With a population of nearly two million, Recife is Brazil's fourth largest city and the capital of the State of Pernambuco. It is one of the country's few cities that did not originate with the Portuguese. In fact, it was the Dutch Prince Maurice of Nassau who founded Recife in 1637 on reclaimed land, following the destruction of the state's original capital, Olinda.
Recife is a city of water and bridges. Its center consists of three portions: Recife proper with the dock area and commercial buildings, located on an island formed by three rivers; Santo Antonio and Boa Vista. South of the city center lies the residential and beach district of Boa Viagem.
Although Recife has long outgrown its colonial boundaries and today much of the city center is crowded with modern skyscrapers and office buildings, there are still a few quiet squares boasting ornate churches and lovely public buildings.
Travelers to this area should not miss a visit to beautiful Olinda located four miles to the north. It is one of the best-preserved colonial towns in Brazil.
Please Note: As in many port cities, expensive jewelry and watches or large amounts of cash should not be taken ashore. Be aware of pickpockets and persistent vendors trying to sell you their wares, and beggars loitering near churches.