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The middle-to upper-class neighborhood of Jardim Botanico surrounds its namesake park (literally meaning ‚botanical garden‘), created in 1808 and open to the public since 1819.

Located in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), its neighbors include Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Gávea.

Flanked by mountains, these lush, green environs are pleasa nt to walk around . Most sites of interest are on Rua jardim Botanico and Rua Pacheco Leão, including shops, artist studios, galleries, and restaurants.

There are plenty of taxis and buses in the area, especially on Rua Jardim Botanico.

Map of Jardim Botanico RJ

Map of Jardim Botanico RJ

1 JARDIM BOTANICO

More than 8,000 species of plants make this park one of the ten most important botanical gardens in the world. Created by Dom João shortly after the Portuguese royal family moved to Brazil in 1808, Jardim Botanico was named a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 1992.

It is almost impossible to remain unmoved by the imperial palms and enormous paumulato trees covering these lovely 338 acres.

Don’t miss the orquidário (orchid garden), with approximately 1,000 different species of orchids, many of them rare. The giant Amazon water lilies in Lago Frei Leandro (Frei Leandro Lake) lend it the nickname Lago da Vitória Régia.

And just beyond Café Botanico lies the cactário (cactus garden), reopened to the public after ten years.

Other garden highlights include the old gunpowder factory Museu Casa dos Pilões and the pediment of the former Escola de Belas Artes (School of Fine Arts), designed by Grandjean de Montigny and brought here after the school was demolished in the city center in 1938.

Eco and Narciso, the two sculptures by master sculptor Mestre Valentim, are some of the artist’s first to be cast in Brazil.

The central fountain, designed by Herbert W. Hogg in cast iron, was brought to Brazil in 1895 and transferred from Lapa Square to Jardim Botanico in 1905.

Recent additions to the park include the Caminho da Mata Atlantica (Atlantic Forest Trail) and the Jardim dos Beija-Flores (Hummingbird Garden) with more than fifty species of plants to attract the fluttering flock.

A walk along the „trilha da floraҫao“ („flowering trail“), offers a look at several flowering species. Be sure to book this and other guided visits in advance. The Associaҫão de Amigos (Friends‘ Association) organizes a monthly bird-watching excursion during the weekend. If you’re a fan, Jardim Botanico is one of your best bets for sightings.

A cultural center dedicated to Tom Jobim, a great admirer of the Jardim Botanico, houses the artist’s digital and audiovisual collection. Espaҫo Cultural Tom Jobim comprises 10,000 items, from texts to photos, musical scores to films.

A permanent exhibition displays photos, essay excerpts, biographies, statements, and CD covers.

Every two weeks, the garden’s Sabados Musicais (Musical Saturdays) attract visitors to an on-site theatre with a variety of jazz, traditional samba, and MPB (popular Brazilian music).

While you’re down this way, head toward the Tijuca Forest.You’ll stumble upon a rustic, heritage-listed workers‘ villa, where contemporary artists such as Gabriela Machado, Adriana Varejão, and Beatriz Milhazes have their studios (Unfortunately the artists‘ spaces are not open to the public.).

Take the Estrada Dona Castorina, the road to Tijuca National Park to visit Impa (National Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics), an important scientific research institution. Rua Jardim Botanico, 1008, Jardim Botanico.

2 HORTO FLORESTAL

Next door to the Jardim Botanico, this plant nursery sells more than 400 types of seedlings, including fruit trees, exotic species, and trees typical of the Atlantic forest and the Amazon.

Inside Horto Florestal is Solar da Imperatriz (The Empress‘ Mansion), built in 1750. The current name came about when Dom Pedro I gave the mansion to his wife as a present in 1829. Its current occupant, the Escola Nacional de Botanica Tropical (National School of Tropical Botany), is one of the largest botanical institutions in the country, with an even more impressive roster of researcher graduates.

The school boasts a computerized herbarium, with more than 300,000 records of Brazilian and world species of flora, with an emphasis on the Atlantic forest and the Amazon. Rua Pacheco Leão, 2040, Jardim Botanico.

