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Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, is one of the largest and most important cities on the northeastern coast of Brazil.

The city, which is only two meters above sea level (some parts are below), is distributed across rivers, canals and islands. Due to the prevalence of waterways in its geography, Recife is known as Veneza Brasileira (Brazilian Venice). Its 1.5 million inhabitants (3.5 million in the Grande Recife) are called recifenses. Services are the base of the economy.

Born on the quays out of a natural anchorage spot, Recife began to expand beyond its coastal borders in 1537, giving rise to the modern-day neighborhoods of Santo Antonio and São Jose. In 1630, when the Dutch invaded the state, enslaved workforces operated 121 sugarcane plantations.

The plantations along the Capibaribe River gave rise to such neighborhoods as Graҫas, Madalena, and Casa Forte.

Becoming familiar with the history of Recife is best accomplished through guided tours, where you’ll learn of its evolution from marshland – the Rio Capibaribe flows through the city – to the commercial center it is today.

It also means enjoying the sun on the city beaches and those in the surrounding area, extending for 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Maria Farinha to Candeias. The best accommodation and services can be found in Boa Viagem, in the neighborhood of the same name.

The neighboring cities, so close they can be reached in a few minutes from the city center, complement what the capital has to ofter. The best views of Recife are those from lookout points in Olinda, just 7 kilometers (4 miles) to the north. Locals frequent Olinda bars, popular spots in Boa Viagem, and the neighborhood of Recife in equal measure.

For an idea of monthly events in Recife, consult the Agenda Cultural, a small booklet available from the Centro de Informaҫões Turísticas tourist center (Rua da Guia).

South of the capital is the metropolitan Jaboatão dos Guararapes. In addition to its upstanding seafront hotels, the city is home to Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres dos Montes Guararapes.

The church was built in 1782 on the site where Northeast colonists expelled the Dutch in 1654.

Map of Recife Pernambuco Brazil

Map of Recife Pernambuco Brazil

Map of Pernambuco Brazil

Detailed Map of the State of Pernambuco


Locals and visitors alike frequent the sands of Pina and Boa Viagem, as well as the neighboring Piedade and Candeias beaches in Jaboatão dos Guararapes.

Boa Viagem leads the pack as best area beach, with a promenade featuring jogging paths and good eateries and restroom facilities. Young people congregate between Rua Felix de Brito and Rua Antonio Faldo, in front of the Acaiaca building.

Pay attention to signs indicating where shark attacks occur, and remember surfing is prohibited. Our advice is to enjoy the sea only at low tide, and never cross the reef barrier.


Swimming and surfing can be dangerous sports at the Pina and Boa Viagem beaches of Recife, and at Piedade and Candeias in Jaboatão dos Guararapes.

Data from the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco lists 44 attacks by bull sharks and tiger sharks since 1992.

Thirteen attacks were fatal. Most attacks occur on Boa Viagem beach, which experts attribute to an ecological imbalance caused by construction of the Suape port in the 1980s.

Danger zones are marked along the shoreline. Swimming is permitted during low tide and in the more shallow inland pools, but forbidden beyond the protective reefs.


Catamaran trips down the Rio Capibaribe oiler an unusual and thorough tour of central Recife areas.

Boats embark at Forte das Cinco Pontas and pass through the neighborhoods of Recife’s origin, from Ilha de Santo Antonio and Ilha de São Jose islands to Boa Vista. You’ll pass under the Ponte Mauricio de Nassau and Ponte Buarque de Macedo, bridges restored at the beginning of the 20th century.

The trip continues past the Paҫo Alfandega monument, erected in 1826, and the 18th century Igreja da Madre de Deus church, skirting the Praҫa da Republica square until the Rio Capibaribe intersects the Rio Beberibe.

The tour ends at Casa da Cultura cultural center, among the multicolored houses of Rua da Aurora.


Forte do Brum rests at the entrance to the port of Recife (Praҫa Comunidade Luso-Brasileira, Recife Antigo).

