Population: 1.69 million
Coordinates (decimal): 3.12°S, 60.02°W
Time Zone: SA Western Standard Time
Manáos is a city in north-west Brazil (nevertheless, according to the country's official regional division, it is part of the North of Brazil) and capital of Amazonas State. Located on the Negro River near its confluence with the Amazon, it is the chief port and a hub for the region's extensive river system. Its population is estimated to be around 2,000,000.
Manaus began as a small fort, São José da Barra, created in 1669 by Portuguese settlers as a defense against Spanish incursions into Brazil by way of the Amazon River. On November 13, 1832, the settlement gained the status of Vila, and was named "Manaus", after the indigenous tribe, the "Manaós", who once inhabited the area. In the local language, the word means "Mother of God". On October 24, 1848, Manaus was awarded the status of city with the name Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro. In 1850, Amazonas became a province. On September 4, 1856, the city was renamed Cidade de Manaus.
From 1890 to 1920, Manaus was a rubber boomtown, in part because of the invention of the process of vulcanization. The plantation owners became extravagantly wealthy and the city prospered. Immigrants from northeastern Brazil, fleeing drought and poverty, flooded the city, seeking riches in the rubber trade. By 1920, synthetic rubber and the growth of plantations in Southeast Asia caused a drastic plunge in the price of rubber, and Manaus declined into poverty.
Today Manaus is the financial center for the North of Brazil.
Although the main industry of Manaus through much of the 20th century was rubber, its importance has declined. Given its location, timber and Brazil-nuts make up important trades, as do petroleum refining, soap manufacturing, and chemical industries. Over the last decades, a system of federal investments and tax incentives have turned the surrounding region into a major industrial center (the Zona Franca of Manaus).
The mobile phone companies Nokia, Sagem, Gradiente and BenQ-Siemens run mobile phone manufacturing plants in Manaus. Also, many other major electronics manufacturers such as Sony and LG have plants there.
Manaus is a cosmopolitan city, and, because of its location next to the Amazon rain forest, it attracts a substantial number of Brazilian and foreign tourists, who can find plenty of boat and land trips into the surrounding jungle. A great diversity of wildlife can be found even in the surroundings of Manaus. It is also home to one of the most endangered primates in Brazil, the Pied tamarin.
The Teatro Amazonas, an opera house built in 1896, is a notable landmark of Manaus, reflecting the massive wealth of the turn of the century rubber boom. The theatre was prominently featured in Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. The exuberant interior of this 1896 opera house, completed after 15 years, contains crystal chandeliers, wrought-iron banisters, and Italian frescoes, as well as a museum.
"The meeting of the waters," the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers which extends for about 9 km, is a very sought-after trip that lasts an average of 6 hours and gives visitors the opportunity to experience firsthand the final episode of formation of the Amazon river.
About 18 km from downtown is Ponta Negra beach, a neighbourhood that has a beachfront and popular nightlife area. A luxurious hotel is located at the west end of Ponta Negra; its small but very interesting zoo and orchid greenhouse as well as preserved woods and beach are open to public visitation.
The CIGS Zoo (military zoo for rescued animals), which doubles as an army training center, also is located in the neighbourhood and houses a few hundred endemic and native amazonian species of mammals, reptiles, and birds.
The Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, founded in 1882, is the city's oldest marketplace, trading in fruit, vegetables, and especially fish. It's a copy of the Les Halles market of Paris. Other interesting historical sites include the customs building, of mixed styles and medieval inspiration; the Rio Negro Palace cultural center; and the Justice Palace, right next to the Amazonas Opera House.
Manaus has also many large parks with native forest preservation areas, such as the Bosque da Ciência and Parque do Mindú. The largest urban forest in the world is located within Federal University of Amazonas, which was founded in January 17, 1909 and is the oldest federal university of Brazil.
The city has a busy cultural calendar throughout the year, including the Opera, Theater, Jazz and Cinema festivals, as well as Boi Manaus (usually held around Manaus' anniversary on the 24th of October), which is a great celebration of Northern Brazilian culture through Boi-Bumbá music.
Some facts about Manaus:
Manaus timezone is (UTC â€“ 4). However, being close to the equator, Manaus does not observe daylight saving time.
Roughly two thirds (60%) of the population of the Brazilian state of Amazonas (estimated population, 2.8 million) live in Manaus or in the greater metropolitan area.
It is warm all year round, with a wet season in the winter months. Temperatures are generally around 30Â° â€“ 36Â°C (86Â° â€“ 97Â°F).
Manaus hosts the world's largest samba festival every October, with over 18 bands and more than 100,000 guests.
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