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  • NATURAL BEAUTIES

    TOURIST CITIES OF MARANHÃO

    SÃO JOSÉ DE RIBAMAR

    São José de Ribamar, one of the four counties of São Luis Island, is 32 Km. far from the State's capital, to which is linked by a road surrounded by a number of farms and agreeable dwellings.
    In former eras an indian village, it took its name after a pietous tale narrated like this: 'a ship comming from Lisbon to São Luis had its course changed and, in the very bay of São Luis, was threatened to sinking due to the huge waves and storm. The sailors prayed for protection to the saint promissing to build a Shrine for him at the site they could see far in the bay.
    They suplicated with such a faith that immediately the sea became quiet. And all of them reached the shore safe and sound'.
    To acomplish their promise, they brougth from Lisbon an image of São José entronicing him at the little church then built just in front of the sea. But the inhabitants of the ancient Anindiba indian village -today Paço do Lumiar- found that the image should be taken and placed at the hermitage of that region, and they subreptitiously did it. The next day, they saw amazed that the image wasn't there any more: it had returned to the original little church! Unsatisfied, they repeated the transference and placed a number of persons to guard the image in an attempt to avoid its disapearance.
    Nevertheless, São José(Saint Joseph) transforming his stick into a torch, left the Anindiba church protected by saints and angels and went back to Ribamar, leaving along this way slight traces of light. In this way the Anindi-ba villagers realized that the saint wanted to remain in his hermitage in front of the sea.
    São José de Ribamar is one of the great devocional places of local people. This explains the exagerated amount of names, i.e., José and Maria, given to many maranhenses, eventhough this tendency is declining.
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    It is beliaved, that, the cult to the miracle-doer saint will be back to its glorious days with the construction of the basilica dedicated to him.
    In the past, the only ways of transportation to Ribamar were on horse back or by carts pushed by caws through a tortous and tight land-course. Also, one could go to that county by sea.
    Today, the trip is fast and confortable, and the old bathing resort town, where there is a mineral water spring, still keeps its charm.
    São José de Ribamar, besides the festival dedicated to its patron miracle-doer saint, which is held for ten days in September in lively celebrations and parties in variable dates, according to the full moon, anticipates the event with the celebration of the Peixe-Pedra (Stone-fish)Festival in August, followed, by pass, by the Maris-co(shellfish) and Coco d'Água(Water coconut) Festivals.
    Moroever, the Festival agenda starts earlier, in January, with the Cordões dos Reis(Kings ribbon) celebrati-on. Includes the City foundation, on the 26th, and on the next Sunday after the Ash Wednesday, proceeds with the São Luis merry-makers, in a carnival-like celebration called Lava-Pratos(dish-washers), extending it till December, on Christmas time. It is also valuable to refer to the June Festival, in which great celebrations and parties are per-formed with the Matraca and Zabumba Bois(wooden rattles and drums accompaining partisans dancing around a man in caw vests) as main attractions, event which is repeated after São Marçal (Saint Marçal) day.

    Amusement and visiting places

    Beaches: Caúra, Itapari, Panaquatira, Boa Viagem
    Springs : Poço da Saúde
    Handycrafts: Goods made from straw, wood, thread, liana and ox horn.
    Dishes : Peixe cozido, peixe frito(boiled and fried fishes), shrimps, prepared ac-
    cording to local and delicious taste tradition
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    Drinks :
    Tiquira, Cachaça (sugar cane and manihot made rum-like spirits), soft drinks and liquour made from regional fruits.
    Religious celebrations and Folkloric Festivals
    - São José de Ribamar, do Divino Espírito Santo, de Nossa Senhora da
    Vitória
    - Quadrilhas (quadrille dancers), Cordões dos Reis(King ribbon dancers),
    Bumba-meu-Boi(dancers around caw dressed up man) on the stiles
    Matraca and Orquestra.
    São José de Ribamar Church, Gruta de Lurdes(Lourdes grotto), built in
    1957.
    Infrastructure
    - Hotel Mar e Sol (Av. Gonçalves Dias, 320), and Tropical(Praça da Matriz).
    How to reach São José de Ribamar
    - Several bus lines take one daily, starting from different places, along the
    route São Luis -São José and viceversa, early in the morning until the
    begining of the evening.


