Manaus is a Brazilian city of about 2.5 million, located on the Rio Negro a few miles before it meets the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River properly. The two rivers flow side by side for many miles, different in color, mixing in eddies: the "Meeting of the Waters." Legend has it that they never mix.
The wealth of the primeval forest becomes visible first of all in the architecture of the city. The city was rich and the rubber barons afforded the biggest luxury from Europe, a copy of the Grand Opera de Paris - the Teatro Amazonas. Other monuments from this epoch are the Mercado Municipal, a copy of the famous market halls Les Halles in Paris, and the arts center Palacio Rio Negro, located among fascinating Portuguese facades. Today Manaus is a foreign trade zone. Foreign enterprises don't pay import duties, what guarantees a certain income for the city and the region. Electronics, wood industry and oil refineries have settled in the outskirts in industrial areas. The harbor is the most important trading center in the city with regional, national and international products. The city is pleasant and friendly, although quite hot, and is still a major port, and a good starting point for river tours.