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Belém

Belem
Administration
Full nameBelém
Official nameThe Municipality of Belém
Settlement typeMunicipality
MottoOs Estados do Norte estão conosco e nos seguem
(Northern states are for us and follow us)
CountryBrazil
RegionNorth
StatePará
FoundedJanuary 12, 1616
Government
MayorDuciomar Costa (PTB)
Geography
Total Area413 sq mi (1070 km2)
Elevation32.8 ft (10 m)
Demography
Total Population1,437,600 (10th) (2009)
Density (pop.)1322/km2 (3424/sq mi)
Metro (pop.)2249405
Other information
Postal Code66000-000
Area code+55 91

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Belém (literally "Bethlehem") is a Brazilian city, the capital and largest city of state of Pará, in the country's north region. 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 (Marajo Island). With an estimated population of 1,402,056 people - 2,249,405, or considering its metropolitan area - is the 11th most populous city in Brazil (besides being the second largest in the North Region, second only Manaus, in Amazonas state) as well as be the 16th by economic relevance.

Founded in 1616 by the Kingdom of Portugal, 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.

Belém is also known as the Metropolis of the Brazilian Amazon region or the Cidade das Mangueiras (city of mango trees) due to the vast number of those trees found in the city. Brazilians often refer to the city as Belém do Pará ("Belém of Pará") rather than just Belém so as to differentiate it from the biblical Bethlehem in the West Bank (Palestinian territories) and also from Belém in Portugal.

Belém is served by two airports: Val de Cães International Airport which connects the city with the rest of Brazil and other cities in South America and Brig. Protásio de Oliveira Airport (Júlio César) Airport dedicated to general aviation.

The city is also home to the Federal University of Pará.


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