Neighboring states are (clockwise from north) Amapá, Maranhão, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Amazonas and Roraima. To the north it borders Guyana and Suriname. Pará is the second largest state of Brazil in area, second only to Amazonas. (It was the third until Mato Grosso do Sul broke away from Mato Grosso in 1977.) In the northern region, it has the largest population, more than 6 million. Its most famous icons are the Amazon River and the Amazon rain forest. Well known Amazonian products include: firstly, rubber extracted from the natural rubber tree groves, tropical hardwoods such as mahogany, and most recently minerals such as iron ore and bauxite. Every October, the capital city, Belém, receives tens of thousands of tourists for the year's most important religious celebation, the procession of the "Círio de Nazaré." Another important attraction of the capital is the marajó-style ceramics, based on pottery from the extinct Marajó Indian civilization and whose designs have gained international fame.
The Portuguese colonization in Pará State first occurred in 1616, with the foundation of Presépio Fortress – today, Castle Fortress – at Guajará bay, which originated the city of Belém. Before that, the region had been invaded many times by the Dutch and the English, seeking pepper; guaraná, a tree from which a powder is produced and used as a stimulant; and annato seeds, a fruit used for cooking, as a sunscreen and also for dye extraction.
An equatorial climate is a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season – all months have mean precipitation values of at least 60mm. It is usually found at latitudes within five degrees of the equator – which are dominated by the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The equatorial climate is denoted Af in the Köppen climate classification. Tropical rainforest is the natural vegetation in equatorial regions.
The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. Wet tropical forests are the most species-rich biome, and tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Amazonian rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. More than 1/3rd of all species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. The largest biodiversity of the planet is present across the State of Amazonas, ensuring great surprised to its visitors.
The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 4,988,000 Pardo (Brown) people (69.9%), 1,641,000 White people (23.0%), 470,000 Black people (6.6%), 35,000 Asian or Amerindian people (0.5%).
The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 40.9%, followed by the industrial sector at 36.3%. Agriculture represents 22.8% of GDP (2004). Pará exports: iron ore 31.1%, aluminium 22.2%, wood 13.5%, ores of aluminium 8.3%, others ores 7.9% (2002).
Share of the Brazilian economy: 1.8% (2005).
The mining sector represents 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State, originated mainly from the extraction of iron, bauxite, manganese, limestone and tin, as well as gold, until recently extracted from one of the largest mines of recent history: Serra Pelada. The State of Pará has its economy based also on vegetal extraction, on agriculture and cattle raising; thanks to the rich soil and the important hydrographic basin – boats are the main means of transport in the region. Guaraná, a tree from which a powder is produced and used as a stimulant; and annato seeds, a fruit used for cooking, as a sunscreen and also for dye extraction. Marajó Island – the biggest fluvial-maritime island in the world, with 50 thousand km2 of extension. Its territory has one of the largest mining areas in the Country, located at Carajás Mountains, a mining province where the Ferro Carajás Project is based, from Companhia Vale do Rio Doce. The complex produces 35 million tons of ore a year, exporting the product to many countries, among them Japan, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
The biggest feast in Pará State happens there, Círio de Nazaré (Nazareth Taper). Festivities start on the second Sunday in the month of October and pay homage to Our Lady of Nazareth, patron saint of the State. Organised since 1793, at present it gathers around 1,5 million of followers, who go on a procession through the city on a huge suite to the Nazaré Basilica, where the image is worshipped.
Since 2001, Belém International Airport has been an example of the standard Infraero implements at its airports. Standing out in the midst of the Amazon vastness, the building design uses plane curves on its roof to permit light to enter its entire large terminal hall. The architect Sérgio Parada used his creativity to adopt multiple-use totems integrated with light projectors, a sound system, air conditioning and public telephones. Currently Belém International Airport serves demand of 2.7 million passengers a year, in a constructed area of 33,255.17 square meters. Traditionally called Val-de-Cans Airport, it is responsible for increasing tourism in the region, as well as for the outflow of products and attracting new investments. The passenger terminal is fully air conditioned on two levels and has futuristic architecture, designed to take advantage of natural lighting. People with special needs have individualized service with own equipment at specific locations to facilitate their circulation. The terminal’s interior is decorated with plants native to the Amazon region and is enclosed by a source able to imitate the sound of the rains that fall every day in the region.
Belém provides visitors and residents with various sport activities. The Mangueirão stadium architectonical project is from August 1969. In 2002, 24 years after the stadium inauguration, Mangueirão was reinaugurated as an Olympic stadium of Pará.