About São Luís

São Luís is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Maranhão. The city is located in São Luís Island, situated in the São Marcos Bay, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the estuary of the Pindaré, Mearim, and Itapecuru rivers (some of the main rivers that cross the Maranhão state). Placed at the coordinates 2.53° south, 44.30° west, this city has a 1 million people population, while the related metropolitan area is ranked as the 16th largest in Brazil (encompassing the "São José de Ribamar", "Paço de Lumiar" and "Raposa" cities, it possesses nearly 1.400.000 inhabitants).

São Luís has a Historical Centre which embraces an outstanding example of Portuguese colonial architecture, successfully adapted to the climatic conditions in equatorial South America. It is composed of buildings with facades faced with Portuguese azulejos (tiles), ornamented cornices, tall/narrow window bays with decorated surrounds, and shuttered verandas on the inside. Thanks to a period of economic stagnation in the early 20th century, an exceptional number of fine historic buildings have survived, standing for a remarkable example of an Iberian colonial town. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. For more details, see:
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/821; http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/saoluis.html.

Whether: São Luís city experiences a tropical monsoon climate with a dry season from August to December. During this period the equatorial rainband associated with Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is not over the city, so that warm to hot temperatures and abundant equatorial sunshine prevail. Conversely, the humid, rainy wet season dominates the remaining majority of the year, with cloud cover prevalent and heavy rains falling from January to July. The heaviest rainfall and highest cloud cover from March to May. The wettest month is April with an average monthly total of 473 mm (18.62 in) of precipitation, while the driest months are both October and November, with average precipitation of 11 mm (0.43 in). The average temperature ranges from 25 to 36 degrees (Celsius scale) all over the year.

São Luís is the only Brazilian state capital founded by France (France Équinoxiale) and it is one of the three Brazilian state capitals located on islands. It is the home of the Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA) – www.ufma.br.