Alcântara seen by Jean-Paul Delfino
Forget everything you thought you knew about Brazil. Set aside all standard images you have gathered haphazardly: those tentacular megacities, those overcrowded touristic beaches and the constant turmoil and agitation. As you discover Alcantara, the pearl of the state of Maranhão, you will go deep into the most intimate side of Brazil, a Brazil who will whisper its history in your ear, a Brazil of human size.
Founded at the beginning of the 17th century, Alcantara was first dominated by the French, And later by the Portuguese. Just like Sao Luis, the city has enjoyed different periods of wealth due to abundant agricultural resources yielded by the fazendas. And so, between delicately decorated miniature palaces and heavily adorned baroque monuments, Alcantara has hoarded up real pearls.
From the Pelourinho church to that of Nossa Senhora das Merces and from Nossa Senhora del Carmo to Sao Matias, Alcantara has kept inside each of its cells the original throbbing pulsation of Brazil. A romantic and dreamlike city, stretching out languorously from its farthest past towards its futuristic present. Thus, in the Ilha do Cajual, an archaeological site rife with particularly well preserved fossils, you will realize that, a very long time ago, South America and Africa together once formed a single continent and that, not very far from there, stands an ultramodern spatial center (the CLA), unique contender with the Kourou spatial center (French Guyana). And this will remind you that ever since it was founded, Brazil has eternally remained a country looking towards the future.
Among other tropical pleasures, the fortnight-long Festa do divino, which attracts tens of thousands of people, remains the highlight of the year. A time when popular jubilation, punctuated by catholic fervor, sends a thrill throughout the city. During that fortnight, le Doce de especie, a titbit mainly made of coconut brought over by the Azoreans, will add a note of sweetness sufficient to make your taste buds begin to dance, and you will sense while strolling along the streets of Alcantara a unique and everlasting experience…
Written by: © Jean-Paul Delfino (This text is subject to copyrights protection in accordance with existing laws)
Our description of São Luis and Alcântara is on this web page : https://terra-nordeste.com/en/destination/sao-luis-alcantara-en/
Other texts by Jean-Paul Delfino are available here: Travel Diaries - Jean-Paul Delfino
Jean-Paul Delfino is a French writer and screenwriter so passionate about Brazil that he has taken on the writing of a major novel fresco entitled "Suite brésilienne" which covers three centuries of great Brazilian history.
Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Delfino