Fortaleza is a metropolitan area in Brazil
Inhabitants: 3,575,000 (World Rank 101)
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Fortaleza (Portuguese for fortress, pronounced [foxtaˈlezɐ]) is the state capital of Ceará, located in northeastern Brazil. With a population of over 3.4 million (metropolitan region), Fortaleza has an area of 313 km² (120.9 sq mi). To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the cities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the county of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the city of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses. The current mayor is Luizianne Lins. On Beira-mar Avenue, kiosks and restaurants offer cold drinks and regional seafood. At the handcraft fair, many stands show embroidery and leather work, as well as jewelry and regional food. Of the urban beaches in Fortaleza, Futuro is the most frequented and is characterized by restaurants along the beach, each one with its own musical style and decoration.
The statue of Iracema refers to the legend of the Indian which was depicted in a novel by José de Alencar. Mucuripe Beach holds the Lighthouse Museum. Opened in 1846, the lighthouse was active for 111 years, until it was closed in 1957. Dragão do Mar Art and Culture Center holds the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Contemporary Art Museum and Rubens de Azevedo Planetary, as well as movies and theaters. Besides this, many old warehouses were refurbished and became bars and restaurants surrounding the central area of town. There are cuisine and show options in the evening.
Nightlife includes bars, discos and restaurants, opened every day in the week, besides the characteristic comedy shows that have revealed nationally famous artists. An off-season carnival, Fortal, happens in Fortaleza, in July. With a remodeled structure in 2008, the event has parking lots, bleachers, boxes and food court. The event lasts 4 days and around 1.5 million people enjoy the nationally famous axé music bands. Fortaleza also stages music festivals in Brazil, such as Ceará Music. This yearly event includes local artists and international pop rock stars for 3 days. Around 25 thousand people enjoy the fun and several concerts, electronic music tents, and fashion shows.
The Pinto Martins International Airport connects Fortaleza with the major Brazilian cities and also operates international flights.
The city is home to the Federal University of Ceará.