Belem is located 100km (60 miles) from the Para River entrance to the Amazon Delta. Amid the broad avenues and busy markets of this, Brazil's chief port of the lower Amazon River, there remain many intriguing reminders of how thousands of tons of rubber were once loaded for transit here to the markets of the 19th Century.
Founded in 1615 by the Portuguese, Belem owes its commercial importance to the opening of the Amazon to foreign trade in the late 19th century. One of the most attractive cities in South America, Belem has numerous fine public squares and well-paved streets, many of which extend to the edge of the jungle. The cultural centre of northern Brazil, Belem is the site of Praca de Republica (free afternoon concerts), the neoclassical Teatro da Paz (1868) and many museums including the Goeldi, with its world-famous Amazonian ethnological and zoological collections. Churches to visit include the Cathedral (1748), the 18th century Santo Alexandre, the Merces church (1640) and the Basilica of Nossa Senhora de Nazare, built in 1909 from rubber wealth and featuring beautiful stained glass windows and marble.
The following 16 cruises call at Belem.
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