Manaus is a metropolitan area in Brazil
Inhabitants: 1,790,000 (World Rank 243)
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Situated on the banks of the Rio Negro (meaning Black River, because of the dark color of the water), Manaus is an important centre for ecological tourism. One of its most popular attractions is the Ponta Negra beach, 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the centre of the city, where, when the river is low, the sands are exposed right down to the river bed, forming a beautiful contrast with the dark waters of the river itself.
There is also the forested area of the National Research Institute of Amazônia (INPA), a complex made up of the Botanical Gardens, rich in plant species from the Amazon region, and the Zoological Gardens, which contain various animal species of the region, including some facing extinction.
The old rubber barons dreamed of transforming it into a European style city and called it "The Paris of the Tropics". With the end of the rubber boom, Manaus went into decline and only entered a period of renewed development in the 1950s. A turning point was reached in 1967, when the Manaus Free Zone was established by the federal government.
From that date on, the capital of Amazonas has passed through great changes, becoming an important industrial centre for the manufacture of electrical and electronic goods (nowadays, Manaus is the supplier for the entire country of, e.g., DVD players and computer monitors).