Museums in Fortaleza

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The bountiful beaches, warm clear waters and searing heat can make it tempting to spend every daylight hour on the beach, but Fortaleza also boasts some interesting museums and cultural centers that are well worth a visit should the weather take a turn for the worse. With its many colonial buildings, many parts of Fortaleza seem like open-air museums in their own right, and the area's rich history makes visiting the city's museums well worthwhile even if it isn't a rainy day.

City Center Museums

Visitors curious about Fortaleza's history should head for the city center, where there are  some dramatic colonial buildings as well as several good museums; most of which are free to enter. Many of the buildings in the historic centre date back to the 17th Century, and the Centro de Turismo do Estado (state tourism center), by the waterfront, provides an excellent insight into the history and culture of the city. The center houses the Museum of Folk Art and Culture - with some wonderfully colorful artefacts, as well as information points for visitors looking for advice about things to see and do in the city. There are also lots ot little shops inside the center, with locally-produced arts and hanidcrafts for sale. At the Jose de Alancar theatre, on Praca Jose de Alancar, there is an art gallery with permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as a varied programme of events. The dramatic building is worth a visit in itself. The 18th Century Palacio do Luz, which overlooks Praca dos Leoes (Lions Square) is another beautiful building open to the public.

Enter the Dragon's Den

One of the most exciting additions to Fortaleza's cultural scenes in recent years is the Centro Dragao do Mar do Arte E Cultura (Dragon Center of Art and Culture). This lively spot features photography and art exhibitions as well as live music, dance and theatre performances, and inside are in fact not one but three separate museums - including a good audio visual center showing some fascinating short films. There is a small charge to enter during the week, but entrance is free on Sundays.

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