Forte do Presépio


The city of Belém was founded in 1616 with the construction of this imposing fort, which was intended to protect Portuguese interests upriver from incursions by the French and Dutch. Today it houses a small but excellent museum, primarily about Pará state’s indigenous communities (displays in Portuguese only), and has great river and city views from atop its thick stone walls.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Belém attractions

1. Casa das Onze Janelas

0.06 MILES

Once the home of a sugar baron, then a military hospital, the Casa das Onze Janelas now houses an excellent gallery of modern art. The first and second…

2. Museu de Arte Sacra

0.06 MILES

Closed indefinitely for renovations when we last passed by, this museum, once it reopens, has two parts: the impressive Igreja do Santo Alexandre and the…

3. Museo do Círio

0.09 MILES

The many idiosyncrasies of Belém’s famous religious festival, the Círio de Nazaré, are explained in this handsome museum, from the discovery of a tiny…

4. Catedral da Sé

0.12 MILES

After years of slow, sad decline, Belém’s historic cathedral is once again radiant, thanks to a major renovation. The exterior gleams a brilliant white,…

5. Museu do Estado do Pará

0.19 MILES

The State Museum of Pará is housed in the grand Palácio Lauro Sodré, originally the residence of Portugal’s royal representatives in Belém and later home…

6. Palácio Antonio Lemos & MABE

0.23 MILES

This rubber-boom palace served as city hall in the late 1800s, and its 2nd floor now houses the Museu de Arte de Belém. The museum has gorgeous wood…

7. Mercado Ver-o-Peso

0.24 MILES

The name of this waterfront market, with its iconic four-turreted structure at its southwestern end, comes from colonial times, when the Portuguese would…

8. Estação das Docas

0.53 MILES

An ambitious renovation project converted three down-at-heel riverfront warehouses into a popular gathering spot, with restaurants, bars, shops and even…