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João Pessoa ( ), formerly Parahyba do Norte in 1917 and sometimes called the city where the sun rises first, is a Brazilianmarker city and the easternmost city in the Americas at 34º47'38"W, 7º9'28"S. Local residents call its easternmost point Ponta das Seixas. It is also considered "the second greenest city in the world". The city has more than of forested land, second only to Parismarker, Francemarker. It gained this distinction in 1992, after a survey of urban centres in various countries carried out by the United Nations (source: Embassy of Brazil in the UK). The city is characterized by the juxtaposition of tropical beaches, modern architecture and historic buildings from colonial periods.

João Pessoa is the capital of Paraíbamarker, a state in the northeast region of Brazilmarker and home to some of the most noted Brazilian poets and writers such as Augusto dos Anjos (1884-1908), José Américo de Almeida (1887-1980), José Lins do Rego (1901-1957) and Pedro Américo (1843-1905) (mostly known for his historical paintings). It took its current name in 1930, in homage to state president (governor) João Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, who was assassinated on 26 July of that year. It is the state's largest city, with a population of circa 702,000 (about one sixth of the state's population - 2009 IBGE estimate). Its metropolitan area comprises eight other satellite cities (Bayeuxmarker, Cabedelo, Conde, Lucenamarker, and Santa Rita) and about 384,000 people, totalling more than one million inhabitants.

It is the capital with the shortest distance from another capital (Recifemarker, PE) which is approximately away, as well as Natal, RN, north of João Pessoa. Due to the high growth rate of these three capital cities, it is believed that for the next few decades an informal megalopolis will be set up, especially between Recife and João Pessoa.

The city is one of the oldest in the northeast of the country. Theatres, auditoriums and convention centres are part of the available infrastructure in the city; ready to host the most varied types of events and business meetings.

The new Presidente Castro Pinto International Airportmarker connects João Pessoa with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights.

The new ESTAÇÃO CIÊNCIA, CULTURA e ARTES (Science, Culture and Art Station) located at the most eastern point of the Americas (Ponta das Seixas) is both an educational and cultural institution as well as a national landmark. The complex, inaugurated in 2008, was created by world renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and is one of his latest projects.



João Pessoa has a tropical climate, with warm to hot temperatures and high relative humidity throughout the year. However, these conditions are relieved by a near absence of extreme temperatures and trade winds blowing from the ocean. Rainfall is heavy at around per year, though there is a fairly dry period from about October to January. The wettest months are from April to July when moist southeasterly winds are strongest and are uplifted by the escarpment.


João Pessoa has approximately of beaches (both residential and virgin) as well as many small, natural islands. The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism (BMT) notes that "on the outskirts of the capital are the most popular beaches in the State, such as Tambaú and Manaíra. Nearby, it is possible to find one of the few Brazilian nudist beaches (naturism) that is officially recognized, Tambabamarker." In addition, BMT emphasizes that it is "full of parks and avenues which abound with fruit and ornamental trees; João Pessoa has many forest reserves, where one can find the coconut tree and many other species of tree which constitute the coastal woodland landscape that attracts thousands of tourists every year."

José Américo (Beira Rio).
João Pessoa has many green areas distributed among its avenues, parks, and residential neighborhoods, which support its claim as "the second greenest city in the world" with more than of forested land, second only to Paris. It was considered thus in 1992, after a survey of urban centres in various countries carried out by the United Nations (source: Embassy of Brazil in the UK). notes that "João Pessoa is full of preserved natural forests, squares and gardens, which is why it is considered one of the cities with the highest index of green area per inhabitant in the world. Another beauty of the city is the Ponta das Seixas, the easternmost point of the Americas, which can be seen from the majestic Farol do Cabo Branco (Cabo Branco Lighthouse)" and "natural pools of Picãozinho on the island Areia Vermelha."


João Pessoa has a tropical forest.


