Santa Teresa

From Architectural Attractions and Historic Tramway to Bars and Handicrafts Stores

This hilly district of Rio de Janeiro extends over the hills of Santa Teresa. Few localities in Rio have preserved the colonial attraction as this neighborhood has. Santa Teresa was developed in the region of the Carmelite Convent which was built in 1750 by a couple of nuns who dedicated it to 'St. Teresa of Avila'.

Santa Teresa

Architectural Attractions

Santa Teresa is steeped in times of yore with its numerous monuments and museums. The 'Museu da Chacara do Ceu' was originally a mansion of Raymundo Maya, an art collector. It was converted into a museum showcasing artworks of Picasso, Matisse, Candido Portinari and Monet.
The 'Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo' a huge mansion was in the past the home of Laurinda Santos Lobo. This renovated mansion in Santa Teresa opened its doors in 1907 where art exhibitions and concerts are conducted. Laurinda Santos Lobo, who played a dynamic role in the cultural life of Rio, used to have her soirees in this mansion attended by budding artists of the time such as Isadora Duncan and

Villa Lobos

The 'Casa de Benjamin Constant' is a well-preserved mansion of 'Benjamin Constant de Magalhaes', the head of Brazil's republican movement. This grand 1860s home in Santa Teresa is now converted into a museum which contains valuable books, art collections, artifacts and photographs that reveals Rio's history of that period.

The Heritage Tramway

The historic 'Santa Teresa Tramway' constructed in 1896 is also called 'bonde' in Portuguese. You can board the tram at Centro which then passes the spectacular 'Arcos da Lapa' aqua duct and then chugs along up the hills of Santa Teresa giving you a picturesque view of this locality and the city. It is a great tourist attraction as it is the one and only tramway in Rio that has been in operation since its opening.

Selaron Staircase

The 'Selaron Staircase' is a well-known stairway which is an ongoing work of Jorge Selaron a Chilean artist. It consists of 250 mosaic steps and it is 125 meters long. It connects the localities of Santa Teresa and Lapa. The splendor of this Santa Teresa stairway lies in the brightly painted tiles and ceramic pieces from 60 or more countries. The artist claims that this is a continuously mutating work of art as he keeps replacing unattractive pieces, thus transforming it into a capricious mosaic cascade.

Bloco das Carmelitas

Named after the Carmelite Convent of Santa Teresa, 'Bloco das Carmelitas' persuades its members to dress like nuns. This is because the bloco leaders spun a tale that a nun escaped from this convent to join the Carnival parade. There are two parades, one when the Carnival begins, signifying the nun's getaway and the other one takes place on Tuesday of the Carnival, indicating the day she went back to the convent. Members on this day wear black veils to shield the nun from public eye!

Shopping for Souvenirs

There are quite a few handicrafts stores in Santa Teresa. La Vereda is one such store that sells attractive local crafts and significant photographs depicting the past. You can use the tram to reach here.

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