all photos by Alberto Sabino
Belém is a city on the banks of the Amazon estuary, in the northern part of Brazil. It is the capital of the state of Pará. It is the entrance gate to the Amazon with a busy port, airport and bus/coach station. Belém lies approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, on the Pará River, which is part of the greater Amazon River system, separated from the larger part of the Amazon delta by Ilha de Marajó.
Founded in 1616 by the Portuguese, Belém was the first European colony on the Amazon but did not become part of Brazil until 1775. The newer part of the city has modern buildings and skyscrapers. The colonial portion retains the charm of tree-filled squares, churches and traditional blue tiles. The city has a rich history and architecture from colonial times. Recently it witnessed a skyscraper boom. Its metropolitan area has over 2 million inhabitants.