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Olinda is a city in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. It hosts one of Brazil's most famous carnivals and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its XVI and XVII-century buildings. Many bars, restaurants, artist and craftspeople studios add charm to the old-town setting.
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Points of Interest in Olinda (Pernambuco)
Olinda's beautiful scenery and architecture make for a pleasant sightseeing all around. Colonial architecture, belvederes and the blue sea paint a relaxed environment that is second to none among Brazilian traditional cities.
- Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Praça do Carmo.
- Convento São Francisco, Praça do Carmo. Mon-Fri 7AM-11:30AM, Sat 7AM-12PM, 2PM-5PM. The Mosteiro de São Bento (1582) and Convento São Francisco (1585) are very important buildings of baroque Brazil. The Convento São Francisco is a large building containing the convent proper, the Capela de São Roque chapel and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Neves church.
- Igreja Nossa Senhora da Graça and Seminario de Olinda (on the hill above Rua Frei Alfonso Maria). 8-11:30AM, 3-5PM. Built in 1549.
- Igreja da Sé, Alto da Sé (Cathedral Hights). 8AM-12PM, 2PM-5PM. Also known as Church of São Salvador do Mundo, this was the first church built in Brazil. It was built in 1540 and was briefly a Protestant church during the Dutch occupation in the 17th century. Free.
- Igreja Nossa Senhora da Conceicao.
- Igreja da Misericórdia. 8AM-12PM, 2-5PM. Built in 1540, with fine azulejos (ceramic tiles) and gilded carvings.
- Igreja Nossa Senhora do Amparo, Rua Saldanha Marinho. 8AM-12PM. Restored church dating from 1613.
- Mosteiro de São Bento. 8-11AM, 2-5PM. This huge monastery was built in 1582 and housed Brazil's first law school. In the chapel are exceptional woodcarvings. Holy mass is celebrated on Sun at 10:30AM with Gregorian chant.
- Contemporary Art Museum of Pernambuco (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Pernambuco), Rua 13 de Maio, 149. 9AM-5PM. The museum's collection includes works by famous Brazilian artists, including Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Cícero Dias, João Câmara, Telles Junior, Eliseu Visconti, Djanira, Wellington Virgolino, Guinard, Adolph Gottielib, Burle Max and Francisco Brennand. The historical building in which the museum is located dates from 1756 and was the only ecclesiastical prision in Brazil during the Inquisition. R$ 5 (R$ 2.50 for students).
- Olinda Regional Museum (Museu Regional de Olinda), Rua do Amparo, 128. Tue-Fri 9am-12PM, 2-6PM, Sat-Sun 2-6PM. The museum recreates scenes of domestic and social life of the residents of Olinda in the 1700s. Displays include colonial furniture, decorative arts, painted ceramic tilework, pictures and Brazilian and Portuguese sacred art. R$ 1.
- Puppet Museum (Museu do Mamulengo), Rua de São Bento, 344..
- Sacred Art Museum of Pernambuco (Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco), Rua Bispo Coutinho, 726 - Alto da Sé., ☎ (81) 3184-3154.. Tue-Fri 9AM-1PM. Former city hall (1535) and Episcopal palace (1676), nowadays the building houses a rich collection of religious art with pieces dating back to the 16th century. R$ 1.
- Belvedere Alto da Sé, located at the yard of Church of Alto da Se. To the east, one can see the Atlantic Ocean; to the west, the urban scenery.
- Mercado da Ribeira is an 18th century building which now houses art galleries and souvenir shops.
- Rua do Amparo - restaurants, museums, hotels and art studios.
- Serenades - groups of singers and musicians play old traditional songs through the city streets on Friday evenings.
About Olinda (Pernambuco)
Olinda was founded in 1537 by the Portuguese Duarte Coelho Pereira. It owed its rapid rise to the sugar cane cultivated in the Pernambuco area. From the 16th century onward, religious missions built many churches and convents. The city was, however, pillaged by the Dutch in 1631. One of the few surviving buildings is the Church of São João. The Portuguese returned in 1654. Most of the buildings at Olinda date from the 18th century.
Outside of Carnaval season, Olinda boasts a lively culture, featuring mostly forró and maracatú in the clubs and town squares, as well as year-round, Saturday night serenades.
- Angola Mae Capoeira School, Rua Ilma Cunha 243.
Quite different from those of Rio and Salvador this is a lively street party, where blocos parade accompanied by frevo and maracatu music. There is a certain activity during the weeks before (and some after), but the party itself explodes on the official dates, from Friday evening until Wednesday morning. Its most famous representative are the giant dolls carried on the shoulders of the people. The parties are non-stop, 24 hours, but the bulk of the crowd fills the streets daytime. When looking for accommodation, bear in mind that the most central streets get very noisy.
The beach in Olinda proper is polluted. Local buses can take you north to Pau Amarelo and Maria Farinha.
- Sargação, near Praça do Carmo near the beachfront, serves sandwiches and burgers until the late night hours.
- Alto da Sé hosts a variety of food vendors, with a lively environment in the early evening.
- Mourisco, Praça João Alfredo, offers self service at a reasonable price.
- Oficina do Sabor, Rua do Amparo 335, ☎ 3429 3331. Tue-Sat 12-4PM, 6PM-12AM, Sun 5PM-12AM. If you wish to splurge, Oficina do Sabor offers a privileged view of Recife. Try the baked pumpkin stuffed with shrimp or fish, cooked in coconut sauce (R$18). R$15-20.
Olinda's prefeitura (mayor's office) publishes a monthly nightlife guide, available in tourist offices and hotels.
- Mercado Eufrasio Barbosa often hosts cultural presentations and live music shows.
- Xinxim da Bahiana (Avenida Sigismundo Gonçalves, near Praça do Carmo) hosts live bands and DJs throughout the week. Especially interesting are forró on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
- Every other Saturday, the neighborhood of Amparo (adjacent to the Historic Center), hosts a street party featuring the local rhythm of samba de coco.
- Casa da Rabeca do Brasil (Rua Curupira, 125), in Cidade Tabajara(outside of town, accessibel by bus or taxi), hosts a forró party every Saturday night.
- Maracatu nations often hold open rehearsals throughout the year.
- Local crafts and artwork. Be wary of making your purchases in or near Alto da Sé, as prices there tend to be inflated due to the constant flow of tourists. The Mercado da Ribeira houses a variety of shops.
- Musical instruments, such as those used in maracatu and forró.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Olinda on Wikivoyage.