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January 15, 2008

Petropolis - Rio de Janeiro


Petrópolis - Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian Cities

The history of Petrópolis started in 1830 when Dom Pedro I fell in love with the climate and beauty of the Mata Atlântica and decided to buy the Córrego Seco Farm. The land was inherited by Dom Pedro II and then, on March 16, 1843, it became Petrópolis. The urban project, which was considered daring at the time, can be appreciated until today on the Historical downtown streets, once the Farm”s headquarters.

Petropolis Catedral

Petrópolis, built to be the Court headquarters, still has the majesty of cities that made history. The mansions of the barons, viscounts and counts located next to the Imperial Palace, are today a beautiful museum, revealing the life style of a romantic and aristocratic period, of evening parties and sophisticated attires, of refinement and power.

The traces of the Empire are not the only reason the city enchants and attracts visitors. In the region there is also the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, where the rocky formation called “Dedo de Deus (God”s Finger)” is located. Trails and horse riding tours take the tourist to discover an abundant vegetation, orchids, waterfalls, valleys and mountains that offer a dazzling view and plenty of adventure.

One must visit the Imperial Museum, Santos Dumont”s House, the Quitandinha, the Crystal Palace and the homes of the Baron of Mauá, Princess Isabel, and Rui Barbosa as well as the Rio Negro Palace, the summer residence for the country”s presidents.

Bauernfest (June)
The party is to honor the German community and offers a lot of music, food and typical dances. The event is the second biggest in the State and it is held in a village built near the Crystal Palace.

Agriculture-Cattle Raising Exposition (April)
The exposition is held annually on the Municipal Park grounds. It lasts one week and thousands of people visit it.

It is the city’s favorite festivity. Petrópolis is totally decorated and trimmed with millions of multicolor lights. Choir concerts and candle processions provide a wonderful touch to the Imperial City during the period.

Imperial Museum
With its neo-classic style, the house was the old Imperial Palace, constructed in 1848 by Don Pedro II. The gardens, projected by Jean Baptiste Binot under the Emperor”s personal orientation, stand out. Besides the objects and furniture from the Palace, the Museum displays relics from Imperial Brazil such as Dom Pedro II”s crown. The Museum also houses an art gallery and the Imperial Museum Historical Archive.

Crystal Palace
The Palace, with its metal structure and glass enclosure, was made in France. It is a perfect example of the new architectonic style that emerged with the Industrial Revolution. It was the stage for many ballroom dances, starting on its inauguration day on February 2, 1884. It was also the place where Princess Isabel signed the liberation of 103 slaves just before the abolition of slavery.

Quitandinha Palace
The name Quitandinha comes from the fact that in the beginning of the century, the place was used as a stop for travelers to eat and rest. It is an impressive Norman style palace, with 50,000 m2 of constructed area and 6 floors. The decoration was done by Dorothy Drape, a famous Hollywood set designer. Quitandinha Palace tells the history of the golden age of radio, casinos and slap-stick comedy. In 1944, it was transformed into a luxurious hotel-casino.


Saint Peter of Alcântara Cathedral
It was built in 1884 in French gothic style from the 18th Century. Pieces of work sculpted in Carrara marble stand out in its interior. The Imperial Chapel keeps statues from the Imperial family, as well as the mortal remains of Dom Pedro II, Dona Teresa Cristina, Princess Isabel and Count d”Eu. It is located on Rua São Pedro De Alcântara, 60, Downtown.

Settler”s House Museum
With its original wattle-and-daub walls (mud mixed with grass) it is reminiscent of the several immigrant families that colonized Petrópolis.

Baron of Mauá”s House
This house was built in 1852 by the Baron of Mauá and today it is the Office for Petrópolis Tourism, Commerce and Industry Department. For its construction, the Baron of Mauá used railings made of iron cast in his factory. It is in neo-classic style surrounded by gardens with some rare palm trees and fragrant jasmine shrubs.

Rio Negro Palace
Built in 1889 by the Baron of Rio Negro to be his residence, it was the government”s headquarters between 1894 and 1902 when Petrópolis was then the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro. After 1903, it became the summer home for some Presidents until the construction of Brasília. The wedding of President Hermes da Fonseca and Nair de Teffé, one of the most disputed weddings ever, was held in the Rio Negro Palace ball room.

Natural Attractions
There are several options for eco-tourism lovers: rafting on the Paraibuna River, rappel on the Véu da Noiva waterfall, ecological horseback rides at the Analu Horse Farm and through the area that connects Cuiabá Valley to Teresópolis, ecological hiking in the Serra dos Órgãos and trekking in the Tinguá ecological reserve. Another choice is to hike along the “Emperor”s Path”, or “Imperial Road”, that connects Petrópolis to Pati do Alferes, over the top of Couto Mountain, a 36 km (22 mile) walk.

Municipal Park
It offers a leisure area with basketball courts, a cycle path, walking places, sand arena and places for shows and popular festivities.

Serra dos Órgãos National Park
It is very close to Petrópolis, in the Serra dos Órgãos region. Curious rocky formations, such as the 1,692 meter (5,551 feet) high Dedo de Deus (God”s Finger), and the 2.263 meter (7,424 feet) high Bell Stone, challenge the climber”s abilities. It was created in 1939 and in its 11,800 hectares it is possible to find several kinds of orchids, ferns, floss-silk trees, ipês and cedars as well as coatis, agoutis and several other species threatened with extinction such as the hawk-headed parrot.

Petrópolis has a shopping pole that offers the most diverse products. Check out the main points:

Rua Teresa
It is located near the Historical Center. It is known as an incomparable outdoor shopping mall, with fashion clothing and accessories at factory prices (retail and wholesale).

This is a district located 10 km (6 miles) from the Historical Center. There you can also find cheaper clothing and accessories. It is also a strong point for furniture, decoration paper and fabric.

This is Petrópolis” third district and it is located 15 km (10 miles) from the Historical Center. It stands out for its gastronomic excellence and pottery, furniture, decoration, clothing, fashion accessories, antiques and arts and crafts stores.

Rua 16 de Março
Located in the Historical Center, it has shopping malls, clothing and shoes, convenience, presents, computer, jewelry stores as well as bookstores, restaurants, movie theaters and entertainment.

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