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Manaus, Brazil - Heart of the Amazon

Manaus, Brazil - Heart of the Amazon

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Published by M.G. Edwards
Travelogue with photos of Manaus, Brazil in the heart of the Amazon. This is the first of a series about the Amazon rainforest featured in my children's picture book, "Alexander the Salamander."
Travelogue with photos of Manaus, Brazil in the heart of the Amazon. This is the first of a series about the Amazon rainforest featured in my children's picture book, "Alexander the Salamander."

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Published by: M.G. Edwards on Nov 07, 2012
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12/04/2012

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© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-1-
This is the first in a series about the  Amazon region of Brazil featured in my illustrated   picture book,  Alexander the Salamander .This post is about Manaus, the largest city in the Brazilian Amazon. Upcoming articles will focus on the Amazon River Basin, therainforest, indigenous groups and wildlife in the Amazon, and the Amazon Ecopark, aneco-
resort. Enjoy these travelogues with photos and stories from the world’s largest 
rainforest.
 My family and I visited the Amazon region in July2008. We spent the day in Manaus,the capital of  the Brazilian state of Amazonas, before embarking on a trip to the rainforest.The city lies at theconfluence of the rivers Rio Negro and Rio Solimões,the two major tributaries that form themighty Amazon River flowing east to the AtlanticOcean. Surrounded by a dense sea of green forestthat blankets the region, Manaus is a gritty, industrial city of approximately 1.85 million
inhabitants carved out of the jungle. It’s a four 
-hour flight from São Paulo, the primaryairline hub for most international flights entering Brazil.
The name “Manaus” is derived from the Manaós indigenous group that
lived in the area
until the city’s establishment by the Portuguese in 1669. Manaus has been called the“Heart of the Amazon” and “City of the Forest,” although a more appropriate name is the“Industrial Pool of Manaus,” reflecting the city’s status as an
industrial center. A rubberboom in the late 1800s fueled urban growth for half a century. Since the establishment of the Free Economic Zone of Manaus (ZFM) in 1957, a bevy of industries fromshipbuilding and petrochemicals to manufacturing and agribusiness have developedthanks to tax incentives offered by the ZFM.
Although the city’s footprint is one of the largest in Brazil, its histori
c center between the
river port and the main square is an easy walk. Visiting Manaus’ highlights is a day tour 
on foot from any number of hotels clustered in the center. Heading north on AvenidaEduardo Ribeiro takes you to the Renaissance-style Amazon Theater (Teatro Amazonas), an opera house that opened in 1896 and is home to the Amazonas Philharmonic.The easily recognizable dome features a large mural of the Brazilian flag.
 
© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-2-
The main square is lined with historic buildings that house the Palace of Justice (Paláciode Justiça), São Sebastião Church, Municipal Prefecture, and the Indigenous Museum(Museu do Índio), one of two showcasing local indigenous culture (the other is the smaller, nearby Museu Amazônico). Although small
 – 
just one large city block
 – 
thesquare is a must-see when visiting Manaus. Park benches in São Sebastião Park are agreat place to stop and enjoy the plaza.
 
Walking down Avenida Eduardo Ribeiro toward the river port will introduce you to thesights and sounds of Manaus. There are some free-for-all markets that sell a wideassortment of knock-
off goods. We passed on the faux leather goods and “Swiss”
watches.Next to the port is a large open-air marketsurrounding the Church of the Mother Manaus(Ingreja de Matriz Manaus). Cluttered andsomewhat disorganized, the place was abuzz withactivity when we visited and filled with items thatseemed more geared to locals than tourists. Weliked browsing the stalls for mementos, food, anddrink. My son enjoyed drinking milk straightfrom the coconut sold by one of the vendors.

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