Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Recife(rəsē`fĭ) [Port.,=reef], city (1991 pop. 1,298,229), capital of Pernambuco state, NE Brazil, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It is also called Pernambuco by foreigners. The chief urban center of NE Brazil, it lies partly on the mainland and partly on an island. Dissected by waterways, it is often called the Brazilian Venice. Its fine natural harbor, enclosed by a coral reef, has modern facilities. Recife exports great quantities of the hinterland's products, including sugar, cotton, and coffee. The majority of the labor force is employed in the service sector; tourism expanded greatly in the late 1990s. The city is a transportation center, with an international airport and good railroad and highway facilities. Founded by the Portuguese in 1548 as the port for nearby Olinda, Recife was settled by fishermen and sailors. The city was plundered by the British in 1595 and was occupied by the Dutch (1630–54), prospering under Maurice of Nassau. After the Dutch occupation, Recife replaced Olinda as capital of the Pernambuco captaincy. During World War II, an Allied air base was there. The city has three universities and several research centers and museums; it has long been famed for its intellectual groups and political ferment. In addition to its modern buildings, Recife has a 17th-century cathedral, a Dutch fort, an elaborate government palace, and the ruins of what is believed to be the first synagogue in the New World, which flourished during the Dutch period.
(also Pernambuco), a city in northeastern Brazil; capital of the state of Pernambuco located at the mouths of the Capibaribe and Beberibe rivers. Population, 1,046,400 (1970, including suburbs). Recife is situated partly on the mainland, partly on a peninsula, and on an island in a lagoon. The three sections are connected by bridges. The city is Brazil’s major port on the Atlantic Ocean and the economic center of the northeastern part of the country. A railroad and highway junction, Recife also has an airport. There are food (distilleries and sugar refineries), textile, machine-building (including shipbuilding), cement, chemical, leather, and tobacco industries. Recife exports sugar, cotton, leather, lumber, and fruit. There is a university in the city.
Recife was founded in the first half of the 16th century. The city is divided into several parts. The island is a commercial district. The Santo Antonio district, which was founded circa 1640, is the site of the governor’s palace and the classical-style Santa Isabel Theater (c. 1845, architect L. Vottier). The Boa Vista district on the mainland, which was founded in the late 17th century, is an area of impressive villas surrounded by gardens and parks. São José, which is located on the peninsula, is the poor district. Buildings from the 17th century, including some monasteries, have been restored. One of the most beautiful 17th-century structures is the church of S. Pedro dos Clerigos (1729; architects M. Ferreira e Jácome and N. Nazzoni).