3 PARQUE LAGE

Amidst Lage Park’s lush greenery sits a large 20th -century mansion built by Italian architect Mario Vrodet for ship chandler Henrique Lage, husband of lyrical singer Gabriela Bezanzoni Lage.

Surrounded by 43 acres of gardens, the mansion’s interior features beautiful marble-faced walls, floors, and bathrooms. Look for the rare art deco bathtub in one of the women’s bathrooms. It was used on the set of the 1969 film Macunaíma.

When you arrive at the inner courtyard, cast your eyes toward the sky for a glimpse of the unforgettable Christ statue. The mansion also houses the Escola de Artes Visuais (Visual Arts School), now three decades old.

After your tour, grab a snack after Café du Lage, which serves a popular breakfast on weekends with live instrumental music.

In 2000, the Cavalariҫas exhibition space was opened in the old stable. The gallery hosts several contemporary artists throughout the year. Make sure you go for a stroll through the exuberant gardens while you’re there. Rua Jardim Botanico, 414, Jardim Botanico.

JARDIM BOTANICO FOR ALL TASTES

Jardim Botanico has a wealth of interesting shops, including bookstores, fa shion boutiques, arts-and-crafts stores, charming art studios – even a place to listen to good MPB (Brazilian pop).

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head for one of the area’s many distinct eateries. Dining options abound at small bistros, taverns, cafes, sophisticated and casual hotspots, and ice cream parlors. The following is a small taste of what you’ll find.

ARTISTS VILLA AND ARTS CIRCUIT

At the end of R.ua Engenheiro Pena Chaves (near Rua Lopes Quintas) sits a quaint villa of colorful dwellings, home to about 10 artist studios.

Once the site of a major industrial textile fac tory, the area now supports lush greenery and the bargain-hunting curiousity of tourist and local alike.

Each artist hawks his or her specialt; Claudia Melli, paintings and drawings; Lincoln José, small artisan crafts and trinkets; Bia Amaral, paintings and intaglio prints; Sueli Fefer, paintings and antiques; Thereza and Paula Lino, costume jewelry; and Renata and Lucio Tapajós, mosaic, marquetry, and silver jewelry.

Come on a Thursday, between 2pm and 6pm, because studios keep irregular hours during the rest of the week (Rua Engenheiro Pena Chaves, 6, Jardim Botanico).

Sometime between June and August, more than 50 village artists open their studios to passersby for the annual threeday Circuito das Artes do Jardim Botanico (Jardim Botanico Arts Circuit). Begun in 1997, the event also features lessons in pottery, painting, photography – even cooking and music.

A TOUR OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE

The modernists left an impressive mark on Jardim Botanico. Resting between Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and Rua Jardim Botanico, Hospital da Lagoa boasts Rio de Janeiro’s first V-shaped columns, a structural technique allowing for better space management.

Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Hélio Uchoa and completed in 1952, the site’s lower block, facing the lake, has a curved faҫade and glass walls (Rua Jardim Botanico, 501).

Near the hospital is Igreja de São José (right photo), a montage of glass mosaic tiles, aluminum, and dark windows built between 1961 and 1964 with design by Edgard Fonceca´(Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 2735).

The ramp to Edifício Antonio Ceppas goes to the ground floor, replete with curves in the gardens and wall facings. Designed by Jorge Machado Moreira in 1946, the complex displays apartments of all shapes and sizes like works of art, accented with tiles by Burle Marx (Rua Benjamin Batista, 180).

Two addresses on Rua Joaquim Campos Porto also exhibit dazzling modernist lines. Numbers 441 and 457, built in 1966, were designed by the Pontual Arquitetos Associados to mimic the slope of the land. The barrel-vaulted roofs and exposed bricks you’ll see were typical of residential architecture at the time.

Jardim Botanico travel guide and tourism information such as festivals, maps, activities and attractions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Brazil Travel Guide

 
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