Fortaleza is the fifth largest city of Brazil with 2 million residents, and the capital of the state Ceará. It is a major fishing port and commercial center in the North of Brazil. In 1612 the first colonizers settled down in this area. Since this time this area is heavily contested. In 1635 the area was taken over by the Dutch, followed by the Tabajara Indians, and again proclaimed by the Dutch in 1639. The Dutch build a fortress. In 1654 this fortress was captured by the Portuguese. A town emerged around the fortress, and got the name of Fortaleza de NS da Assunção (Fortress of our Lady of Assumption). Still it took a long time to colonize this area because of the heavy battles who were fought with the native Indians.
Nowadays Fortaleza is a lively Metropolis with a small historic section. A city with marvelous beaches, lots of hotels, restaurants and bars. You can also find a large regional handcraft area, here you can find clothing, hammocks, carvings, saddles, bridles, harnesses and images of saints, etc. Fortaleza has 25 kilometers of beaches, some popular ones are Praia de Iracema, Cumbuco, Iparana and Praia do Futuro.
Other attractions are Parque Ecológico, the main recreational park, and the fortress mentioned above; Fortaleza Nossa Senhora da Assunção, from which the city got her name.