Fortaleza is the capital of Ceará, a State of Northeastern Brazil. With more than 30 km of beaches, the city offers various leisure options, such as museums, theatres, crafts, cuisine, in addition to an intense nightlife.
Fortaleza originated as a small village adjoining a Portuguese fort (built as a defence against Indian attacks). It took the name of Villa do Forte da Assumpção in 1654. In 1810 it became the capital of Ceará captaincy and in 1823 was given city status and became the provincial (later state) capital under the name of Fortaleza Nova de Bragança.
Data and Facts
Currently the fifth-biggest city in Brazil
In 2014, Fortaleza was a host city of FIFA World Cup Brazil.
The city has a population of about 3 million people. It has an area of 313.8 km2 (121.2 sq mi). The people who live in the city are known as Fortalezenses. The current mayor is Luizianne Lins.
The Pinto Martins International Airport connects Fortaleza with the major Brazilian cities. It also operates international flights. The Federal University of Ceará is located in Fortaleza.
The administration of the municipality is made from the executive and legislative branches. In the city, there is the Administrative Center Governador Virgílio Távora. Among the institutions present in the city, are the Fortaleza Air Base, the Port Authority of Ceará, School of Apprentice Sailors of Ceará and the Command of the Tenth Military Region. The city also has units of the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNICEF.
Since 1996, the city has been part of the Common Market of Cities of Mercosur.
At the beginning of the decade of 2000, among the capitals of the Northeast, Fortaleza had the third largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP), being surpassed by Recife and Salvador] In 2012, the GDP of Fortaleza reached the value of 43.4 billion Reais, the tenth highest of the country. In the same year, the value of taxes on products net of subsidies at current prices was R $6,612,822,000 and the municipality's GDP per capita was R$17.359,53. The city's booming economy is reflected in purchasing power, the country's eighth-largest, with estimated consumption potential at 42 billion reais in 2014.
The main economic source of the municipality is centred in the tertiary sector, with its diversified segments of commerce and service rendering. Next, the secondary sector stands out, with the industrial complexes. In 2012, the city had 873,746 people in employment.
A way of attracting private investment in the municipality is to integrate private interest to the public, using concessions, public-private partnerships, urban businesses, among others. The City Hall is using the Instruments of the City Statute, regulated in the Municipal Urban Law, to be able to realize more investments of large and medium-sized companies. With the implementation of the system, there have been improvements in urban-environmental control, in more authorizations and licenses issued and effective inspection, in addition to the increase in tax revenues.
Like any other large city in Latin America, it faces complex urban challenges, particularly related to urban mobility, violence, unemployment, social inequalities and investment difficulties. Today, improvements in urban spaces are evident, and there have been significant improvements in public safety, job creation and the articulation of the tourism sector. The key to success is understanding urban development as a whole and placing citizens at the core of all initiatives. CAF-development bank of Latin America-, for example, has provided support through funding, for US$ 350 million, for three major urban development initiatives.
The first, a $49-million urban drainage program implemented in 2011, improved city neighbourhoods and risk areas benefiting hundreds of vulnerable families. «This type of investment promotes not only the improvement of the city but also economic growth through tourism, which has been reinforced. And now entrepreneurs in this sector have better working conditions and offer better tourist services, creating jobs, sources of income and higher quality in the provision of general services,» said Samuel Dias, mayor of the city of Fortaleza. The third CAF loan for the Fortaleza - City with a Future program will fund infrastructure and services to create jobs and sources of income and to reduce violence.
«It is a program with a holistic view, which will change the face of a tourism-oriented city, which is one of its main sources of revenue. With these new efforts, the city will expand with more quality, enhancing the urban coastline, improving accessibility, mobility and the socio-economic possibilities of its residents, with a modern vision and actions aimed at reducing violence,» said Jaime Holguín, CAF representative in Brazil. One of the most significant urban interventions was the renovation of the Piscis Market on Beira-Mar Avenue. One of the most notable measures of the Fortaleza - City with a Future project is the installation of a video surveillance system and monitoring by 10 community groups for public safety in the region of Beira-Mar.
The technology park in Fortaleza is modelled after the Park in neighbouring Recife, and both are designed to fuel growth in the Brazilian IT industry. The local government has announced a slew of incentives and tax breaks for IT companies moving into the technology park. «The park itself is very important for the consolidation of the ICT industry in the city since it is re-developing deteriorated areas and integrating the local industry with universities and technology centres,» said Márcio Braga, president of Assespro Ceará, an association of software developers and IT services firms. The technology industry in Ceará, according to Braga, is mainly composed of service providers in different technology segments, including software development, security systems, CRM and mobile computing.
The Federal government plans to invest US$ 30 million to provide basic infrastructure for data centre companies to establish and flourish in the city. Contijo said the fiscal incentives and the IT infrastructure will inject growth into Fortaleza’s technology sector.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The Mucuripe Lighthouse is unfortunately in ruins today, Ceará and Fortaleza were part of the pioneering group of states and cities to adopt public policies to protect the living intangible heritage of their culture, through the Masters of Culture program.
Literature and cinema
The main literary manifestation of Fortaleza's history emerged at the end of the 19th century, in the cafes of Praça do Ferreira, known as the Spiritual Bakery, a pioneer in the dissemination of modern ideas in Brazilian literature that would only be adopted nationally in the following century, in the Modern Art Week. The most important historical entities of high culture still present in the city are the Ceará Institute and the Ceará Academy of Letters, the first academy of letters created in Brazil, founded in 1887 and 1894 respectively. The Ceará Institute has helped launch important names in national historiography and philosophy, such as Farias Brito and Capistrano de Abreu. The Casa de Juvenal Galeno is another historical cultural institution of Fortaleza, named after one of the greatest poets born in the city, Juvenal Galeno.
Another current exponent of cinema born in Fortaleza is Halder Gomes, director and screenwriter of Holliúdy Cinema. The most traditional cinema event in Fortaleza is the Cine Ceará, considered one of the main festivals of the country.
Much of the clothing that is produced in Ceará flows through Fortaleza, which in turn is recognized as one of the most important textile centres of the country, giving the garment industry great weight in the metropolitan economy.
In Música popular Brasileira, some of the names from Fortaleza were Fagner, Ednardo, Belchior and Amelinha. The musical tradition of Fortaleza, however, goes back to the composer Alberto Nepomuceno, one of the greatest names in classical music in Brazil, a pioneer in the development of the country's musical nationalism, and therefore considered the «founder of Brazilian music». The Alberto Nepomuceno Conservatory is one of the city's leading music schools.
Its main locations are Iracema Beach and Avenue Domingos Olimpio.
The Baião de dois a typical dish from Ceará. The gastronomy of Fortaleza is very close to the typical Northeastern cuisine, and, traditional include the baião de dois, usually accompanied by a barbecue of mutton or meat of sun, and «tapioca» which is a pancake made from the starch of cassava.