A great way to get to know a city is to visit it´s markets. Recife has several historic markets, each with it´s own character, architecture and stories. Most are house in historic buildings located in old and important neighbourhoods of the city. A few are visited by tourists occasionally, but they are not designed for tourists. They are thriving markets that serve local customers and for this reason are the best way to get a feel for the real an authentic life of the city and it´s people.
Go to Shopping Recife and you could be in most Shopping Centres or Malls of the world, characterless, soul-less and full of generic brands that you can find anywhere in Brazil or internationally with chains of fast food and franchise concepts that say nothing of Recife. Visit the old markets and you can see local and exotic produce, enjoy regional dishes, soak up the atmosphere and meet real people.
Fortunately you can find out more about each of the markets in an excellent bi-lingual (Portuguese & English) guide called Mercados do Recife (Recife´s Markets), published by Recifenobolso. It is available at good book stores and some select retailers for R$35. The well illustrated book tells the story of each market and brings it to life with anecdotes from traders, many of whom are the second and third generations of their families. They also talk of their customers and the changing times.
Recife guide offers walking tours that include a visit to some of these markets, and every visitor we have taken has appreciated the authenticity of the place. It´s sights, sounds, smells and characters. After a brief visit most people feel they know something of the real city, and get a sense of how the city was in the past.
Now we are collaborating with the publishers of Mercados do Recife to create guides tours of these markets; a closer look what they say about the city and it´s people, past and present. Within them it is possible to find references to many characteristics that typify the city and the region: it´s social life, folklore, musical, cuisine, religious traditions and so on.
The tours will be given by an experienced bi-lingual guide with in-depth knowledge of the city and all it´s stories. This guide will be your curator to the past and present real life of the city. after a half or one day tour you will already feel you know much about the place. If you do, we will have achieved the objective of the tour.
The tour should be available soon. In the meantime we recommend you buy the guide.
We will also be adding a series of market profiles to this guide over the coming weeks.