Aristocratic South Zone

This tour wishes visitors to know part of the buildings and constructions that prominent Brazilians erected throughout the XVIIth, XVIIIth XIXth and XXth centuries in the Wonderful City´s south zone.

9:00 – Meeting at Outeiro da Gloria.

The best is to go by taxi, but there is a subway station (Gloria) and a chairlift (elevator) at Luiz de Camões square that take one to the Outeiro.

Gloria is the bucolic district of the start of Rio´s South Zone. Therein we know the most famous Catholic chapel of the city: that of Our Lady of Glory of Outeiro, the one of the namesake brotherhood.

The congregation of lay believers devoted to Our Lady begins at around 1671, when a hermit called Antonio Caminha sets an oratorical with the wood image of the Virgin of Glory on the Outeiro — a very Portuguese word that designates the “ top of the altar” and which in this specific case indicates the top of a “sacred” hill.

The brotherhood of Outeiro da Gloria was established canonically on October 10th 1739, when they finished building the church by a temporary act of the Bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Dom Frei Antonio de Guadalupe (1672-1740) in response to a petition from the brothers. The church earned enormous prestige at the arrival of the Portuguese Court in 1808. The Royal Family had a special preference for the church. In 1819 Princess Dona Maria da Gloria — the future Dona Maria II of Portugal (1819-1853) — was brought by her grandfather Dom João VI (1767-1826) to the consecration ceremony.

Thereof all members of the Brazilian Royalty were consecrated to Our Lady of Glory of the Outeiro. The rector of the church and chaplain to the brothers of Our Lady is Mons. Sergio Costa Couto, a honorary member of IDII who can welcome us.

For further information about the history of the Brotherhood, access (only Portuguese).

10:00 – Visit to Catete Palace, home of the Barons of Nova Friburgo and Counts of São Clemente, converted into official seat of the Presidency of the Republic in 1897.

It was planned by German architect Carl Friedrich Gustav Warhneldt for the rich land and slave owner Antonio Clemente Pinto (1795-1869) born in Ovelha do Marão (Amarante, North of Portugal). The construction officially finished in 1866 but the last works continued for more than a decade.

After the death of the Baron and the Baroness of Nova Friburgo, the Count of São Clemente, their youngest son, sold the Catete estate in 1889 to a group of investors that founded the “International Grand Hotel Company”. This venture however did not succeed in converting the Palace in a luxury hotel.

In 1896, President Prudente José de Moraes e Barros (1841-1902) got ill and at this moment, Vice-President Manuel Vitorino Pereira (1853-1902) took office, bought the Palace and converted it into the seat of government.

Officially, the palace was the Federal Government Seat from February 24, 1897, to 1960 when the capital was transferred to Brasilia.

The palace gardens are a privileged leisure place for Cariocas; they were designed by French landscaper Paul Villon (1841-1905), follower of the director of parks and gardens of the Imperial House of Brazil, Auguste François Marie Glaziou (1833-1906).

The Palace is named today the Republic Museum.

11:30 – Visit to the Brazilian Folklore´s Museum, that honours the memory of

Edison Carneiro (1912-1972), one of our greatest folklorists.

12:00 – Departure from the Folklore Museum

heading to the restaurant where we will have lunch.

13:00-  Largo do Machado (“Machado Place”).

Rio´s historic locality from where we reach the districts of Laranjeiras and Cosme Velho. The Mother Church of Our Lady of Gloria on Machado Place recalls London’s St Martin in the Fields Church. It was inaugurated by Dom Pedro II, Dona Thereza Christina and Dona Isabel.

The 1842 church project is a work by Petropolis colonizer, Major Engineer Julius Friedrich Koeller (1804-1847), and French architect Charles Philippe Garçon Riviere. The exterior, strictly neoclassical, recalls the composition of the temples dedicated to ancient Rome gods as they were rehabilitated by the French Revolution according to the spirit of the Enlightenment. The pagan aspect was criticized when the church was finished in 1872.

At the very Machado Place it is worth noting Amaro Cavalcanti school, restored many times. The school is one of the “Emperor Schools”, that is, centres of public schooling fostered by Dom Pedro II with the initial monies that had been allotted to an equestrian statue in his honour, after Brazil’s victory in the Paraguay War (1864-1870).

Dom Pedro II refused the tribute and ordered building public schools of excellence in teaching and construction. Some of them exist and serve up until today as a landmark in Rio Public Educational System. Amaro Cavalcanti school originally called “School of the locality of Our Lady of Gloria”, was inaugurated by the Imperial Family on April 10th, 1875.

13:30 – Arrival at the Corcovado Railway Station, in Cosme Velho

Inaugurated on October 9th 1884 by Dom Pedro II, it was Brazil first electric railway. The path that takes to Christ the Redeemer Statue was born out of the Emperor passion for the local landscape: from the top of the hill you enjoy a fantastic view of the city. That is, it was the first railway station built in Brazil exclusively for touristic purposes. One can imagine the emotion of the 31,885 passengers that rid the train the following year at the sight of the dense vegetation that follows the tracks.

The railway shows the visitor part of the Atlantic Jungle unfortunately reduced in 93% its 1500´s size.

