500,000 inhabitants. The city was once a fishing village until it was invaded by Dutch troops and occupied Pernambuco (and later most of the Brazilian Northeast) in 1630. The capital was transferred to nearby Olinda. Recife was developed by its foreign occupiers by building building bridges and palaces and was called Mauritsstad, or Maurice Town by the Dutch settlers. One can find in the old quarters of Recife Antigo the oldest synagogue in the New World. Pernambuco was eventually reconquered by the Portuguese in 1654.
In Recife, the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River to flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Sugar cane industry prospered in Pernambuco state that started with the introduction of the industry by a certain Duarte Coehlo. Recife is blessed with fertile soil and a climate suitable for growing sugar cane. Most Brazilians worked as sugar cane cultivators.
Pernambuco’s food, music and dance are influenced by black culture due to the introduction of Africans in Brazil. Recife has become a melting pot for Indians, black slaves and Portuguese making the city as one of the most culturally diverse in Brazil.
In Boa Viagem are the nicest beaches that have warm water all year-round. It is one of the most famous beaches in the country and visitors enjoy the sand and the green waters, as well as the complete infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, and other services within the area.
The name Recife is derived from the Portuguese word for reef. This was aptly called its name because of the reef barrier which is very close to shore, sometimes almost touching it. Swimming or surfing beyond the reef line or in exposed stretches of beach is definitely prohibited due to dangers of shark attacks that have become frequent since the 1990s.
Aside from the beaches, there are also 18th century Baroque churches and 19-th century public buildings in Recife. Nearby Olinda is also worth visiting because it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some of the other attractions in the city proper are the Santo Antônio and Boa Vista quarters on the banks of the Rio Capibaribe, and The Polo Bom Jesus (in Recife Antigo) where visitors can enjoy good food and fun nightlife.