The Portuguese completed this structure of wattle and daub in 1629, only to see it stormed by the Dutch one year later. Following the invaders‘ expulsion in 1654, the fortress was rebuilt of stone.

Dutch Military erected their Forte de São Tiago das Cinco Pontas (Praҫa Cinco Pontas, São José), originally named Forte Frederik Hendrik, upon invading Brazil in 1630. Following Portuguese victory years later, locals rebuilt the then-demolished fort in stone, with a chapel dedicated to São Tiago.

The nearby Museu da Cidade archives an interesting collection of antiquated Recife maps and photographs.

Map of Recife Historical Center

Map of Recife Historical Center


Recife’s historical center, also called the Bairro de Recife or Recife Antigo, lies along a narrow strip of land between the Capibaribe River and the Atlantic Ocean.

A total of 39 bridges cross the many canals and form a tropical Venice. A journey on foot is still the best bet for exploring the many influences of Recife’s historical center, including several examples of Dutch and French architecture along with a blend of modern interventions.

The Dutch presence in the city is strong, and of the urban development at the beginning of the 20th century, gave the Recife a French touch. This is where you will find Porto do Recife, a port never without the whistle of a departing ship, besides all the forts, colonial mansions, museums, and churches.

Take your time and enjoy the ice cream parlors and restaurants, and try fruit juices and coconut milk, which venders sell at almost every corner.


Officially named Praҫa Barão do Rio Branco, Marco Zero (Ground Zero) marks the intersection of three major boulevards: Marques de Olinda, Rio Branco, and Barbosa Lima Avenues.

The roundabout oilers a good vantage point for viewing the sea from amid the hustle and bustle of the city. These 20th century avenues are laid out in a Parisian urban planning style.

Notable sites surrounding the square include the Instituto Cultural Bandepe cultural art center, built in 1914 and restored in 2002, a cultural center that holds seasonal art exhibitions; the Associaҫão Comercial do Recife (trade association), from 1915, and the Bolsa de Valores stock exchange building, established 1912. Celebrated surrealist (and local artist) Cicero Dias (1907-2003) painted the square’s wind rose.


The Parque das Esculturas is a permanent exhibition of sculptures by local painter and sculptor Fran cisco Brennand.

His 32-meter (105 foot) high Coluna de Cristal (Crystal Column) rises above the other artworks. Along the day the park is accessible by boat from Marco Zero, it was built on a reef opposite to the site.

Another way to get there is by car from the Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood. Beside the park the Casa de Banho (Arrecifes do Porto de Recife, Km 1, Brasília Teimosa) bar offers a picturesque view of Recife, better yet when served with a cold beer and caldinho de sururu (shellfish broth).

The bar’s name (Bathhouse) refers to the community clubs of yesteryear, where locals swam together among the reefs.


During the Dutch occupation of Recife (1630- 1654), the trade concetrated center Rua do Bom Jesus was known as Rua dos Judeus (Jew Street). The end of Dutch occupation also marked the end of religious tolerance.

Today, the street displays an eclectic style of well-preserved colorful buildings with balconies and protective turrets, accented by the occasional restaurant or bar with sidewalk tables.

Empório Bom Jesus (183-A) sells tapioca and bolo-de-rolo (jelly rolls) alongside Brazilian handicrafts.

Galerias serves a traditional malted milk. The collection at Ranulpho Galeria de Arte (125, ground floor) encompasses works by Volpi, Siron Franco, and Lula Cardoso Ayres.

The gallery also exhibits ruins of a stone wall the Dutch built to protect the city. On Sunday afternoons Rua do Bom Jesus is home to a bustling market with scores of stalls that offer an array of goods, from clothes to home décor to biscuits and cakes.


The first synagogue in the Americas was rediscovered after detailed archaeological work in the 18th century. Closed down in 1654 and recently restored in 2002, it serves as a memorial to the Jewish presence in Pernambuco during the Dutch occupation.

Visitors to the Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel – „Rock of Israel“ will observe the synagogue’s walls as intact as they were when the building closed in 1654. Also note the mikve, a kind of pool used for Jewish purification rituals. Rua do Bom Jesus, 197 and 203, Recife Antigo.


