Paço Imperial is a rare example of a Historic Monument that was on the centre stage of Brazil’s Colonial, Royal and Imperial history.
Governor’s Residence — The Building’s history starts in 1733 when then-Governor of the Province of Rio de Janeiro Gomes Freire de Andrade asked king D. João V permission to construct a Government Building in Rio.
Vice-Roy’s Residence — In 1763 Rio de Janeiro became the capital of the Vice-Kingdom and the building served as the Vice-Roy’s residence and office, the Paço dos Vice-Reis.
Royal Residence — In 1808 with the Portuguese Royal Family arrival in Brazil the building was “upgraded” to Royal Office to the Regent Prince, future King D. João VI. The Coronation Ceremony took place at the “Paço”.
Paço Imperial — With the country’s independence the building became “Paço Imperial” also known as “Paço do Rio de Janeiro” and served as office to Dom Pedro I and later D Pedro II. It was in the Paço that in May 13th 1888 Princess Isabel signed the Golden Law which abolished slavery in Brazil. After the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 all Royal Family properties and assets were confiscated and auctioned and the building became Mail head office. In 1938 the “Paço” was declared a Historic Building and in 1980 restored to its 1918 features. Today it’s a Cultural Centre with shops, exhibit rooms and a restaurant.
ARCOS DOS TELLES
Arcos do Telles — Remains of the former Senate, located at the Praça XV
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil — Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil is housed in a neoclassical building constructed in 1880. Inaugurated in 1906 as the Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro, it was acquired by Banco do Brasil in the early 20’s to house its headquarter.
In 1989 the six-story domed building with marble floors was converted into a cultural center that today consists of two theaters, four exhibition halls, a computerized library with over 100,000 volumes, an auditorium, video rooms and a movie theater besides a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a tearoom.
In addition to its tasteful architecture, the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center offers a packed schedule of programs that should not be missed by visitors eager to savor a wide variety of cultural offerings.
Confeitaria Colombo — Founded in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, the Colombo Patisserie soon found its history intertwined with that of the capital and, by extension, of the nation. The building has undergone several reforms, but the first floor interior remains pretty much the way customers found it during the 1913 reopening. The style might be described as turn-of-the-century continental flamboyant eclectic.
Ornate Portuguese tiles cover the floor. The light fixtures are from France. The makeover at the Colombo reflected the broader urban renewal that had overtaken Rio de Janeiro around the turn of the century. Visiting in October 1913, former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt noted that since the declaration of the Brazilian republic in 1889, Rio de Janeiro had been converted “from a picturesque pest-hole into a singularly beautiful, healthy, clean, and efficient modern great city.”
Lunch — Confeitaria Colombo. NOT INCLUDED.
Biblioteca Nacional — The National Library of Brazil traces its origins to the library created by Dom José I, King of Portugal, to replace the Royal Library destroyed in the fire that followed the great Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755.
Fleeing from the invading French armies, then prince regent Dom João VI, Queen Maria I, the rest of the royal family, and most of the Portuguese nobility left Lisbon for Brazil in November 1807. They brought with them the Royal Library, which at the time consisted of approximately 60,000 items, including books, manuscripts, prints, maps, coins, and medals.
After Brazil’s independence, in 1822 the Library became the property of the Brazilian Empire. The Library contains the biggest documentary collection in Latin America and is one of the ten largest national libraries in the world. Its main collection, as well as various specialized collections, is available to researchers and the academic community.
The National Library uses the most modern information technology to offer access to its collections and provide services to individuals.
Teatro Municipal — Part of the urbanistic project designed to embellish the country’s capital in early 20th century, the Teatro Municipal is one of the most elegant buildings in Rio.
Built between 1905 e 1909 the project by architect Francisco de Oliveira Passos was inspired in the Paris Opera.
Its sumptuous interior decoration matches the exterior imposing façade. Built of fine colored Carrara marble, bronze and onyx, it is outfitted with mirrors and period furniture, paintings by Visconti and sculptures by Bernadelli.
The Assirius Restaurant in the basement is decorated with Assyrian motifs.
Arturo Toscanini, Sarah Bernhardt, Bidu Sayão, Eliane Coelho, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Alexander Brailowsky are just some of the artists who have performed at the Teatro Municipal.
The Municipal is the only Brazilian Theatre to house an orchestra, a ballet and a chorus.
REAL GABINETE PORTUGUÊS DE LEITURA
Real Gabinete Português de Leitura — A temple to books. This building is a late 19th century imitation of early 16th century Manuelina Architecture (after Portuguese king Manuel I), “characterized by plastic exuberance, naturalism, robustness, dynamic curves and reliance on motives inspired by maritime flora and seafaring of the Age of Discoveries.” The interior of Real Gabinete Português is four stories tall, capped with a stained-glass cupola and illuminated by an elaborate chandelier. The reading room contains over 350,000 volumes, many of them from the 17th and 18th centuries. Amongst them a rare 1572 edition of Luís de Camões’ “Os Lusíadas.”