Lighthouses in Fortaleza, Ceara
Old Mucuripe Lighthouse
There are two lighthouses in Fortaleza.
The old lighthouse of Mucuripe was built by the slaves between 1840 and 1846 (it's one of the oldest buildings in Fortaleza); this lighthouse was the main source of orientation for ships approaching Fortaleza until 1957 (it became known as "Olho do Mar", or "Eye of the Sea"), when it was deactivated.
Today, right in front of the ancient lighthouse, one can see the modern turbines of Mucuripe, which use the wind energy to provide electric power to the Port.
In 1982, after a refurbishment, the lighthouse was turned into a Museum (Museu do Farol). Until 2004, the Museum exhibited documents, photos, drawings, reports by sea-travellers, all related to the Colonial times of the city.
Warning: even though the Museu do Farol is still promoted as a touristic spot of Fortaleza (see photo by the Fortaleza Government), in June of 2006 the place had been in a state of complete abandonment for at least two years. The Historic archive was moved, and the building structure needs serious refurbishment.
The lighthouse is between the touristic beaches of Mucuripe and Praia do Futuro, but in a very poor neighbourhood. Friendly children beg for changes and ask to appear in photos. If you intend to visit the Museum, make sure to check out how the current situation is.
New Mucuripe Lighthouse
The New Lighthouse of Mucuripe (Farol Novo) was built in 1958, to replace the old lighthouse.
To increase its reach, this new lighthouse was built in the highest hill of Fortaleza, about 500 meters distant from the old lighthouse; thanks to the altitude, the area affords a good view of the city, and there are incipient attempts to turn it into a touristic spot.
Notice, however, that the lighthouse is not for tourism, and is situated in a very unfriendly neighbourhood. The premises of the lighthouse are kept by the Navy, and are not open for visitation.