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Tour 2: Religion, Incarceration and Independence

February 21, 2009

Tour 2 Highlights

Highlights Video on Youtube

Religion, Incarceration and Independence is a Half-Day Walking Tour beginning in Praça da Independência (Independence Square) before visiting nearby churches and a basilica dating back to the 17th Century. We will then go on to the monument of Joaquim Nabuco, who campaigned to end slavery, and then to a former prison house, now a centre for arts and crafts. The tour will end in a historic cobblestone church courtyard, now a lively nightspot with bars that serve regional cuisine.

To book this tour, e-mail for a booking form.

independence-squareOur starting point, Independence Square, has been a commercial center since the period of Dutch rule (1630-1654), known then as the commercial square or Mercardo Grande. Later it was called Pole Square because it was here that slaves and criminals bound to wooden poles were punished. Since 1833 it has been known as Independence Square in commemoration of Brazil´s independence from Portuguese rule.

03-igreja-do-santissimo-sacramento-01The first stop will be the Church of The Holy Sacrament, established by the Holy Sacrament brotherhood in a former Dutch warehouse in 1753. Construction was not completed until 1790, and it became the parish church of the Santo Antionio District of Recife. The edifice is of sandstone from the reef.

joaquim-nabuco-memorialOur second stop is Joaquim Nabuco Square (Praça de Joaquim Nabuco) named after the  writer and campaigner for the abolition of slaver. He was also the first Brazilian Ambassador to the USA and advocate of Pan-Americanism. The square has an Art Nouveau style monument, the Nabuco Monument, believed to be designed by João Bereta de Carrara. Click the link to read more about Joaquim Nabuco

casa-da-culturaThird stop is Casa da Cultura, a former prison inaugurated in 1867 to house 200 criminals. It was designed by José Mamede Alves Ferreira according the the best standards of the era. After decommissioning, it was refurbished in 1973 and converted into a cultural center where handcrafts and souvenirs can be bought.

central-railway-stationNearby is our fourth stop is the Railway Museum in and old railway station designed by Herculano Ramos and inaugurated in 1890. In the early 20th century it was leased to the Great Western Brazil Railway Company and became the head office of a railway system covering four states of northeastern Brazil. Today it is also a terminus of the local metro system.

07-carmo-06Next stop, is the Basilica and Convent of Our Lady of Carmo (1663),  standing on the former site of Boa Vista Palace, home of the Dutch Count Johann Mauritius van Nassau. Since 1908, Nossa Senhora do Carmo has been co-patron saint of the city of Recife with Santo Antônio.

09-santa-terezaAdjoining the Basilica is the Church of Santa Tereza, also of the Carmelite Order. The church has fine decorative elements including woodcarvings, tiles and fine ceiling paintings.

08-preto-01Our seventh stop is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of Black Men built between 1662-1667 during the reign of King Alfonso VI whose portrait can be seen in the vestry. The original facade was destroyed in 1739 and was replaced by a new one many years later in 1777.

10-livramento-03A short walk takes us to the Church of the Coloured People (mixed races, other than black). The brotherhood built their first chapel on this site before the end of the 17th Century. It was rebuilt between 1830-1856 in the style it is today.

sao-pedro-04Our last stop will be the Patio of Saint Peter, a square that is dominated by the Church of Saint Peter built between 1728-1782 according to the designs of architect Manuel Ferriera Jácoe. The church is one of the Brazilian Baroque masterpieces. Surrounding the courtyard are many colonial style houses, now restaurants, cafes and bars serving traditional regional dishes.

11-gonzagaWithin this square we will visit two museums. The first is the Luiz Gonzaga Museum, in memory him and his musical legacy. Gonzaga was a leading Brazilian folk singer, songwriter, musician and poet. Born in the countryside of Pernambuco, he made northeastern music popular throughout the nation. The museum has many artifacts to explain his life and works. It is also home to a research center.

12-arte-popular-02The second, is the Museum of Popular Art, with an important collection of northeastern folk art. The museum aims to raise awareness and maintain traditions, also to raise the profile of new artists.

The tour will end at approximately 5.30pm. Then you can decide to choose to leave or stay and enjoy a few drinks at one of the bars at our last stop, Pátio São Pedro. This is a great way to soak up the atmosphere of Brazilian life in a square that has a lively buzz when locals finish their working day. Recently there has also been live music which changes type each day.

To book this tour, e-mail for a booking form.

This is one of several Walking Tours.

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