Natal is a metropolitan area in Brazil
Inhabitants: 1,270,000 (World Rank 367)
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Natal (Portuguese for "Christmas", pronounced [naˈtaw]) is the capital city of Rio Grande do Norte, a north eastern state in Brazil. As of the IBGE 2006, the city had a total population of 789,896 ( 1,234,819 in its metropolitan area).
The implementation of the Coastal Highway, a 8 km (4.9 mi) long avenue along the shore, was the true starting point for the beginning of tourist activity in the State in the 1980s. That is where the main hotels and restaurants of the capital city, Natal, are concentrated. Improvements in tourist infrastructure and conservation of the natural heritage, beyond the city's afforestation are some of the actions given priority ever since by the state government. One of the highlights was the creation of the Dune State Park, which aims to preserve the chain of sand dunes that surround the city. And thus, Natal became the entry gate to the beautiful beaches of the State of Rio Grande do Norte. Many of them are still semi-wild, such as Pipa and Pirangi; and others are the liveliest, such as Genipabu and Tibau do Sul.
In accordance with the IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research of Brazil), the city is the safest capital of Brazil.
The Augusto Severo International Airport connects Natal with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights.
The city is home to the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.