Viewed from above, Manaus is a wasteland of concrete lost in the immensity of the jungle, surrounded by meandering rivers, separate, and rejoin their way through the ancient trees that do not surrender to the advancing front man. View from below, not much different. The forest is felt to second off the plane: the clothing adheres instantly to the body, the hands begin to sweat and the heat stifling. But to acclimatize, say the locals. And indeed, 24 hours after one feels that he has always lived with 90 percent humidity in the air. Then you can walk a city in which live the European splendor of the late eighteenth century and the industries that came by the hundreds from all over the world, from which he declared the state capital of Amazonas “free zone taxes “during the 60s.
The contrast can be violent at first, but then gives this city that looks out timid in the midst of largest rainforest in the world a distinctive touch, a unique and incomparable wealth for tourists who want to relive the history, next and more distant, in every corner of Manaus.
Its history. The city of Manaus ( “mother of God”), founded in the seventeenth century as a Portuguese fort, began to take importance on the world map following the discovery of rubber material for tires for cars. Thus emerged, almost overnight, a moneyed class, which became known as the “rubber barons”. Thanks to the booming automotive, his fortune grew to the point that these privileged few began to dream of something like a branch of Europe in the middle of the South American jungle, with Paris as a role model. Palaces were built, the Municipal Market (replica of the late Les Halles de Paris), the floating dock and the Teatro Amazonas Opera, one of the most impressive architectural history, not only by the material, but also by the challenge meant to build it. The work took ten years and ended in 1862 after an investment of ten million dollars and the work of hundreds of builders and craftsmen. Among the materials imported from Europe, have wrought iron in Glasgow for its columns, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, marble and porcelain Italian, French and 66 thousand tiles that was built with its wonderful blue-green dome, among hundreds of other sumptuousness. Additionally, they worked on the ambitious work dozens of artists, commissioned to paint the decorations on the huge indoor rooms. By then, the major theater companies and world music traveled to appear here. Today is still active, and shows every Friday, less glamorous than before, attracting residents of Manaus.
The industrial center is developed in Manaus, Amazon state capital, and already has more than 400 industries (Nokia, Mercedes Benz, Sony, Honda, etc..) Originated in 1967 when the military government told tax-free zone. The reason was, as the locals say, populate the city to the rumors of a communist attack. The move went well, and soon people came from all parts of Brazil to settle in an area where the environment is friendlier and stress of the city does not feel, at least not with such intensity. Today direct employment sources exceed 100 thousand.
There were conditions, though: the industries should take special care of the environment, and they did. Among the most proactive in this regard is the Nokia factory, which produces 1 million handsets per year and employed 1,500 people. Here we adopted an environmental policy that is used as an example to instruct the rest, as they tightly control energy use (80 per cent of the lights were turned off at 18 hours and there are sensors to tell when it is not being used rationally), water consumption in the last two years there was a reduction of 30 percent by replacing traditional faucets with other sensors, recycled paper is used, is working on a new project to recycle batteries and has a policy environmental education for employees. The idea behind this is that they can then carry the habit into their homes and thus achieve a multiplier effect.
Where to stay:
A room in five star hotel, costs from $ 120. There is also the option of staying in a hotel in the middle of the jungle, which is accessible only by boat (from $ 330).
In the municipal market can get all kinds of crafts indigenous to the region, such as canal boats, canoes and small stuffed piranha. There is also the cult talismans and herbs.
What to eat?
Amazonian fish are the specialty at most restaurants: tambaqui, pacu piracurú and served baked, fried or in Milan. Caldeira de peixe is a mixture of fish, vegetables and legumes, dressed with spices.
Enjoy your trip to Manaus!