Historic Center: Cultural e Artistic Heritage of Brazil.
João Pessoa is one of the oldest cities in Brazilmarker and has had a stormy history. The first Europeans who entered the area were Frenchmarker traders in Brazilwood. Following a war with the French and their indigenous allies, the Tabajara, the city was founded by Portuguesemarker settlers from Pernambuco on August 5, 1585. They named it Nossa Senhora das Neves after the Saint of that day. Initially the city was under Spanish influence, as Spain and Portugal were united in the Iberian Union (1580-1640), and in 1588 the city was even renamed Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves after Philip II of Spain.

The area soon proved perfect for sugar production, with the Frenchmarker, the Dutchmarker and the Portuguese all fighting to control the Paraíba region as a place to grow the lucrative sugarcane. The fortress of Santa Catarina, near João Pessoa, was built by the Portuguese to protect the city from the invading Dutch, who soon became the greatest threat to Portuguese supremacy in Portugal's Colonial Brazilmarker. From 1634 through 1654, the city was held by the Dutchmarker, who renamed it Frederikstadt, after their stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. They rechristened Fort Santa Catarina into Fort Margaretha after the mother of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, Governor of Dutch Brazil (or New Holland). The names Nossa Senhora das Neves and Santa Catarina were restored after the Portuguese reoccupation.

In 1817, the city was once more renamed to Parahyba do Norte. Because of a visit of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, in 1859, the city acquired the title of "Imperial City".

On July 26, 1930, during the Brazilian Revolution of 1930, the governor of Paraíba, João Pessoa, was assassinated/executed in Recife by his political adversary, João Duarte Dantas. On September 4 of that year, Parahyba's citizens voted to rename their city in his honor.


According to the IBGE of 2009, there were 702,000 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 35.72% White, 34.72% Pardo ("brown" or mestizo/mameluco), 2.77% Black, 0.25% Asian or Amerindian.


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 74.06% 442,841
Protestant 15.92% 95,191
No religion 7.41% 44,332
Spiritist 1.10% 6,571
Source: IBGE 2000.

Education and Culture

The official language is Portuguese, and the dialectal differences are mainly phonological. Portuguese is the primary language taught in schools. English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.

Higher Education

Paraíba State University (UEPB).

The city is home to the Federal University of Paraíba and several other universities and faculties. Below are some of the higher education institutions at João Pessoa:

Cultural Centers

Estação Cabo Branco by Oscar Niemeyer.
Espaco CulturalEspaco Cultural is one of the largest arts centers in the northeast of Brazil. It features modern architecture and is a major cultural venue for the state. Its architectonic complex includes a live concert plaza, convention facilities, movie theater, play theater, art gallery, planetarium, craft stores, and more.

Estacao Ciencia, Cultura e Artes(Science, Culture and Art Station) [in progress]A project entitled ESTAÇÃO CIÊNCIA, CULTURA e ARTES (Science, Culture and Art Station) by world renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was recently inaugurated at Ponta das Seixas. The center provides a wide range of cultural and educational activities for locals and turists.


International Airport

Located in the municipality of Bayeux, eight kilometers from downtown João Pessoa, Presidente Castro Pinto International Airportmarker is currently undergoing expansion and remodeling, which will raise the terminal's annual capacity to 860,000 passengers. The airport is well located in relation to obstacles because it covers an area roughly 65 meters above sea level and is sufficiently distant from urban areas or large real estate developments.

The surrounding area is sparsely populated, with large open spaces. The existing developments are industrial with some small weekend country houses. There is no rough terrain or tall buildings nearby creating obstacles for takeoffs and landings. The airport also has excellent climatic conditions for air operations. Moreover, within its approach radius there are no obstacles that can hinder or create risk for local air traffic. Named for a past president (former name for governors) of Paraíbamarker, Castro Pinto, the airport operates round the clock. The current passenger terminal, built in an area of 8,947.72 square meters, has two levels, gardens and ample vehicle parking.

Urban transportation

Bus changing lane at Rui Carneiro Ave., Joao Pessoa.

