Located in the North-eastern region, the state of Pernambuco has played an important role in over the course of Brazil’s history.
The country’s oldest economic hub, as early as the 1500s it was the epicentre of the brasilwood trade, and was where the sugar cane industry first blossomed. The Captaincy of Pernambuco, as it was then known, was once the biggest sugar producer in the world. Being one of Brazil’s oldest states, it has had many a part to play in the country’s diverse history.
Its capital, Recife, has the largest urban population in the whole of the North/North-eastern region, and together with neighbouring Olinda – Brazil’s oldest UNESCO registered city – it makes and immense contribution to the region’s historic, artistic and architectural heritage, harking back to colonial times.
With varied landscapes, including table lands, mountainous regions, sertão and beaches with great reefs and natural swimming pools, Pernambuco is a highly popular nature tourism destination.
The most popular places are the stunning beaches of Porto de Galinhas, Carneiros, Cabo de Santo Agostinho and the archipelago Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO Heritage site. Amongst Noronha’s principal attractions are its lively dolphins, who can be seen from various points around the island.
In Recife and Olinda, separated by a bridge, one of the main attractions is the carnival, which attracts partygoers from all over the globe. The Galo da Madrugada, in Recife, is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest carnival block party in the world, and brings together over a million revellers annually.
Another popular city is Caruaru, also known as Princesinha do Agreste. It boasts the most famous open air market in Brazil, with its charmingly diverse handicraft, folk traditions and varied gastronomy.
Among Pernambuco’s most well-known cuisine is Carne-de-Sol, Escondidinho, Sururu, Caldeirada, Cozido, Caldinho de Peixe, Tapioca, Angu and Buchada.
Known for its rich and active popular culture, the state is the cradle of many a local tradition, such as frevo and maracatu, as well as great names in cordel literature and poetry.
With all its history, parties, colour and flavour, Pernambuco is one of Brazil’s most intriguing states, and home to one of the country’s most unique cultures.
Area (km2): 98,149.119
Population: 9,345,173 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: pernambucano-pernambucana
Dial code: 81 / 87
Bordering states: Bahia, Piauí, Alagoas, Ceará and Paraíba