Brazil Destinations, São Luis

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São Luís is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Maranhão. The city has a population of
986,826 people.
St. Louis was founded by the French in 1612, but the Portuguese gave the capital of Maranhão its
trademark ­ the beautiful architectural style. It was the Lusitanians who left a legacy of over three
thousand houses and mansions that spread through the streets and squares of the historic center,
the Praia Grande neighborhood.
Much of the colonial houses dating from the 18th and 19th centuries refer to a past of prosperity and
Today, the baron’s old mansions are the house to cultural venues, museums, shops and restaurants
that preserve in their facades colorful Portuguese tiles. The bars ensure the buzz on Friday and
Saturday nights. Unfortunately, the conservation of many of the properties is lacking.
Beyond history, the city preserves culture and traditions. The Bumba­Meu­Boi, folk representation
that combines theater, music and dance, became famous attracting people from all parts of Brasil and
around the world who come to participate in the colorful festival that takes over the streets in June
and July.
As popular as folklore is the reggae. The rhythm is present on the radio, clubs and bars, gave to St.
Louis the title of “Brazilian Jamaica” and makes it impossible not start dancing next to the
Rastafarians to the sound of Bob Marley and others.
The capital of Maranhão, however, displays a modern and luxurious facet. Across the Rio do Anil is
the new part of St. Louis, linked to the old area by the bridge José Sarney. There are skyscrapers,
shopping malls, sophisticated restaurants serving typical dishes and bars around the charming Lagoa
da Jansen.
The beaches ­ not as blue waters ­ are also in this area. The tide usually varies greatly to along the
day and allows one to enjoy a bath in Calhau, Olho Dagua.

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