In the city, public transportation is primarily based on a private bus system, taxis and railways. The city has approximately 500 buses. A single passenger ticket can be used to travel around town and to make connections. There is a major terminal (Terminal de Integração do Varadouro) where passengers can change buses. An electronic ticketing system is being implemented to offer better efficiency to passengers. Currently the bus fare is R$ 1,80, or approximately $ 0,80 USD, (as of 2009).Extended time or trips in taxis can often be negotiated directly with the driver. For example, a taxi from Campina Grande to João Pessoa, about two hours away, can be taken for about R$ 40, or $ 16 USD, depending on the exchange rate.


The railway system provides inter-city commuting for people from cities in the metropolitan area only in parts of the western and northern area of the capital.



The GDP for the city was R$ 5,024,604,000 (2005).

The per capita income for the city was R$ 7,604 (2005).

Tourism, Culture and Recreation

40 km (25 mi) of beaches.
Cabedelo Beach.
Solon de Lucena Park's lagoon at night.
Jacare Beach is popular every day.
Sunset at Jacare Beach.
João Pessoa's evening skyline.
Tourists at Picãozinho reef.
Redenção Palace hisotric and political landmark.
Historic Center: Saint Francis Church and Saint Anthony Convent.

João Pessoa is located in the easternmost point of the Americas and is the second greenest city in the world, coupled with 40 km of tropical beaches. Tourism is one of João Pessoa's chief economic activities, together with construction, food, metalworking, and other industries. Sugar cane agriculture and related industries are also important. Historically, Tarcisio de Miranda Burity, a former governor, has made major strides to improve the infrastructure of the city and to support the arts. Today, João Pessoa has a growing tourist and commercial industry. The second-largest mall in the Northeast region of Brazil, Shopping Manaira, is located in Joao Pessoa.

João Pessoa has one publication which highlights its tourist attractions: The Guia Mais Joao Pessoa . Major local newspapers, such as O Correio da Paraiba and O Norte, highlight a wide range of events on a weekly basis. Below are a few of the major attractions.

Historical sites

Barroco ParkIt is formed by the colonial mansions scattered around the upper and lower regions of the city.

Theatro Santa RozaA building from 1889, this theatre was decorated in baroque style. It is one of the oldest theatres in the country. It is located at Pedro Américo Square.

Redenção PalaceErected in 1586, Redenção Palace used to be the home of the old Jesuits convent. Today the building is the State Government headquarters.

Santa Catarina FortressThe fortress built in 1586 comprises the captain's house, a chapel and cannons from the XVI century.

Saint Francis Church and Saint Anthony ConventTotally embellished in baroque style, the church and the convent were built in 1589 and 1779, respectively. The highlights are the chapels of the Third Order of Saint Francis and Saint Benedict, featuring Portuguese ceramic panels and sacristy. The spaces also feature, regularly, popular art exhibitions.

São Frei Pedro Gonçalves ChurchErected in 1843, the church was restored in 2002 and features the foundations from the old XVII century building. In front of it there are many restored colonial mansions.


Solon de Lucena ParkLocated at the commercial centre of the paraibana capital, Solon de Lucena Park, also known as "Lagoa", is filled with centenary imperial palm trees, golden trumpet trees and acacias – the tree symbol of the city. At the centre there is a luminous fountain.

Arruda Câmara ParkAlso known as "Bica", because of an old mineral water fountain, it features a zoo, botanic garden and leisure areas.


Cabo Branco LighthouseIt is located at the easternmost inland point in the Country and allows panoramic views of the city; from there all the Ponta das Seixas beach can be seen.


Museum of Cultural Center of Saint FrancisPermanent exhibition of Religious and Baroque Art. Also, the center offers contemporary art and craft exhibitions. Located in the site of Saint Francis Church.

José Lins do Rego MuseumLocated at Espaço Cultural, the museum has a library of over 4000 volumes, photos, letters, honors, manuscripts, and personal objects of Rego, a major paraibano writer.

Casa do Artista PopularThe museum has over 1000 works of crafts representing a wide range of styles developed in the state of Paraiba. The museum also has library and gift shops.

Espaço EnergiaThis museum takes visitors through the history of electricity. The museum shows the types of energy used in the nineteenth century and ends its display with a contemporary home, fully equipped with electrical appliances and such. Housed at Usina Cultural da Saelpa.