Temporary art and photography exhibitions occupy three floors of the Observatório Cultural Torre Malakoff, but the real treat of this 19th century tower is the view from the top.

On one side, the masts of ships at anchor form a screen against the backdrop of the horizon. On the other, old buildings rise from the city’s historic center.

A telescope is available for stargazers whose sights aim a bit more heavenly than the Recife seaside. Great to visit on a full moon evening. Praҫa do Arsenal, Recife Antigo.


Joaquim Lopes de Barros Cabral Teive (1816-1892) designed the limestone faҫade carved in Portugal, triangular lintels, and curved balconies of the Teatro Apolo, a fine example of 19th century architecture.

Shortly after the theater opened in 1846, competition with the neighboring Teatro Santa Isabel in 1850 caused Apolo owners to shut its doors.

It served as a warehouse for more than a century. Now restored, the theater houses one of the most comfortable cinemas and show venues in Recife. Rua do Apolo, 121, Recife Antigo.


Portuguese Sephardic Jews and Ashkenazi Jews moved here from Poland and Germany to escape the Inquisition, and they welcomed the arrival of the Dutch in Recife in 1630.

Count Maurits of Nassau, the Calvinist governor of Dutch Brazil, established considerable religious tolerance in the colony, in accordance with the values of The Dutch West India Company. Jews engaged in trade on Rua do Bom Jesus (then the Rua dos Judeus), where the Zur Israel Synagogue was built in 1636.

Portuguese Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseca arrived to preside over the temple in 1641. It was Fonseca who, while in Recife, wrote the first piece of Hebrew literature in the Americas. His poem, “Mi Kamókha“ (Who Is like Thee), tells of the Insurreiҫão Pernambucana (a Portuguese campaign to regain Brazilian territory) and the dire poverty the Jewish community faced when the Portuguese expelled the Dutch.

More than 400 Jews returned to Holland following expulsion of Dutch troops from Brazil in 1654.

Twenty three of them fled to New Amsterdam, the future New York City. There they formed the colonies‘ first Jewish community. Rabbi Fonseca moved to Amsterdam and opened a Portuguese synagogue in 1675.


Carnival on the streets of Recife is one of the most democratic and diverse parties in the country. It begins a week before the actual holiday, when frevo and maracatu groups hold open rehearsals in clubs or even on the streets.

The Bloco da Saudade carnival group has brought new life to old traditions with its women’s choir and pau e corda orchestra (featuring string and woodwind instruments) since 1974, hosting very nostalgic, lively Carnival dances every year.

On Carnival Friday in Recife more than 400 percussionists from 11 maracatu musical groups (called naҫões) in Recife play side by side under percussionist Naná Vasconcelos‘ direction.

Rehearsals for the opening ceremony of Carnival festivities can be attended during the whole previous week at the city’s Marco Zero.

Saturday morning brings Galo da Madrugada , when more than two million people take over the streets of Santo Antonio, São Jose, and Boa Vista.

The Galo is the largest, if not the most crowded, street Carnival group in the world. Several Recife hotspots keep the party alive from Saturday onward.

Patio de São Pedro courtyard presents traditional song and dance such as coco de roda, afoxé, ciranda, and frevo.

The Cais da Alfandega quays become a stage for the Rec Beat festival, featuring popular names from the Brazilian rock and electronic scenes.

Among the performances are musicians involved with the mangue beat movement, a combination of regional and imported rhythms originally developed by Chico Science (1966 – 1997) and his Naҫão Zumbi.

Samba school parades march down Avenida Guararapes. On Monday Pátio do Terҫo hosts Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos (Night of the Silent Drums).

Praҫa do Arsenal, in Recife, is the departure point for many blocos (groups) representing traditions such as maracatu, cabo, and the powerful, infectious rhythm of frevo.

A program of Carnival events is released in advance every year and available at tourist information offices in Recife.


