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The Northeast of Brazil includes the coastal states of Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Ceará, Maranhão and the landlocked state of Piauí. In the middle of this region are two large and vibrant cities, Recife and Fortaleza. The region, which covers an area of 1,554,257 square km (600,102 square miles), is home to a little less than a third of the population of the entire country.
In the state of Pernambuco, the sprawling city of Recife is bounded by the Beberibe and the Capibaribe rivers, which flow into the Atlantic. The city is known for the dozens of bridges linking its many boroughs. It is 2,392 km (1,486 miles) from Rio de Janeiro and 2716 km (1,688 miles) from São Paulo.
The capital of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal has a population of 1,234,819. The city is surrounded by dunes on both sides, which gives it a unique appearance. It's 2,680 km (1,665 miles) from Rio de Janeiro and 3,011 km (1,871 miles) from São Paulo.
A thriving economic center, Fortaleza is the entry point for the state of Ceará. The population is 2,416,920, and is growing at a rapid pace. On the Atlantic Ocean, it's 2,808 km (1,744 miles) from Rio de Janeiro and 3,109 km (1,932 miles) from São Paulo.
An archipelago in the state of Pernambuco, the national marine park of Fernando de Noranha consists of 21 sparsely populated islands. About 354 km (219 miles) from the coast of Brazil, these islands have a population of roughly 2,000.