Town of Tavares

Igreja de TavaresTavares is located on the southern shoreline of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The district of Tavares makes part of an isthmus (a narrow strip of land), with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and a large lake, Lagoa dos Patos to the west. To the north is the district of Mostardas and to the south the district of Sao Jose do Norte.

It belongs to Porto Alegre Metropolitan region, and it is a member of AMLINORTE (Association of the coastal towns of the north). Its latitude is 31° l7' l4" and longitude is 51° 05' 37" west. The district has an area of 604,26 km².

The soil is a sandy soil. There is strip of dunes that follows the coastline reaching a height of 15m above sea level. It is a subtropical climate, with maximum temperatures of 38°C, minimums of 3°C and an annual average of 17.5°C. Average annual rainfall is between 1,150mm and 1,450mm. Vegetation appears in small but frequent patches, with a band of native forest following the coast. There are large areas of pine.

The fauna is very diversified. There are shrimp, small fish, crabs and shellfish. There are more than 243 types of birds, of which about 35 are migratory, including the flamingo which travels from the south and many more that come from the Northern Hemisphere like the swallows, seagulls, frigates and gannets. Among mammals, there are capybaras (the largest rodent in the world) and otters.

Tavares has a population of 5,850 people with decedents largely from the Azores Islands and Portugal. There is still a strong influence on the architecture, culture and traditions today.

Some History:

Immigrants from Azores arrived in this area in 1760 to settle the area and guarantee the land for Portugal. Coronal Antonio da Silva Tavares, a surveyor, was the first settler to arrive and he received a plot of land called “sesmaria” (an old agrarian measure) from the King of Portugal. His land stretched from the lighthouse of Mostardas to the lighthouse of Capao da Marca. This area became a municipal district in 1982, and was called Tavares in his honor.
Before the arrival of Portuguese settlers, Indians lived here for centuries. There were “tupi-guaranis”, “minuanos”, “aracanes”, “carijos” and “patos”. The Patos were so called for their big feet, like duck feet (pato meaning duck). They lived on edge of the lake, Lagoa dos Patos, later giving the lake its name.
The Indians disappeared with the arrival of the white man. But they left behind many signs of their culture and history such as the “sambaquis”, which are prehistoric deposits of shells. Human skeletons are still found on the coast of the ocean and the lagoon today.

The economy of Tavares is based on agriculture, mainly plantations of onions and rice. Sheep and cattle farming are also common. Fishing is also important, mainly shrimp, caught in the Lagoa do Peixe. Nowadays timber is becoming a common export.

As for tourist attractions within the town itself there is the Capela de Santo Antonio (Saint Anthony Chapel) which was built in 1939. There is a very cute town centre (praça) where you will find locals enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company. To meet some locals and practice your Portuguese you may enjoy one of the wee bars (botecos) located in the town centre. There are plenty of grocery stores selling fresh fruit and vegetables and local meats.

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