Igarassu, Pernambuco

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Igarassu (or Igaraçu) is a city in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. It is the second oldiest city of the country and is situated on the north coast of the metropolitan region of Recife, approximately 32 km north of the city of Recife.[1] It stands as one of the earliest European settlements in Brazil and is the site of the oldest church in the country – São Cosme e Damião, built in 1535.


Igarassu was originally inhabited by Caetés Indians before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. Its genesis as a town came with the arrival in the area of Duarte Coelho Pereira in 1535. Coelho's arrival marked the beginning of the Portuguese settlement of Brazil.[2]

The town itself was established in 1537 as the village of Igarassu, which means “Great Canoe” in Tupi-Guaraní. It was one of the first European settlements of the Hereditary Captaincy (a Portuguese administrative division) of Pernambuco. Shortly after Coelho's arrival he ordered a rock landmark erected to mark the border between Pernambuco and Itamaracá; this still stands today.[2]

Igarassu was the site of the brief liberal republican Praieira revolt in 1848, in which the troops of Colonel Manuel Pereira de Morais were installed in the Convent of Saint Antônio. Today the Pinacoteca Museum stands in its place. One of the military officers who put down the revolt was Deodoro da Fonseca, later briefly the first president of the Brazilian republic.


Igarassu beaches[edit]

Main article: Pernambuco beaches
  • Gavôa beach

Considered excellent for water sports, has no deep water and is located 13 km east from the city center. It is a very popular destination.

  • Coroa do Avião Islet beach

A famous sandbar islet, in the middle of the Jaguaribe River delta, which can only be reached by boat or raft from Itamaracá or Gavoa beach. Its name means "Airplane crown". The islet has many luxurious summer houses, and because of its beauty is considered a hotspot.

  • Mangue Seco beach

Also known as "Captain's beach", Mangue Seco is about 1,500m long, and at low tide the waves retreat some 500m. Its name means "dry mangal".


The main economic activities in Igarassu are based in general industry, commerce and primary sector activities( sugar cane plantation and cattle). Tourism is also an important role due to its historical town center, beaches and the proximity with Itamaraca and Paulista beaches.

Economic Indicators[edit]

Population [3] GDP x(1000 R$).[4] GDP pc (R$) PE (%) RMR (%)
100.191 734.430 7.834 1.17 1.85

Economy by Sector 2006

Primary sector Secondary sector Service sector
3.64% 46.88% 49.48%

Health Indicators[edit]


HDI (2000) Hospitals (2007) Hospitals beds (2007) Children's Mortality per 1,000 (2005)
0.719 2 158 13.3


  1. ^ "Igaraçu - Pernambuco". Recife Guide. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b Colwell, Dan (2000). Brazil. JPM Publications. ISBN 2-88452-117-8. 
  3. ^ http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/populacao/estimativa2009/POP2009_DOU.pdf IBGE Population 2009 Igarassu, page 33]
  4. ^ Igarassu 2007 GDP, IBGE page 30
  5. ^ PE State site - City by city profile

See also[edit]

Further information: Pernambuco Beaches and Pernambuco Museums

Coordinates: 7°50′02″S 34°54′21″W / 7.8339°S 34.9058°W / -7.8339; -34.9058