PAÇO IMPERIAL – BEFORE, ROYAL FAMILY RESIDENCE AND TODAY A CULTURAL CENTER
One of the main heritage of the city of Rio de Janeiro is located in the city center. This place is called Paço Imperial (Imperial Palace), the current cultural center was once the house of governors of the captaincy of Rio de Janeiro and with the arrival of the Portuguese crown, became the residence of the Royal Family of Portugal. Discover other historical details of this space.
EVENTS THAT HAPPENED IN PAÇO IMPERIAL
Paço Imperial in Rio de Janeiro was the center of the political and social movements of the time, recording important historical facts of Colonial, Royal and Imperial Brazil. See some examples:
1822:Stay Day – when Peter II refuse to go back to Portugal
1840: It was considered the first place in Latin América to be photographed.
1888: Signature of the Golden Law by Princess Isabel
If you want to visit the building in person and know much more about the history of the Brazil colonization and important details of Brazil, this is one of the stops of the Free Walking Tour Downtown and Lapa! We’ll tell the history in a fun and happy way.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PAÇO IMPERIAL
Until today Paço Imperial is considered one of the most important colonial civil buildings in the state of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Nowadays it works as a Cultural Center. In the space happens exposicions of different there are exhibitions in various themes (photography, sculpture, painting, etc.), besides operating on the ground floor some shops and restaurants.
THE HISTORY OF PAÇO IMPERIAL OF RIO DE JANEIRO
Paço Imperial is a colonial-style building, and it’s located in the center of Rio de Janeiro, in Praça XV de Novembro.
The history of space begins in 1733 when the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Gomes Freire de Andrade (better known as the Count of Bobadela) asked permission from King Dom João V of Portugal to build the Government House. Construction began in 1738 and was completed in 1743. The building commemorates its 281 years of history. This was a work of the Portuguese military engineer José Fernandes Pinto Alpoim.
LARGO DO CARMO AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
The space was constructed at Largo do Carmo, today called Praça XV de Novembro, downtown. Even today it is possible to observe the buildings that were present around the Palace.
Some examples: Carmo Convent, the Church of the Old See and the Church of the Third Order of Carmo and in the middle of the square, the Fountain of Mestre Valentim (brought from Lisbon), besides the construction of the Telles de Menezes family house (also Alpoim project).
The engineer who built the space took advantage of the buildings that already existed on the ground floor, such as Armazém d’El Rey and the Mint (both spaces continued to operate until 1808) and added new floors and balcony windows.
At the time he used new architecture in terms of construction, leaving the space with the air of modernity. Inside the Palace you can see shutters with lioz stone and courtyards, and stairs to access the upper floors.
CHANGE OF THE PORTUGUESE KINGDOM
When the headquarters of the Vice Reign of Brazil moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1763, the building became the home of the dispatches, the House of Governors or the Palace of the Viceroys.
ARRIVAL OF THE ROYAL FAMILY
In 1808 with the arrival of the portuguese royal family, the building became the Royal family official residence. If you want to understand better the arrival of the Royal family in Rio de Janeiro read our post about the History of Rio de Janeiro.
It was also the administrative headquarters of the United Kingdom of Brazil, Portugal and the Algarves, becoming the Royal Palace (home of the orders of the Prince Regent, João VI). With the modifications of this period, a new central floor was added to the facade facing Guanabara Bay. The interior of the space was redecorated and a Throne Room was built (place where the Kisses Hand ceremony took place).
ACCLAMATION OF JOHN VI
For the acclamation of John VI to the King of Portugal, a “balcony” was built that also allowed the Palace access to the Carmo Convent, where the Queen of Portugal, Mary I was installed. The same balcony was used for the coronation of Peter I and Peter II.
INDEPENDENCE OF BRAZIL
With the independence of Brazil in 1822, the Royal Palace became Imperial Palace or Rio de Janeiro Palaces, being then the eventual residence and house of the dispatch for Peter I and later for Peter II.
NEW PERIOD IN HISTORY
When Brazil became a republic in 1889, royal family properties were auctioned off. The palace was transformed into the Central Post and Telegraph Agency (between 1929 until 1975) and suffered a lot of deformations in this period.
Although the building was listed as a National Historic Heritage in 1938, the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) decided to restore the building only in 1982.
The restoration used as a model the shape it had in 1818, when it functioned as Royal Palace. The structural elements and compositions on the facades make reference to the style employed at that time in Portugal.
The stonework wedges (stone corners) and the rhythmic sequence of windows (simple on the ground floor and balconies on the upper floors) marked by lintels and curved overlays.
PAULO SANTOS LIBRARY
The palace has an important library. Paulo Santos Library was a tribute to the architect Paulo Santos who made the donation of the space collection and also donated its documentary collection with about 50,000 pages of material.
In the Library you can find about eight thousand volumes and 250 titles of journals, as well as rare works from the 16th to 18th centuries on architecture, engineering and Brazilian and Portuguese literature.
The collection has letters, maps, photographs and other materials. Paulo Santos was an important studious of Portuguese-Brazilian architecture. He has been an IPHAN advisor for many years and has written books and many articles on the subject.
Working Hours: Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, from 11 am to 4 pm.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PALACE
Address: Praça XV de Novembro, 48 – Center, Rio de Janeiro
Working Hours: From tuesday to Sunday, from 12 to 7 pm.
Telephone: (21) 2215-2093
Paço Imperial does not charge tickets and offers accessibility for the elderly and physically disabled.
Bistrô do Paço
Working Hours: From Monday to Friday, from 11am to 7:30pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, from 12 to 7pm.
Working Hours: From monday to friday, from 10am to 8pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, from 10am to 6pm.
Paço Imperial is a place that preserves a lot of history. Visiting this space makes us travel back in time and remember all the important events that have happened here. Do not miss the opportunity to know a little more!