Official language: Portuguese
Time zone: UTC -3
Currency: Brazilian real (BRL)
The town is referred to as the island of love and Brazilian Athens, as many poets and writers were born there (among others Aluísio de Azevedo, Gonçalves Dias and Graça Aranha).
Characteristic for the city is afro-Brazilian dance tambor de crioula, that is danced by women dressed in colourful clothes to the sound of drums.
Bumba-meu-boi is a very popular folk party. On streets are displayed shows, that are mix of pantomime, dance, singing and circus.
São Luís is the capital and the biggest city of the Brazilian state Maranhão. It is located on the island Ilha de São Luís in the Saint Mark’s Bay. Tourists are attracted mostly by perfectly preserved colonial architecture, highly interesting culture and regional cuisine rich in original ingredients.
Originally on the areas of today’s city used to live members of a tribe Tupinambá. In 1612 French took over the region and made it the capital of a new colony named Equinoctial France. They build a fort Saint Luis de Maragnan, that already in 1612 was conquered by Portuguese. In 1641 terrains got under the reign of Dutch, but after a few year Portugal regained its power over them. Two important sea ports has developed in the city. São Luís can boast of the biggest and the best preserved heritage of Portuguese colonial architecture. The characteristic of the city are ceramic tiles, in which most of the buildings in the centre are covered (similarly like in Lisbon). Due to that São Luís is known as the city of tiles. In 1997 the historical centre was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Start sightseeing from a walk alongside the beautiful street Dom Pedro II. You will find there, among others, the Palace of Lions (Palácio dos Leões), that today serves as the premises of state government. It is also worth to pay attention to Tribunal de Justiça, Palácio La Ravardiere and Forte de São Luís, form where there is a lovely view for the Saint Mark’s Bay. Lovers of art will find in the city several museums, for instance, Museu de Artes Visuais (the museum of visual arts) or Museu Historico e Artistico do Maranhao (the history and art museum). If you want to rest, we recommend beaches
Praia do Calhau and Praia do Aracagi, as well as the aquapark Valparaíso.
Regional cuisine is oozing with its originality. Make sure to try traditional stew from seafood (caldeirada maranhense) or rice with shrimps, sesame and onion (arroz de cuxá). Don’t forget to buy a tin of Guarana Jesus, which is a very sweet pink drink of taste of chewing gum. Traditional dishes can be tried in bars and restaurants spread around the whole city. We recommend especially eateries: Senac and Armazém do Chef.