    ALCANTARA

    Alcântara, for a long time, was our only biggest symbol of a decadent and abbandoned past. Nevertheless, today it holds an important Rocket and Satelite Lounching Centre where a multinational team of scientists work looking at the future supported by sophisticated high-tech utilities, contributing in this way to the brazilian technological and scientific development.
    Odylo Costa filho, journalist and poet, has said that Alcântara is a Town that refuses to die. In fact, the ancient indian so called Tapuitapera cited by french Priest and writer 'as 'more confortable, richer and freshier than São Luis', is a town with centuries of memorable contends.
    It developed, enriched and became to know the opulency in which its few but refined elite, shined in grand style.
    A number of adverse factors came to embarrass the town's prosperity. Fistly, the economical exploitation of the maranhence valeys was the reason for the gradual abbandonment of the city barons, rich people who owned big plantations of shugar and cotton that turned Alcâncara the centre of production of these cultures. Secondly, the abolition of slavery was the ultimate shoot for an economy already frankly decadent. And from that on, Alcântara took its way to a complete wreck.
    Moreover, Alcântara refuses to die. Due to this persistancy and in spite of its ruined buildings abbandoned by the inhabitants that took with them even doors, roofs and furnitures from those then totaly devaluated. Lanes became deserts, squares, as the Santa Helena Square, disapeared, and even the ancient Rua Bela Vista with its abandoned large houses, came to be named Rua da Amargura(Grief Street).
    Also the churchs, as it is normal, suffered that irreversible process of decline, and the main church, the Matriz do Apóstolo São Matias(Saint Matias Cathedral), is today a pile of ruined walls facing the sky, because of a broken roof that, instead of being motive to its repairing, served only as a no returning to destruction.
    -1-
    Related to the building of churchs in Alcântara, we know today only the site of their construction, as it is the case of the Convento de Nossa Senhora das Mercês (Our Lady of Mercy Convent), founded in 1658, in a place just marked by the poor Capela das Mercês(Mercês Chapel) over a slight hill in front of the Rua das Mercês.(Mercy Street). In the Rua Direita, two branches concour to a cross carved in a wall which is part of the remains of São Francisco de Assis Church, pittiful witness of a resistance long but not eternal.
    Some remains of Os Sete Passos da Paixão(Seven steps of Passion) are visible: one at the Rua Peque-na(Little Street), and the other at the Rua da Amargura (Grief Street).
    The Capela de Nossa Senhora do Desterro(Our Lady of Exile Chapel) is modest and small, as the name of the street in which it is situated. It was only a Step, originally the maintenance of the traditions kept so carefully since the 18th century.
    In the Bairro Caravela(Caravela quarter) is placed the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário(Our Lady of Rosary Church), built under the slaves devotion, from 1781 to 1803. Nossa Senhora do Rosário shares its honor with São Benedito. This saint is enshrined with celebrations plenty of fervor in which are mixed up processions, novenas and the drums played for the dancing and punga(dance acompained by chants and drums) at the very entrance and outside the church's doors, without frontiers between the sacred and profane, among Host , tobacco and cachaça.
    The wide convent is a complete wreck, but persists firmly. Next to it is the Igreja do Carmo(Carmo Church), the most beautiful church of Maranhão State. Crowned with graves daily guarded by a legion of barroc angels, these graves are distribuited along the columns, cavities and edges finely curved. These are 17th century works that suffered several restaurations, but even when the last one is still unfinished, permitted the in comming of de-votees attracted by its ancient beauty parcially recovered. It is at this church where is performed the last Great Act of the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo (Holyghost Celebration), with the Emperor(or the Empress) in his Throne, and the


    -2-
    participation of the Bishop of the Pinheiro Diosesis. And after the solemn mass, the celebration is finished, but the festivity will soon start again because of the reading of the Pelouro (decision of next year's celebration organizers) where are announced the names of the selected devotees in charge of the next year celebration.
    Alcântara, founded in 1648 as a head village subaltern to the Capitania of Cumâ, was registered as Natio-nal Monument Town. Eventhough today is still neglected, it is meritor of such distinction, because there is too much to be seeing there: two ruins called Palácio do Emperador(Emperor's Palace), memory of the obstinacy of two rival politicians who attempted to host Emperor Pedro II, that allegedly because of this did not visit the town as it was promissed; the As Fontes das Pedras and Mirititiua(Stone Springs), the remains of the São Sebastião Fort, the second floor terrace known as Cavalo de Troia(Troy Horse) high and wide, compared to the little house where, when public prosecutor, lived Clovis Bevilaqua; the second floor where Sousândrade parents used to live; the ancient Chamber site and prison; which served as the State's penitentiary, but today shelters the City House and the Chamber. Surrounding São Matias Largo, is placed the Museum of History and Arts; the tripled two story house which belonged to The Viveiros family, and after that passed to be property of the capitalist Antonino Guimarães. That Plaza, greened with Ficus trees planted by Agostinho dos Reis, holds the Pelourinho, a symbol of authority but also motive of hate and ressentiment from the part of the negroes there punished. With the abolition of slavery, bands of negroes, drunk and excited for liberty, pushed down and hid the terrorific pole. Thank to the benevolence of Mrs. Mãe Calu, 50 years later, the Pelourinho was turned back to its original place.
    The Casa do Divino, is a museum which keeps inside epoch relics showing Alcântara's strength. Emperor Dom Pedro did not visit the site, but in the streets at the yearly parade, march the imperial procession backed by torchs, music bands, bengala fires, litters, buffoons and the whole thing of a court that never will be put aside.
    There is in Alcântara a reasonable touristic infrastructure, hostages, restaurants, bars and

    -3-
    beaches. And nice islands among which Livramento beach is just in front of it.
    Alcântara and São Luis look at each other, for centuries, over the witery São Marcos bay sea "mirror", which is only 22 Km far in a straight line.
    You can go to Alcântara by sea, in daily trips, and also by land, which takes more time, and by plane.


