Praia dos Artistas, Aruana, Praia do Refúgio, Atalaia and Atalaia Nova to enjoy the sand and the sun. “Nordestinidade”, palm trees, good fish, healthy life and lots of dancing. All year long, popular parties of old tradition: Reisado, Caboclinho, Cacumbi, Taieira, Sarandaia, Lambe Sujo, Samba de Coco, Pisa Pólvora, Pré-Caju, Forró do Caju, São Pedro, Santo Antônio and São João… Aracaju is never ending sun and partying.
From a quiet fishing village which the sugar trade transformed into the state capital, Aracaju is a modern city today; but it holds something special. Less crowded than other beach capitals, it has retained its northeastern city originality, of a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Low buildings facilitate the flow of the sea breeze, which eases the heat, and the choice of the bicycle as a means of transportation contributes to good air quality.
The history of Aracaju is related to São Cristóvão, the former capital of Sergipe. A distance of over 20 km between São Cristóvão and the sea hindered the sugar trade, and in order not to lose touch with the export activity, the capital was moved to the small fishing village on the banks of the Sergipe River, near where it empties into the sea. Then there was Aracaju, a planned city that in 1900 already had horse-drawn street cars and a movie theater. And the architectural heritage left in São Cristóvão was compensated by constructions such as the Igreja de Santo Antônio, on top of one of the few elevations, and the beautiful Ponte Aracaju-Barra dos Coqueiros, on the Rio Sergipe, which make up the cheerful countenance of the Sergipana capital.
Until 1855, São Cristóvão was the capital of Sergipe. Its hustle and bustle was typical of the headquarters and its architecture corresponded to this. After the capital was moved to Aracaju, São Cristóvão acquired a distinguished air of tranquility. The excitement was gone, but the beautiful buildings were still there. True jewels of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were kept in perfect condition and make today the Historic Center of São Cristóvão.
Although founded in 1590, the city kept a little something of that time, as the Dutch, banished in the seventeenth century by Portuguese and Spanish settlers, set fire to almost everything before leaving the place. But new buildings were erected and the Praça de São Francisco, part of this magnificent ensemble, was declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
The square aggregates the Museu Histórico de Sergipe, the Convento de Santa Cruz, which houses the Museu de Arte Sacra and the Igreja de São Francisco, the Lar Imaculada Conceição, at the building of the old Igreja e Santa Casa de Misericórdia, and the old house that complements it.
There’s a lot more to be seen, but under no circumstances lose the opportunity to indulge yourself (and fill you bag!) with the briceletes, fine cookies made by the Clarissa Sisters, of Lar Imaculada Conceição.