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Gateway to the Amazon

By Linda Tancs

Known as the Gateway to the Amazon, Belém is the capital of the Brazilian state of Pará. Founded by the Portuguese in the 1600s, the city boasts well-preserved, Portuguese-colonial architecture along the riverfront district. The docklands also feature South America’s largest outdoor market, Mercado Ver-o-Peso, a site offering not only foods and vegetables but also crafts and antiques. A big highlight this time of year is the city’s religious festival known as Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth), inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The event culminates in a procession on Sunday, when a wooden image of Our Lady of Nazareth is carried from Sé Cathedral to Sanctuary Square, accompanied by hordes of pilgrims from around the country.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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