Priests from the Congregation of the Oratory (called Oratorians) completed work on the Igreja Concatedral da Madre Deus in 1720.

Its original design being from 1679 though. Now a National Heritage Site, the cathedral comprises a nave and six side chapels.

Fire damage destroyed the 18th century baroque ceiling carvings in 1970, but IPHAN, a government institution, has since restored them. The sacristy’s Estremoz marble font is one of the finest in Brazil. Rua da Alfandega (Rua madre de Deus), Recife Antigo.


Originally built on the Capibaribe River to house Oratorians, the Paҫo Alfandega is now a National Heritage Site. It became the Pernambuco Customs building in 1826, and opened as a shopping mall at the end of 2003, after careful restoration work.

Forty-six stores keep the mall chock-full of designer labels, including Fause Haten and Herchcovitch.

Ana Paes sells clothes trimmed with hand-crafted lace and fuxico (flower appliques made from leftover scraps of material).

The highlight of the ground floor is the bookshop Livraria Cultura and, on the third floor, Espaҫo Cultural Banco do Brasil cultural center hosts regular film screenings. Rua da Alfangega, 35, Bairro do Recife.


Founded in the mid-17th century, the Santo Antonio, São Jose, and Boa Vista neighborhoods are home to important architecture, including the buildings that first formed Praҫa da República square and Patio de São Pedro courtyard.

Most of Recife’s historical churches are also here, such as the Igreja do Divino Espirito Santo of 1641.

Long walks are a great way to explore the narrow streets and of these neighborhoods and their Capibaribe River views.

Mercado de São Jose, the city’s trading post beside the Basilica de Nossa Senhora da Penha church (1880-1920) , bustles with the liveliness and cheer of the Recife people.


Formerly on the grounds of Count Maurits of Nassau’s gardens, the park at Praҫa da República covers 23,000 square meters (250,000 square feet).

The state’s government offices at Palácio do Campo das Princesas (1840) surround the square. The Palácio do Campo das Princesas (1840), Teatro Santa Isabel (1850), Palácio da Justiҫa (1928), and the Liceu de Artes e Oficios (1880), architectual gems inspired by French neo-classicism, complete the scene.

French naturalist Emile Bérenger designed the park’s gardens in 1875. Brazilian landscape artist Roberto Burle Max remodeled the square just 60 years later.

An enormous African baoab tree (Adansonia digitata) looms impressively over the square, though the date of its planting remains unknown.


French engineer Louis Léger Vauthier designed the classic pink faҫade and distinct archways of Teatro Santa Isabel.

Destroyed by fire in 1869, this National Heritage Site received a full blown restoration that included columns and iron parapets. A statue of the architect Vauthier stands at the building’s entrance. Praҫa da República, Santo Antonio.


Formerly a marshland along the left bank of the Capibaribe River, the Rua da Aurora faces east, and gets its name from the first rays of the rising sun that grace the street at dawn (aurora). On the opposite bank is Rua do Sol, bathed in sunlight at dusk.
The engineer who designed the nearby Secretaria de Seguranҫa Publica (Department of Public Safety) , former residence of the Count of Boa Vista , in 1842 also lent his hands to construction of the Santa Isabel Theater.

Another institution of note is the Ginásio Pernambucano, built in 1885 and now the oldest operating school in the state. The 1920s witnessed the construction of the city’s first apartment buildings, including Montreal, Capibaribe and lemanjá.


Housed in a charming manor on the Rua da Aurora, the collection at Museu de Arte Moderna Aloísio Magalhães (MAMAM) comprises nine hundred works and includes pieces by the likes of Alex Flemming, João Camara, Francisco Brennand.

Local artist Aloísio de Magalhães (1927-1982) lent his talent to the lobby’s tiled mural – and earned himself a permanent place in the Museum. Rua da Aurora, 265, Boa Vista.


Cine São Luiz is the oldest movie theater in Recife.

Outfitted with 1,200 seats, the main auditorium features stained-glass panels on either side of the silver screen. The large iron and glass doors at the theater’s entrance remain intact from its opening in 1952, reminiscent of a time when evening dress for filmgoers was mandatory.

