Juazeiro do Norte in the Sertão of Ceará is the land of Father Cícero

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Sertão do Ceará
Sertão do Ceará

Juazeiro do Norte is the largest city in the hinterland of Ceará and was founded in 1911 by Father Cícero Romão Batista, known and adored throughout the hinterland as “Padim Ciço”.

The hinterland of Ceará is vast and rich for the people who live there and their religiosity and their penury by the punishment of the many droughts that, so punishing, were the scene of many books and movies

The northeastern hinterland extends over a large part of Bahia, the state of Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte and Piauí; all of Ceará; and a small part of Sergipe and Alagoas.

It comprises the areas dominated by the semi-arid tropical climate (hot and dry), which has high average temperatures of between 28 °C and 45 °C (exceeding 42 °C only in the Raso da Catarina in Bahia and in south-central Piauí) and two well-defined seasons: one dry and one rainy.

Rainfall in the sertão is concentrated in only three or four months of the year, and rainfall in the Sertão averages 750 mm per year, with some areas receiving less than 500 mm per year.

Mapa do Ceará
Map of Ceará

The hinterland of Ceará is vast and rich for the people who live there.

The religiosity in the sertão and its penury by the punishment of the many droughts that, so punishing, were the scene of many books and movies.

map of the Sertão do Cariri
map of the Sertão do Cariri


Juazeiro do Norte is the largest city in the hinterland of Ceará and was founded in 1911 by Father Cícero Romão Batista, known and adored throughout the hinterland as “Padim Ciço”.

Juazeiro do Norte today has several xylographs, a rich handicrafts and a good network of hotels and restaurants and is chaotic in signaling and traffic. Three major pilgrimages take place in the city of pilgrims: on September 15; between October 30 and November 2; and from January 30 to February 2.

Map of the Cariri region in Ceará
Cariri region

In addition to them, the date of the birth of Father Cícero – July 20 – attracts many faithful. On these occasions, Juazeiro teems: pilgrims come from all over the Northeast in cannons, buses, cars, donkeys, horses, carriages, motorcycles and bicycles, classes are suspended, hotels are lacking.

The 300,000 or so devotees present at each pilgrimage sing songs in honor of the priest; some dress like him, with straw hats and black clothes – the oldest, in fact, dress like this on the 20th of each month, in honor of the day of the religious’s birth.

Juazeiro do Norte no Ceará
Juazeiro do Norte no Ceará

The hill of Horto in Juazeiro do Norte, known as the hill of Father Cícero, lights up at night to guide those arriving in the city; stone steps lead to the top, where the church, the museum and the famous statue of the priest are located.

From there you have a privileged view of Juazeiro, where there are five churches: the parish church of Nossa Senhora das Dores, the sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro, the basilica of São Francisco and the parish of Nossa Senhora de Lourdes.

Distant 495 kilometers from Fortaleza, by BR-116, Juazeiro do Norte is the main starting point to explore the attractions of nearby cities such as Crato, Nova Olinda and Santana do Cariri.



At the top of the hill of Horto in Juazeiro do Norte, near the Living Museum, the imposing statue of the religious was installed: 25 meters high and 8 meters wide, added to the elevation of the hill, it is surpassed in total height only by Christ the Redeemer.

On pilgrimage days, its surroundings are crowded, as it attracts not only pilgrims, who climb en masse to touch the priest’s cassock, but also souvenir sellers and melunos who tell various stories of the “padim” in search of a few bucks. Horto Hill, 8 km from the center.



The house where Father Cícero lived was transformed into a museum and preserves the room with the bed, the desk, the clothes (including the ceremonial ones), the cabinets, the dishes and the cookware used by him.

Father Cícero was in Juazeiro do Norte for the first time at Christmas 1871, when he prayed the Mass of the Rooster. When he died in 1934, at the age of 90, he already had saint status – not recognized by the Vatican.

To learn more about his life, be sure to visit his memorial, where personal objects, books about his achievements and photos are gathered.

There are also objects left by the saint’s worshippers for the blessings they received – from soccer team banners and wedding photos to stuffed animals and thank-you plaques. R. S. José, 242, Center.


CAPELA DE NOSSA SENHORA DO PERPÉTUO SOCORROThe smallest and simplest of the churches in Juazeiro do Norte is the one that has the honor of guarding the tomb of Father Cícero, an immense treasure for those who venerate him.

During pilgrimages, it is crowded with pilgrims who go in procession to the parish church or to the hill of Horto. Pҫa. do Cinquentenário, Socorro.


The religious atmosphere prevails in this huge house, full of ex-votos of different types and plaster replicas of the priest, left by thousands of devotees. Right at the entrance, it is worth noting the various books dedicated to the religious. Horto Hill, 8 km from the center.


Centro Mestre Noza
Centro Mestre Noza

Currently the Association of Artisans of Juazeiro do Norte is located in the Center of Popular Culture Mestre Noza, so the artists of Juazeiro do Norte pay tribute to the great Brazilian sculptor.

Dozens of artisans work in this large shed with a straw roof, the main shopping center for handicrafts in Juazeiro.

There you will find a multitude of wooden and plaster sculptures, with images of Lampião, Luís Gonzaga, Father Cícero, animals and dolls, etc. R. S. Luís, s/n , Center.

