Natal City Guide

An introduction to the city of Natal


Location


Rio Grande Do Norto, a northeastern state of Brazil. The beautiful and largest city Natal is the capital and is located at 546′S 35°12′W, in noth east of Brazil. Natal lies on the Atlantic Ocean and at the mouth of Potengi River. Natal has a tropical wet and dry climate and was founded at December 25 1599 hence its name Natal ( which means Christmas in Portuguese).

History


Natal is situated near river Potenji, In December 1597 Jeronimo de Albuquerque arrived to river Potenji with an attention to protect the Portuguese settlement and keep away the frenchman, who are trying to do business with potiguares. On january 6th 1598, the construction of Fortress commenced it was named after 3 wise men about a mile away from the fort, a tiny and small village was established on December 25th 1599. From 1633 to 1654, Dutch occupied the city and renamed the fort Fort Ceulen in honor to one of their officers. In 1654 the Portuguese reclaimed it. Portugal explored the gold which was found in Minas Gerais; in 1817, provinces from Northeast attempted a revolution to gain independence from Portugal (the revolution failed, the independence was proclaimed in 1822).

In the beginning of the 19th century, Natal was still a small village divided into two main regions. The higher city (today, Cidade Alta) and lower city (Cidade Baixa). In 1922, the government of Pedro Velho started to modernize and urbanisation started. During Second World War Natal saw rapid changes and the airport was used as a military base for American troops. The Americans changed the way of life in Natal as they introduced their democratic ad liberal ways. Even today Natal is one of the saftest cities in Brazil.

After the war, much of the wealth derived from the exports through port; the main sources were Xetila, tungstenium ore, carnauba wax.

General facts


The word “Natal” means Christmas in Portuguese. Natal is known as “City of Sun” and also the “City of Dunes” (hill of sand). Natal is home to the largest cashew tree in the world! It’s 500 meters around and takes up 7200 square meters of space making it 70 times larger than a normal cashew tree. Natal is a very popular and famous tourist destination because of its incredible landscape and warm atmosphere. Natal exports oil and it is the second largest producer in Brazil, and also exports large amount of shark cartilage to Japan. Other exports include manos, guavas, and cashew nuts. Football is the favorite sport of Natal, everyone from children to senior’s play. Portuguese language is the official national language and primary language in schools but English and Spanish are also part of the official high school curriculum. With dozens of sandy and white beaches Natal is famous for tourism attracting Brazilians, Europeans and U.S citizens alike.

Statistics


Natal is the capital city of the northeastern state of Rio Grande Do Norte. The total area of the city is 170 square kilometers. The population of Natal is approximately 720,000 people and an official survey of the country tells Natal as the safest capital city in Brazil.

Interesting Landmarks


Natal is famous for white beaches such as Ponta Negra and its famous Morro do careca, tabatinga, Pirangi, redinha,Pipa and Genipabu with its fixed sand dunes and imported dromedaries. The Atlantic forest and the dolphins to be found there are some of the natural attractions that make the southern coast major tourist attraction.The dunes of Genipabu are beautiful and adventurous. Water sports and swimming as well as offshore bathing are very popular. The Atlantic Forest and the Dolphins found there are attractions to the southern coast of Natal travel. Natal is home to largest aquarium of Brazil’s which includes 60 marine species. Species include fish, octopus, Stingrays, shrimps and lobsters. To the south, the ride to Pirangi is amazing. Cajueira is the world’s largest Cashew-nut tree covering 8400 sq m. The Forte de Reis magos, an old fort sitting on a spit of land out in the water explains the Brazil Natal culture and inside the fort there is a small museum which displays the famous explorer vasco de Gama. Another museum is Museu Camara Cascudo, this museum celebrates the history of entire state of Rio grande do Norto. There are some archaeological sites and caves.

Natal’s main theatre is located on the Praca Augusto Severo, and it is a lovely building with 19th century architecture and great acoustics. In terms of religious structures the church by name “Catedral Nova Cicade” largest and impressive architecture it was begun over 30 years ago and construction hasn’t yet been completed.

Dunas Park: The Dunas Park is the second largest urban park in Brazil and it is a ecological part too which is located in the Natal.

Natal City Park: The Natal city park Nivaldo Monte, is a unique monumental tower and it has museum and restaurant.

Newton Navarro bridge: The Newton navarro bridge is one of the highest bridges in Brazil and has a gorgeous sunset seen from potengi river.

Barreira do inferno:It is the first base to launch rockets from brazil.

Parrachos de Maracajau and genipabu:These both are the famous beaches in the Natal city.

Other attractions: Pipa beach, Calcanhar Lighthouse in Brazil and Natal’s top folkaric show (folkaric zas Tras) is a funfilled night of family entertainment.

Prices


Compared to other developed countries Brazil is cheap. Putting its booming tourism industry Natal has economic potential. When it comes to real estate, Natal is most expensive Northeast capital. For transportation there is no subway or train network the only viable options are buses and automobiles.

Places to stay


Many hotels in Natal are considered world class because of their excellent design, service and facilities. A main factor in determining prices is the distance from the beach. Below are the some of the places in Natal where most of the hotels situated.

Via Costeria: The high standard hotels. All hotels are on the sand beach.

Ponta Negra: Many choices from cheap to compartable close to the beaches.

Praia do meio: Nearby beach very calm and affordable.

Food habits


Natal food and drinks has a distinctly flair with unique dishes and drinks. The popular foods in Natal are usually consisting of European delicious flavors. A product from Portugal which is very famous called “Carne do sol” (The meat is salted then exposed to the sunlight for about three to five days). Another popular dish is “Escondidinhos de carne do sol” that is prepared with potatoes mashed and vegetables along with dried meat. “Tapioca” is a sandwich similar to crepe filled with cheese, guava marmalade, and other ingredients. The Natal People are famous as being shrimp eaters or “potiguares”, because of the intense production of shrimp in Natal. And other is “Acaraje” a tasty food sold by street vendors is a deep fried ball of black-eyed peas served with a spicy shrimp and peanut paste.

Pacoca de amendum” is a popular sweet made with yucca flour, sugar, and peanuts. It is used to be a typical eastern meal. To stay hydrated at the beach cold coconut water is a better option. Although “caju” juice (an extract from the cashew nut) is popular and main beverage is Cachaça prepared with liquor, lemon, sugar, and ice and other is Caipirinha an exotic traditional cocktail with sugarcane liquor Cachaça, ice and crushed limes.