A lobby mural by native Recife painter Lula Cardoso Ayres (1910-1987) welcomes visitors. Rua da Aurora, 175, Boa Vista.


After authorities decommissioned the Casa de Detenҫão de Recife (Recife’s prison) in 1973, local merchants converted the penitentiary’s 156 cells into this arts and crafts center.

Ceramics from Alto do Moura, embroidery from Passira, clay pieces from Tracunhaém, and out-of-print books are among the good for sale. Rua Floriano Peixoto, São José.


Markets in Recife are a synthesis of the flavors, smells, and colors of Pernambuco. Though French engineer Victor Lieutier designed Mercado de São José (Praҫa Dom Vital, São José) after traditional Parisian markets, its 46 pavilions sell authentic Pernambucan cuisine.

You’ll also find statues depicting Orixás of the Xango (as Candomblé is called in Recife). In addition, you can find arts and crafts from the Zona da Mata, agreste and sertão regions of Pernambuco, including traditional toys, straw baskets, hammocks, and embroidered tablecloths.

While the Mercado de São Jose attracts customers from around the globe, Mercado de Casa Amarela (Estrada do Arraial, 4000, Casa Amarela) and Mercado da Madalena (Rua Real da Torre, Madalena) draw a more local, low- profile crowd. Mercado de Casa Amarela is the second iron structure built in Recife.

In 1930 the market was dismantled and moved from Caxangá to its present site. The Mercado da Madalena, formerly known as Mercado Bacurau because its bars honored patrons until the early morning hours (the bacurau is a nocturnal bird), is still the haunt of the city’s bohemians, when its bars serve hot macaxeira (manioc) with chicken stew or roasted cheese as an end-of- the-night breakfast.


Its lone bell tower goes almost unnoticed amidst the neon signs of the most commercial street in Recife.

The real wealth of this church, however, is hidden inside: a statue of Nossa Senhora da Conceiҫão (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), rests on an altar of rococo carvings in white and gold. Paintings of the Virgin Mary cover the ceiling, one of which portrays her pregnant and surrounded by angels.

A mural above the choir depicts the Batalha dos Guararapes battle between Dutch and Portuguese forces in 1648.

This National Heritage Site, was built in the 18th century by the lrmandade dos Sargentos e Soldados do Terҫo da Infantaria da Guarniҫão de Recife, a local military brotherhood. Rua Nova, 309, Santo Antonio.


Highlights of the 18th century Basilica and Convento de Nossa Senhora do Carmo include the main chapel ceiling painted in blue and gold, completed in 1767, and the altar, where the same colors are applied to rococo carvings.

The high ceilings create space for the balconies with their ornate balustrades, which encircle the whole nave; the balconies themselves contain paintings with richly carved borders.

Built on the former site of the Palacio Boa Vista, the Igreja de Santa Teresa da Ordem Terceira do Carmo features a rococo frontispiece that dates back to 1803 and a ceiling divided in 40 gilded tiles, each depicting a scene from the life of Saint Teresa. Avenida Dantas Barreto, Santo Antonio.


Those hoping to escape the bustle of Praҫa da Independencia can seek solitude at this nearby cathedral, also called Santissimo Sacramento.

Built between 1753 and 1790, the church combines baroque touches with elements introduced in later renovations, such as the19th century ceiling painting by Sebastião da Silva Tavares. Praҫa da Independencia, Santo Antonio.


The greatest example of baroque architecture in Recife is the richly decorated, 18th century Capela Dourada. Gold leaf adorns the altar, walls, and ceiling.

Now a National Heritage Site belonging to the Convento Franciscano, the complex also includes the Igreja de Santo Antonio church and the old Hospital dos Terceiros Franciscanos.

The nearby Museu Franciscano de Arte Sacra exhibits religious art from the 18th century. Rua do Imperador Dom Pedro II, Santo Antonio.


