The pilgrimage centre of Canindé, 108 km southwest of Fortaleza, is located in the Sertão Central of Ceará. A large modern church stands on a hill and has carved baptistry doors and many ex-votos. It receives hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the northeast between 26 September and 4 October, devotees of São Francisco das Chagas, ‘O pobrezinho de Asis’, many of them dressed like Franciscan priests. The pilgrims flock to town on foot, by bus and mostly on pau de arara trucks. It is reputed to be second in the world, after Assisi, as a pilgrimage centre for Saint Francis. There is a regional museum with artefacts representative of northeast culture, and several restaurants.
There is a daily bus service from Fortaleza rodoviária with Viação Nova Esperança (three hours), and interesting dry-land vegetation along the route. From Canindé south to the Sertão Central (Quixadá), CE-456 is under repair. The majority of the road is not too bad, but there are some rough bits (95 km).
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