Places to Visit
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Probably, the most popular tourist attraction of Natal.
Forte dos Reis Magos
Directions: Praia do Forte. Phone: 3211-4959
The fortress was built in 1,598, using wood, stones, sand and whale oil; it was the first bulding in Natal. The designer, Gaspar de Samperes, adopted the conventional design for a maritime fortress: a five corners stars.
In 12th December 1,633, the fortress was taken over by the Dutch, who stayed until January of 1,654, when the Portuguese, helped by the indians, regained control over the place.
Centro de Turismo de Natal
Rua Aderbal de Figueiredo, 980 Petropolis Phone 3211-6149
The building dates back to late 19th century, and has a long history: it was an asylum for beggars, then an orphanage, then a prison.
Since 1976, it has been a tourist center, housing handcraft, restaurant and a folkloric show (the show is an atraction itself, read about Forro com Turista at the
Nightlife in Natal
page). Each shop occupies one of the cells of the former prison. Nice view of the city and Potengi river.
The largest aquarium in Northeast of Brazil. Exhibits sharks, pinguins and several other sea species.
»Catedral Nova Cidade
Av. Marechal Deodoro Centro Phone 3211-4342
The cathedral started to be built more than 30 years ago, but it isn't finished yet. It's the largest catholic worshiping place in Natal.
»Farol da Mãe Luíza
Via Costeira, close to Areia Preta beach.
The farol (lighthouse) is still used today to help orientation of ships in the Natal coast; built in 1,951, the tower is 37 m high and has 150 steps to reach the top.
»Centro de Lancamento de Foguetes Barreira do Inferno
Estrada de Pirangi (Rota do Sol), km 11 Phone 3216-1400
Notice: foreigners may be subject to restrictions; call before going.
The name is Portuguese for Rocket Launcher Barrier of Hell; barrier of hell is a reference to the very high red fallesians which abound in the beaches of the region.
Because of its position, almost right on the Equatorial line, Natal is a good place for aeroespatial centers.
The center is open to visitation, but these must be appointed in advance. Several photos and actual rocket pieces, explained by especialists.
»The biggest cashew tree in the world
Rua do Cajueiro, Pirangi
It's registered in the Guiness book as the tree which covers the largest area, 8,400 square meters; that's bigger than a normal football field.
Because of a genetic mutation, the branches of this tree grows sideways, instead of upwards; when a branch touches the ground, it doesn't create roots, but a new ramification starts to grow.
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visitors since April 5th 2005