Rows of colorful, turreted houses form the Patio de São Pedro, one of few courtyards reminiscent of colonial Brazil. The striking stone farҫade of the Concatedral de São Pedro dos Clerigos dominates the square, which is a National Heritage Site.

Today, bars and restaurants occupy the old one- and two-storied houses. Buraquinho serves traditional northeastern dishes and Casa do Carnaval explores the study of regional folklore. On Tuesday nights, Patio de São Pedro becomes a stage for Terҫa-Feira Negra, a musical event promoting Afro-Brazilian culture.


Built between 1739 and 1777 as a place of worship for slaves, the Igreja do Rosario dos Pretos is predominantly rococo in style. The entire church is protected by the historic preservation group Iphan.

The faҫade is decorated with stone carving of exceptional quality. The highlight of the interior is a fine statue of the Virgin, most likely dating from the 18th century.

The church is best known in Recife as the departure point for the traditional Cortejo do Rei do Congo (Royal Procession of the King of Congo).

This ritual procession originated with slaves brought from Africa to work on sugar plantations in colonial-era Pernambuco. The creation of the procession and its attendant rituals mark the origin of the maracatu tradition in Recife.


Every year on the Monday of Carnaval, throngs of maracatu groups and other celebrants gather in the courtyard of the 18th century Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Terҫo to pay tribute to blacks who died in the days of slavery.

They pound away on their drums all day and all night, with one exception. At midnight, all the drums stop and the lights are turned off, as the crowd observes a moment of silence to symbolically commemorate the colonial- era prohibition against African cultural and religious practices.

This tradition is known as maracatu naҫão to differentiate Recife’s customs from the rural practice of maracatu that originated in the Zona da Mata area.

Though locals have only gathered to celebrate this specific event since 1968, the tradition of maracatu-naҫão can be traced back to 1650.

Another aspect of the tradition is meant to enact through music and dance the coronation ceremony of an African king and queen.

Ironically, however, the accompanying procession more closely matches European royal traditions. The procession is also known as the Cortejo do Rei Congo (Royal Procession of the King of Congo) because a majority of the slaves that were brought to Brazil came from the Congo.


The neighborhoods farther from the center (and coast) of Recife are traditionally called „arredores“ (surrounding areas) , though they are still part of the city. These developed from farms and sugar plantation lands along the Capibaribe River, which still preserve a country atmosphere as in the Poҫo na Panela and Apipucos neighborhoods.

Here visitors will find some of Recife’s most important museums, such as the Museu do Homem do Nordeste (Museum of Northeastern People).

Nearby Várzea boasts Oficina Francisco Brennand, a pottery workshop in the former São João sugar plantation.


Writer Manuel Bandeira (1886- 1968) spent his childhood in this house. An exhibit of the poet’s personal possessions is available for perusal.

The museum’s name refers to one of his most famous poems. Pasargada is a virtual kingdom, where the poet could do everything he couldn’t do in real life. There is also a bookshop on site. Rua da União, 263, Bela Vista.


The Baron of Beberibe’s family owned this 19th century mansion prior to its preservation as a national treasure.

Though the museum is currently under renovation, most of its collection has been transferred to the Espaҫo Cicero Dias annex, opened in 2003. Chinese and English porcelain, 17th and 18th century furniture, paintings by Telles Júnior, and ritual Candomblé objects are among the objects on display. Avenida Rui Barbosa, 960, Graҫas.


Nineteenth-century buildings line the cobblestone streets of this neighborhood, built on the former grounds of the Casa Forte sugar plantation along the Capibaribe River.

Dating back to 1772, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Saude church (Rua Real do Poҫo), stands out amidst Imperial palms.

Cold beer and cheese sandwiches are made to order at Mercearia do Vital, right on the church square, where sidewalk tables offer a calm respite to match your surroundings.


Formerly a farm on the banks of the Capibaribe River, the charming Parque da Jaqueira is among the city’s most enchanting places.

Jackfruit, olive, and jambo trees ornament the 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) jogging path that skirts the park, which also features designated areas for cycling and roller skating and a children’s playground .