    BARREIRINHA

    Barreirinhas, 370 km far from São Luís, is located in the maranhense oriental lowland microregion. On Preguiça river side, it's the entrance to 'Lençois Maranhenses'National Park, a wonderful ecosystem of 150 Ha of loosing sand, which gives the impression of infinite sheets that are unfolding among reentrances, dunes and clear water lagoons.

    There are many natural touristic attraction in Barreirinhas. Generous hydrography region, it has a number of rivers, creeks, lagoons and watery areas where we can find buriti and juçara palms trees.

    Besides Preguiça river, we can refer to Novo, Paragem, Prata, Cocal, São José, Formiga and Juçaral Rivers. And as a must we have to nominee Esperança and Tábua lagoons.

    Pleasant beaches are all over the region, as Vassouras, Espandarte, Morro do Boi, Moitas, Manda-caru and Afins.

    In Barreirinhas there are great quantity and variety of fish, shrimps and other seafood.

    It's famous and diversified the city's handcraft and neighbouring villages production, specially the one with 'Buriti'as a row material.

    Barreirinhas needs a better touristic infrastructure, in order to develop the huge potencialities that it has.

    We can go there from São Luís by road ¾ there is a daily bus line ¾ or charter flight.


    CAROLINA

    One of the most traditional and ancient cities of south of Maranhão, Carolina ¾ evocative name of Brazil's first empress ¾ was the main economic center of Tocantins Valley and had important cultural life, represented by fine schools, literary entities, newspapers, musical bands and so on.

    Despite of the decay imposed by the changing of economical area to Imperatriz, Carolina keeps a lot of its past. And has great future, thanks to natural beauties that surrounds the city.

    Rivers and lagoons encarved in rocky formations, rupestrian inscriptions, granite mines in the 'cerrado' (typical vegetation), are some of the many attractions to be admired.

    Besides Tocantins river, along side of the city, there are, among others, 'Sereno' river, very fishy and 'Lajes' river (Praiolândia), with many bars on the side. 'Botes' isle is a place of nice tours to go down the rivers. 'Figuras' hill gather interesting stone carved images. And 'Passagem Funda' is a cave where live a great population of bats and from where the inhabitants criated a lot of tales.

    But the great assemblage of unforgetable attractions is the waterfalls sequence ¾ from 'Itapecuru-zinho', which clear water moves a hydroelectric, and more :
    o 'Praia', 50 km, far one of the most beautiful waterfall of the region;
    o 'Barra da Cabeceira', waterfalls together with granite formation, similar to great walls;
    o São Romão, surrounded by local vegetation and about 70 km far.

    Finally, 'Pedra Caída' waterfall, 35 km far and the most known of all. Its clear water which falls from 50 m high, over stone walls until becaming pleasant rivers and creeks.

    From São Luís to Carolina ¾ 680 km far there is a daily bus. The way, therefore may include air trip, to Imperatriz, which is 270 km far from Carolina.

    Hotels, Chalets and Restaurants Imperial Hotel ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 11 15; Sansão Hotel ¾ Phone # 731 - 1371 / 731 1297; Maria Hotel ¾ Phone # (098) 731-1282; Santa Rita ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 1224; Pipes Hotel (on the other side of the river) ¾ Phone # (063) 849 - 1115; Rio Lajes Chalet ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 1348; Pedra Caída Chalet ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 1259.

    Touristic assemblage of chalets, restaurants, sports fields, natural swimming pool and waterfall.

    Among restaurants, some are : K. Funé, Sol Poent, Cantina Tropical, Baluka Restaurant and Trevo Barbecue House.


    PARNAIBA DELTA

    Parnaíba Delta, between Maranhão and Piauí States, is one of the most beautiful and lovely natural spots of the world. And with the advantage of keeping free from aggressions to its rich ecosystem, which includes 2.700 km2 of area with dunes, sand plain, about 80 isles of several dimensions, caju trees and mangroves.

    Caju island, one of the three biggest island, is an important ecological sanctuary, where there are migratory birds and animals in extinction. Besides creeks, shallow and limpid reservation, Parnaíba Delta offers long virgin beaches sequence.
    This truly ecological paradise in open sea is one of the three biggest in the world and the only one in our continent.



    BEACH

    São Luís island is surrounded by a calm sea with soft waves and greenish water. There are approximately 40 km of beach that makes anyone looking for wide sand areas amazed, where the horizon gets lost and the sun, that tans all year round, sets later. It hardly rains and when it does it's always welcome to minimize the heat of a temperature that even in witer goes below 22°C.
    From 'Ponta D'Areia', São Marcos, Calhau, Caolho, Olho D'Agua, Araçagi to 'Raposa' only one bech that hugs the island and gets different names, and also changes the view. There are dunes, hills and creeks, that follow the way to the ocean.
    t that never will be put aside.
    There is in Alcântara a reasonable touristic infrastructure, hostages with 'Buriti'as a row material.

    Barreirinhas needs a better touristic infrastructure, in order to develop the hu

    Canal Tourism

    Dial Tourism
    (0**98) 3244 4500
    (0**98) 3231 4696
    Know where to look for tourist information when it is in Maranhão


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