We begin our visit to Belém with a stop at the Ver-o-Peso Market--a huge outdoor market that sprawls four city blocks. It's the city's best-known landmark and possibly the largest market in Brazil. The myriad of stalls offer typical local food with an Afro-Indian influence, pottery, handicrafts, handmade clothing, even charms made by the practitioners of macumba (Brazil's version of voodoo), vegetables, tropical fruits, and a fish market. Next, we will explore Forte do Castelo--a fortress built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. It stands at the highest point in the city and served to protect the new colonies against attacks by Holland and France. From this place in the picturesque, old city centre, take in the marvelous panoramic view of the large bay in front of Belém.
The Emilio Goeldi Zoo & Botanic Park covers five hectares of wooded area and is a renowned research centre dedicated to the study of Amazonian fauna and flora. The gardens feature more than 1 500 varieties of plant species and more than 1 600 fruits (in season) that grow in the region. More than 700 types of timber as well as animals from Amazonia, birds, rodents and mammals flourish here. Your last stop will be at the Basilica of Our lady of Nazareth, which is an elaborate copy of St. Paul's Basilica in Rome. Built during the rubber boom at the beginning of the 20th century, this church is a fine example of beauty and architecture with a central nave, stained-glass windows and a lovely altar.