An 18th century chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceiҫão (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) but known as the Capela da Jaqueira, shares the premises, and houses murals depicting the story of Saint Joseph.

The chapel’s altarpiece and pulpit have gold covered rococo carvings. Roberto Burle Marx designed a garden to enhance the park, now a National Heritage Site, in 1970. Avenida Rui Barbosa, Jaqueira.


Two galleries in Recife offer visitors a view of the contemporary art production in Pernambuco.

Galeria Amparo 60 (Avenida Domingos Ferreira, 92, Boa Viagem) exhibits works by some of the most reputable contemporary artists in Recife and Olinda, such as Christina Machado, Rinaldo, José Patrício, and Paulo Meira.

Galeria Mariana Moura (Avenida Rui Barbosa, 735, Graҫas), showcases talent from Marcelo Silveira, Gil Vicente, Alexandre Nóbrega, and Janine Toledo, among others.


The Brennand family turned this former colonial sugar plantation into a ceramics factory in 1971. Artist Francisco Brennand presides over the grounds, magically landscaped with sculptures, gardens, lakes with black swans.

Roberto Bude Marx designed the square that separates Brennand’s workshop from the Academia, an area dedicated to Francisco’s permanent collection of paintings and drawings.

Visits may be arranged in advance and will take a whole afternoon. A pleasant cafe with a small store complements the visit. Propriedade Santos Cosme, access via Avenida Caxangá, Várzea.


Count Maurits of Nassau arrived in Recife in 1637, accompanied by an entourage of 46 scholars that included, among others, naturalists Georg Marcgrave and Willem Piso. While Marcgrave compiled the first compendiums of the fauna and flora of the new continent, painters Frans Post (1612- 1680) and Albert Eckhout (1610-1665) recorded the landscape and inhabitants of Pernambuco in minute detail, especially the Indians and black slaves.

The efforts of Nassau’s group resulted in an unprecedented historic and scientific heritage. Eckhout left a collection of eight huge paintings of Brazilian peoples, several smaller oils-on-canvas, watercolors, and drawings of plants. Post’s oil depictions of Frederik Hendrik Fort, renamed the Cinco Pontas Fort can be found at the Ricardo Brennand Institute.


Francisco’s cousin, Ricardo Brennand, opened his eponymous learning center, the Instituto Ricardo Brennand, in 2002.

The two Gothic buildings look like a medieval castle. It houses the Institute’s Castelo (castle), Pinacoteca (art gallery), and Biblioteca (library).

The exceptional collection comprises valuable paintings, maps, manuscripts, books, and coins produced over the 24 years the Dutch occupied the Northeast. Among the highlights are 17 canvasses by Frans Post, including a depiction of the Frederik Hendrik Fort of 1630, and a trove of medieval arms and armor. Alameda Antonio Brennand, Várzea.


The Museu do Homem do Nordeste offers an excellent opportunity to learn the origins of northeastern culture. Owned by the Fundaҫão Joaquim Nabuco foundation and operated since 1979, the museum is divided into three exhibits: „Aҫucar“ (Sugar) illustrates the historical and technological aspects of sugarcane cultivation; „Oh de Casa!“ (Anyone Home?), showcases decorative and utilitarian objects essential to life in the Northeast; and „Antropologia“ (Anthropology) features articles inspired by folklore and religion. Avenida 17 de Agosto, 2187, Casa Forte.


The controversial anthropologist Gilberto Freyre published 89 books in his lifetime about Brazilian and northeastern society. The author of the 1933 classic Casa-Grande & Senzala (published in English as The Masters and the Slaves), today in its 50th edition, lived and wrote in this house, which he nicknamed Vivenda Santo Antonio de Apipucos.

The Fundaҫão Gilberto Freyre library shelves titles from an array of topics and features distinct Portuguese tiled murals. Rua Dois Irmãos, 320, Apipucos.

Recife travel Guide and tourism information such as accommodation, festivals, transport, maps, activities and attractions in Recife, Brazil – Brazil Travel Guide

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