Heart of the Amazon, City of the Forest
July 10, 2014 7:29 PM Subscribe
posted by Eyebrows McGee (10 comments total)
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For 350 years Manaus has stood sentinal at the dramatic Meeting of the Waters
, where the dark
Rio Negro and the sandy
Rio Solimões (or the Upper Amazon) meet to form the headwaters
of the Amazon River.Manaus
, population 2 million, is the capital city of the Brazilion state of Amazonas
, and the largest city in the Amazon rain forest. Like Juneau
, it cannot be reached by the highway system but can only be reached by boat or plane.
Manaus had a major World Cup stadium
built in it for 2014, and it is no stranger to the cycle of boom and bust. Manaus was the center of the 19th Century rubber boom
, making it one of the wealthiest cities in the world. The Rubber Barons of Manaus built a fantastic opera house
, the Teatro Amazonas
, to host the greatest opera companies of the era, regardless of whether half of the visiting troops died of tropical fevers or not.
Unfortunately for Manaus, Henry Wickham
smuggled rubber seeds to Kew Gardens and from there to tropical British colonies, breaking Manaus's rubber monopoly, and was followed by Father Julius Nieuwland's
discovery of a method of synthesizing synethic rubber, causing Manaus to go bust and the opera house to be left to rot.
Brazil has recently reinvigorated
and repaired the opera house
, and the World Cup has highlighted Manaus
and its beauty
, building a stadium that many in Manaus fear may be a second Teatro Amazonas
-- beautiful, but too large for the city to support.
Opera: Florencia en al Amazonas
YA Novel: A Company of Swans
Non-Fiction: The Lost City of Z