Colonial Fortifications in Pernambuco, Brazil

Fabio Jardelino | Live the World

November 23, 2022

When you think about Brazil, its beaches, good drinks, carnival, and friendly people always come to mind first. However, my country is way more than this; it is full of exciting stories of battles, conquers, and resistance. To be more precise, it was during the first centuries in the colonization period, that Pernambuco became the most profitable Captaincy in Brazil, which made it a target area for foreign invasions and pirate attacks. During a short period, Portuguese and Dutch struggled to maintain the domain over the Region. At these first centuries of colonization, a total of 53 Fortifications were built, but just eight remain in functional conservation and are open to visitors. I selected the top five, and I hope you enjoy, as much I do, this time-travel through Brazilian history!!!

Picture © Credits to Fábio Jardelino

The most significant, most important, and older Fort can be found just next to the Port of Recife, an undoubtedly strategic position. It was equipped with seven metal cannons, plus two bombards, as you can still see while there. Constructed in 1630 by the Portuguese landlords, the “Forte de São João Batista do Brum,” or "Forte do Brum," as is called, nowadays holds a military museum, with the history of the conflicts and the origins of the Brazilian army. As it's located into the old town, after visiting the Fort you should go for a walk around the historical center. 

Picture © Credits to Fábio Jardelino

Built by the Dutch people in 1630 after the invasion of Pernambuco, the fortification was first called "Fort Frederik Hendrik," but became known as "Forte de São Tiago das Cinco Pontas" because of its "five points" architecture. As it is located in the center of the city, it is an obligatory stop for all the tourists who want to enjoy a historical trip around town. Currently, it hosts the Recife museum and the theater "Teatro do Forte." 

Picture © Credits to Ministério da Cultura do Brasil

Located at the island of Itamaracá, it was the fortress protecting the village of Igarassu, in the North Coast of Pernambuco. This fortification was built by the Dutch conquerors in 1631 and rebuilt by the Portuguese after the expulsion of the invaders. At that time, it was called Fortress of Santa Cruz. It's located in front of the beach, which offers the visitor a pleasant experience not only because of its historical importance but also because of its beautiful view. Next, to the main Fort entrance, you can find nice bars and even boats to rent and visit beaches nearby.

Picture © Credits to Fábio Jardelino

Located in the city of Paulista, 40 minutes from Recife by car, the "Forte de Pau Amarelo" was built throughout the 18th century. During the following century, it was requalified and today is open to visitation. It is also known as "Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres de Pau Amarelo," because of its chapel. It is an excellent destination if you are visiting the North Coast

Picture © Credits to Rodrigo Soldon

Built at the end of the 17th century, the "Forte de Santo Inácio de Tamandaré," or just "Forte de Tamandaré," was erected to act as a defense against the Dutch attacks, as the local Port was a rather busy place in the Captaincy of Pernambuco. Since 1978, the Tamandaré Fort has been under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian Navy. Currently is open to visitation and it is one of the best destinations in South litoral, considering the proximity to Tamandaré Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Pernambuco.

Enjoy your visit through this historical travel! 

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