Ocean Museum of CabedeloA collection that highlights the remaining of ships that sank in the area.

Augusto dos Anjos MemorialLocated in Sapé, about from João Pessoa, the memorial allows visitors to immerse in the house where this noted paraibano writer lived his childhood and part of his adulthood.

Epitácio Pessoa Museum(Museu e Cripta de Epitácio Pessoa). The museum houses objects from former Brazilian president Epitácio Pessoa.

Historic Archive of the State of Paraíba(Arquivo Historico do Estado da Paraiba). Preserves the historic heritage of the state.

José Américo de Almeida Museum(Museu José Américo de Almeida). The house where lived this noted political figure and write Minister José Américo de Almeida.


  • Santa Rosa Theatre
  • Paulo Pontes Theatre in Espaço Cultural
  • Theatre of Arena in Espaço Cultural
  • Lima Penante Theatre
  • Ednaldo do Egypto Theatre
  • Ariano Suassuna Theatre
  • Sala de Cultura in Shopping Sul

Movie Theaters

  • Box Cinemas in Manaíra Shopping
  • Multiplex Mag 5 in Mag Shopping
  • Mutiplex Tambiá 6 in Tambiá Shopping
  • Cine Bangüe in Espaço Cultural

Major Art Galleries

  • Galeria Gamela
  • Nucleo de Arte Contemporanea (NAC)
  • Galeria Usina Cultural Saelpa
  • Centro Cultural Sao Francisco
  • Galeria Archidy Picado - Espaço Cultural
  • Louro e Canela Arte Contemporanea
  • Casarao 34
  • Galeria de Arte - Zarinha Centro de Cultura

Artists' Studios open for visitation

  • Atelie Miguel dos Santos
  • Atelie Clovis Junior
  • Atelie Flavio Tavares
  • Casa Experimental de Arte (Sidney Azevedo, Alena Sa, and Dyogenes Chaves)

Events and Entertainment

Muriçocas do Miramar mascot - carnaval.

Muriçocas do Miramar(Feb) Main street carnival held in the Wednesday prior to official carnival days.

Vem Viver a Paraíba(Jan - Feb) "Come and Experience Paraiba" is a tourism fair and folklore performance event.

Centro em Cena(Jan) Art and culture event.

Folia de rua - Prévia Carnavalesca(Feb) Street carnival a few days prior to official carnival days.

Carnaval da Melhor Idade(Feb) Carnival for senior citizens.

Auto de Deus(Apr) Passion Play of the crucifixion of Christ.

São João Pessoa - São João fora de época(to be announced) One of João Pessoa’s major regional music events.

Feira Brasil mostra Brasil(Jul) Trade Fair featuring Brazilian products.

Festa das Neves(Aug) Religious Celebration of the Patroness of the City: Santa Maria Maggiore.

FENART João Pessoa(Nov) Major fine-arts exhibition in the area.

Vaquejada do Cowboy(Nov) Rodeo-inspired event.

Festa do Atum(Dec) Popular festival dedicated to the tuna.

Reveillon(Dec 31) New-Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks at the beach.


João Pessoa provides visitors and residents with various sport activities.



Football Clubs
  • Centro Sportivo Paraibano;
  • Auto Esporte Clube;
  • Botafogo.

Sister cities

João Pessoa's sister cities are:


Image:JoaoPessoaManaira.JPG|Manaira and Bessa.Image:Tambaú (Vista Parcial).JPG|Tambaú Neighborhood.Image:João-Pessoa-Bairro-Tambaú.jpg|Tambaú District.Image:JoaoPessoaManairaNightView.JPG|João Pessoa at night.Image:João-Pessoa-Praia-Manaíra-Bessa.jpg|Urban beaches.Image:Jp-praia.JPG|Tambau Beach.Image:João-Pessoa-Tambaú-Bessa.jpg|Urban beaches as seen from a hotel.Image:Joao Pessoa Paraiba Manaira District view.jpg|View from Manaíra district.


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