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Piranhas is a historic municipality near the western limit of the State of Alagoas, in the Northeast Region of Brazil.Located on the banks of the São Francisco River, on the border with the State of Sergipe, Piranhas was founded in 1891 and originally named Floriano Peixoto (in honor of the Army General who was one of the founders of the Republic and was later elected President).It was also known as Porto de Piranhas, because fishermen caught piranhas (a carnivorous predator fish) there.HistoryThe town was founded in 1891.Its architecture is typical of late Empire, Northeast style of constructions.In the 1930s, Piranhas was attacked several times by the cangaceiros, bands of marauders and bandits, commanded by the infamous Lampião, who frequently hid from the police in the rocky outcrops near the city.TransportRailwayHistorically Piranhas was the upstream limit of navigation on the lower São Francisco River. Immediately upstream of Piranhas there were impassable rapids, and 60 km further upstream was the major falls at Paulo Afonso. Above those falls the São Francisco became navigable again for over 1500 km.In 1881 Piranhas became the start of a railway line which was designed to bypass these obstacles to navigation. The line rose out of the deeply cut valley of the river and then, paralleling it at a distance of several kilometres, set off in a north-westerly direction, before rejoining it further upstream. The line passed through a series of small towns including Olho d'Água das Flores and Delmiro Gouveia, before reaching its destination at Petrolândia, on the banks of the upper São Francisco, and approximately 80 km upstream from Piranhas.Make Piranhas central to your Brazil travel plans using our Brazil day trip planning website.
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