Madness, bras and the best tribute to José de Alencar

José de Alencar statue in Fortaleza

I’ve already written about the tragic story of Iracema, so yesterday, while I was vagabonding around Fortaleza city center, finding a tribute to the very much cherished writer José de Alencar was a true moment of joy. I would have liked it to be a cozy one, between me and the writer, but being in the middle of Praça José de Alencar the atmosphere was all but cozy.

God-inspired singers chanting how much Jesus loves us all, clochards dozing on the grass, ubiquitous political banner-flags fluttering and obstructing the view, music coming out from every single street vendor, even (and especially!) those selling bras, all conspired to make my first visit to Praça José de Alencar a bedlam.

Trying to find my way, or any way for that matter, in this burst of vitality and noise that can only belong to Brazilian and Chinese enthusiasm for life, I snapped a quick photo of Teatro José de Alencar (you guessed it, the whole place is Alencar-themed) and, still stoned by all those off-key notes, stumbled on the great tribute the city of Fortaleza devoted to its great writer in the occasion of the first centenary of his birth in March 1st 1829.

A view of Praça Alencar in Fortaleza

Amazingly, even though I’m not Brazilian (yet) nor Cearense (yet), I felt a sense of gratitude to whoever had the idea of this statue.

In Fortaleza, José de Alencar could not be better represented than in the company of his beloved heroine Iracema, the young indigenous girl who sadly fell in love with an unreliable Portuguese warrior, cause of all her troubles.

Around the city, Iracema is depicted as a warrior and a guardian, but here she’s beautifully represented as a mother, with her son in her arms, and under her favorite palm tree where she was buried. Alencar seems to carefully look after the characters he’s created, aware of their destiny and somehow willing to protect them.

Even just for this statue (and Brazilian enthusiasm, that is), I would recommend a visit, and would go back myself, to this square surrounded by madness, bras and coconut vendors.

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8 Comments
  1. Wow! I am a local from Fortaleza! I have just found your blog completely by accident, while “vagabonding” around the internet!

    I have read all your posts about Fortaleza! Really a very nice work!!

    I’m so happy that you are showing so many aspects of our city, that despite being a big and beautiful city, is so much unknown of the outside world!

    There is so much to see in Fortaleza, and in the state of Ceara as a whole, that I hope you have enough time to see at least ten percent of all the interesting things that are around!

    Enjoy your stay!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, hugely appreciated. I’ll be in Fortaleza still for a couple of days, and while I’m completely aware I still need to see A LOT of both the city and the state, I’m trying to make the most out of this trip. However, I’m planning to come back more often and hopefully soon :)

      • If I can give you some advice, I would recommend to see the mangrove in the “Trilha do Cocó”, in the Cocó Park, at Sebastiao de Abreu avenue, next to the Iguatemi shopping mall. The best time to go there is between 4:00 PM and 5:15 PM, no later than that because it starts to become dark as it’s getting close to the sunset.

        Another place to see the mangrove is at the mouth of the Cocó river, in Sabiaguaba beach, that can be reached through the bridge at the end of Praia do Futuro. Sabiaguaba is a beautiful place. Best day to go there is at Saturdays.

        Luiza Tavora Square (also known as “Praça da CEART”) is also an interesting place. It’s located between Santos Dumont avenue and Costa Barros street, and between Carlos Vasconcelos street and Mosenhor Bruno street. Best time to go is between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, from Monday to Friday.

        And if you want to see a place in Fortaleza that almost 100% of tourists never dreamed about, you can check a place called Lago Jacarey, on Viena Weyne avenue, next to the Cidade dos Funcionarios neighborhood. Saturday at late afternoon is the best time, after 4:00 PM.

        By the way, since you took pictures of two of our Iracema statues, you should try to take pictures of the LARGEST Iracema statue in this city, the Iracema statue in the Lake of Messejana, on the Messejana neighborhood. Frei Cirilo avenue, close to Bady Miguel street.

        Just a “few advices”, hehehe…

        Don’t forget to come back! You’re welcome!

        • I’ve been to Parque de Coco and also to Ceart (umm, three times actually, and yes, I bought something each time!). Would absolutely love to go to both Sabiaguaba and Lago Jacarey, I didn’t know of them. But unfortunately I can’t make it this time around, but they will be on my list next time I come, as well as Iracema statue in Messejana!
          Your advices are always welcome, no-one knows better than locals ;)

  2. Mamma mia che complimenti il cittadino di Fortaleza! E ha ragione quando dice di scoprire dal tuo blog alcuni aspetti della sua città! Succede cosi, si trascura il posto dove si vive pensando che c’è tempo per scoprirlo!

  3. Abosolument d’accord avec ” Fortalezan “, ce que tu décris de sa ville est très interessant mais ce n’est qu’une toute petite partie! Il faut compléter!!!

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