14:00 – Visiting Christ the Redeemer – Cristo Redentor.

Inaugurated on October 12th 1931, the statue of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer of the Human Kind is the world’s biggest art deco statue and is apparently the biggest image of Christ ever sculpted. It is considered one of the 7 Modern World Wonders. It belongs to the Archbishopric of Rio de Janeiro

Many sites and reports on the internet spread the information that the “idea to honour Christ by building a statue at the top of the Corcovado appears in 1859, with the lazarist priest Pierre Marie Boss, a Belgian missionary”. They add he presented this idea to Dona Isabel — 13 years old at the time and who had not even taken the oath as Princess Imperial, which only occurred on July 29th, 1860.

The Dona Isabel Cultural Institute can fully explain that there are serious errors of dilettantism and lack of research in the entanglement about the history of the beautiful monument, although it is right to say that in 1888 the Regent refused to allow building her statue as the “Redeemeress”, precisely advocating that only to the Sacred Heart of Jesus one could offer such homage.

It is also right that after laying the statue cornerstone — in April 1922 — both Dona Isabel´s daughters-in-law, Dona Elisabeth of Orleans-and- Braganza (1875-1951) and Dona Maria Pia of Brazil (1878-1973), were invited on the 100th  Independence anniversary (September 1922) to go up the Corcovado for a small ceremony to honour the memory of the one who prayed so much this symbol be erected.

Today the Christ the Redeemer is undoubtedly the symbol of Rio de Janeiro and one could say of Brazil.

Access the official site of the shrine:

15:30 – Departure from the Corcovado Railway Station and trip by van towards

the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.

We will note on the way:

Jose de Alencar Square in Flamengo. It honours the greatest XIXth century Brazilian novelist José de Alencar (1829-1877), famous lawmaker politician and journalist born in Ceará (northeast of Brazil).

Rio de Janeiro Methodist Cathedral. Established in the decade of 1870, it is the Protestant Methodist religion seat in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.

São Salvador Square. Erected in the lands of José Alexandre Carneiro Leão (1793-1863), Viscount of São Salvador de Campos, the square is a nook in Flamengo district. There is situated the Senator Correa City School, honouring the memory of Empire´s Senator and Counsellor Manoel Francisco Correa (1831-1905) — a native of Paraná who was an education enthusiast and founded the “Sociedade Promotora da Instrução”, aiming to educate thousands of children in the decade of 1870.

Pinheiro Machado Street and Isabel Palace (Palacio Guanabara at present).

Isabel Palace was the official home of the Redeemeress in Laranjeiras. Construction began on the Isabel Palace in 1853; this was the official home of the Redeemeress in Laranjeiras. The Isabel Palace is now official know as Palácio Guanabara. It had belonged to the Portuguese business man José Machado Coelho, from whom the Imperial Family purchased it. There, the Prince Imperial Consort and the future Empress resided after their wedding, which was celebrated on October 15th, 1864.

Isabel Palace belonged to the Redeemeress up to the Republic Proclamation (1889) when it was seized by the military government and transferred to the Union.

It was used by President  Getulio  Vargas (1882-1954) as official residence during the “New State” — Estado Novo (1937-1945). As of 1946, it became the seat of the Federal District City Hall up to 1960 year of Brasilia´s inauguration. The Palace was “given” to the government of the State of Guanabara by General-President Ernesto Geisel (1907-1996) in 1975 to serve as hall of Rio de Janeiro State.

The governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro and his family live in Laranjeiras Palace — old sumptuous residence of the French-Brazilian family Guinle and Isabel Palace — officially called Guanabara Palace — is the administrative centre of the governorship.

Passing São Clemente Street, in Botafogo, we can note many historical buildings, principally the Ruy Barbosa Foundation, the old home to the great Brazilian lawyer Ruy Barbosa de Oliveira (1849-1923). The manoir was built in 1850 for the Baron of Lagoa, Bernardo Casimiro de Freitas (1813-1894), a Portuguese nobleman established in Rio de Janeiro.

16:30 – Visiting the Botanical Garden.

In order to acclimate spices from India this Garden was created on June 13th, 1808, by Regent Dom João. Delighted with the place exuberant nature, Dom João installed the Garden there and on October 11th the same year it became the Royal Garden of Rio de Janeiro.

Because of a historic mistake it was believed the first plants that had been brought from the Jardin Gabrielle from where many plants came mainly during the Napoleonic wars. However the Jardin Gabrielle was in the Guyanas and the first plants that arrived here came in fact from Mauricio Islands and La Pamplemousse, brought by Luiz de Abreu Vieira e Silva, who offered them to Dom João. The Palma Mater was among them. Open to visits by the public after 1822 the Garden had many important visitors: Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth and many others.

Many naturalists and administrators contributed to the Botanical Garden trajectory such as: Friar Leandro, Serpa Brandão, Candido Baptista de Oliveira, Friar Custodio Serrão, Karl Glasl, João Barbosa Rodrigues, Pacheco Leão, Campos Porto, João Geraldo Kuhlman and Liszt Vieira.

17:30 – End of Rio´s Aristocratic South Zone.