The space is divided into a large room where the printing house is located, with old types and machines, and another that houses the collection of cordels for sale. Among the themes, popular festivals, traditions and local characters and tributes to personalities such as Patativa do Assaré, Lampião and Guimarães Rosa. Av. Castelo Branco, 150, Rumerão.


Cícero Romão Batista (Father Cícero) was born in the city of Crato on March 24, 1844. In 1872, two years after his ordination, he had a dream in which Jesus Christ asked him to look after the poor people of the then arraial of Juazeiro.

Cícero heeded the call and settled in the village.

Padre Cícero
Padre Cícero

The first of the miracles attributed to the religious was the transformation of a wafer into blood, in the communion of a beata.The news ran the hinterland.

After Monsignor Francisco Monteiro, rector of the seminary in Crato, publicly announced that Cícero was performing miracles and organized a pilgrimage of 3,000 people to Juazeiro, the Catholic Church reacted: in the Vatican, the Congregation of the Holy Office wanted to excommunicate him, but, fearful of the repercussions – the priest was also allied with colonels – and of the popular reaction, it backed down and restricted itself to preventing him from saying masses.

The priest then took up the post of mayor of Juazeiro do Norte. Over time, the town grew; devotees settled there to be closer to the priest, who died in 1934 at the age of ninety, enhancing the mystique on which the city rests and from which it survives.



Crato was officially founded in 1853, the city next to Juazeiro do Norte – only 10 kilometers away – is full of springs, which guarantees especially pleasant temperatures throughout the year, despite the semi-arid climate.

Close to the immense chapada and the Araripe forest and with a good offer of hotels, restaurants and bars, it can be an alternative accommodation when Juazeiro do Norte gets crowded, between the months of September and February.

Considered the cultural capital of the Ceará hinterland, Crato is home to folkloric groups, woodcutters such as Valderedo, literary and cordel awards (found at the Academia do Cordelista), as well as hosting reisados such as those led by mestre Aldemir and promoting lively June festivals.

The streets of Crato are tree-lined, and there are huge houses on the paths that lead to the hills of the chapada region, whose landscape invites you to go for bike rides (you need to take one, as there is no rental). You can cycle under the shade of trees all year round.

On the Belmonte climb, you can go from a height of 460 meters to a thousand meters in 50 minutes.

Another option is to walk, ride or cycle the 27-kilometer trail from the Cruz viewpoint to the Coruja viewpoint, through the beautiful local forest.

Access from Fortaleza, from which Crato is 533 kilometers away, is via the BR-116 highway to Icó, from where, to avoid the potholes, it is best to go through the towns of Iguatu, Várzea Alegre and Farias Brito.



The small town of Assaré, 60 kilometers from Crato and 70 from Juazeiro do Norte via CE-292, has since 1999 kept the memory of its most illustrious son, the popular poet Antônio Gonçalves da Silva, Patativa do Assaré (1909-2002).

Born into a family of farmers, Patativa published six books in which he described with good humor the ills of the Northeast and picturesque stories of sertaneja life.

Fundação Memorial Patativa do Assaré
Fundação Memorial Patativa do Assaré

He became known in the country after Luís Gonzaga set his poem “A triste partida” to music.

The Patativa do Assaré Memorial Foundation displays manuscripts, personal objects, works by the author, books of regional poetry and various studies.

In an audiovisual room, you can see the poet recite his verses and watch a performance by Luís Gonzaga. R. Cel. Francisco Gomes, 82, Center.


Located right in the center of the Santana formation, the most important fossil deposit in Brazil and the largest in the world in fossil fish records, the museum belongs to the Regional University of Cariri.

It is a must-see for those staying in nearby Crato, about 50 kilometers away, or in Juazeiro do Norte, 65 kilometers away.

Santana do Cariri Paleontology Museum
Santana do Cariri Paleontology Museum

The collection of 7,000 pieces consists of more than 750 fossil fragments collected in excavations in the vicinity, including those of a pterosaur.

Downstairs there is a model of the region, replicas of fossils and explanatory panels; upstairs, fossils grouped by type, including dragonflies, fish and plants.

The ease with which finds of great archaeological importance can be obtained in the formation has made it a target for international smugglers.

Today, Santana do Cariri policy encourages the crafting of replicas, such as those sold at the museum.

Guides can conduct the guided tour. It is worthwhile to extend the walk in this small town on the edge of a large valley leaning against the Chapada do Araripe and enjoy the landscape composed of old houses. R. Dr. José Augusto, 326, Center.


Inaugurated in 1992, the foundation is the attraction of Nova Olinda, on the way to Santana do Cariri, 41 kilometers from Crato and 51 from Juazeiro by CE-292.

The small town is home to the modest Cariri Man Memorial, whose collection includes utensils, polished stones and ceramics that reveal the culture and traditions of the Cariri indigenous group.

The foundation also houses the School of Communication for the Children of the Sertão, where children from the region receive school support and make programs broadcast on local radio and television. Av. Jeremias Pereira, 444, Centro, Nova Olinda.

Sertão do Ceará Tourism and Travel Guide

Tourism and Travel Guide of Juazeiro do Norte in Sertão do Ceará

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