Historical curiosities about São Luís do Maranhão

São Luís do Maranhão
São Luís do Maranhão

São Luís do Maranhão was founded by French, invaded by Dutch, colonized by the Portuguese.

What was the result of this mixture? São Luís!

The capital of Maranhão, in the Northeast, has one of the largest historical heritage sites in Latin America, the result of this amalgamation of different cultures.

There are more than 3,500 listed buildings that earned the city the title of World Heritage Site, granted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1997.

The famous Lençóis Maranhenses, of course, are the main tourist attraction of the State of Maranhão, but São Luís do Maranhão has beauty and history.

Tour of the historic center of São Luís do Maranhão

Mapa do centro de São Luís do Maranhão
Map of São Luís do Maranhão city center

In this itinerary the architecture is the highlight. In fact, these facades ended up inspiring Lisbon architects in the 18th century.

Contrary to popular belief, the Portuguese living in Brazil first decorated the façades of their houses with azulejos and only later did the trend spread to Portugal.

Fachada típica revitalizada de São Luís do Maranhão
Revitalized typical façade of São Luís do Maranhão

The technique of using ceramics on the facades had a function beyond aesthetics, it served to minimize internal heat by reflecting sunlight.

Only the Portuguese tiles are 150 different models, mostly blue and white.

Common features of the mansions are ceramic tiles and iron balconies. Huge windows and doors communicated the economic prosperity resulting from cotton in the 18th century.

Generally, merchants used the second floor to set up their trade and lived with their families on the upper floor.

A while later came decay and deterioration that only saw the prospect of improvement with the restoration process started in the late 70s. However, the way to recover them all is still undefined.

Convento e Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo em São Luis do Maranhão
Convent and Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo in São Luis do Maranhão

The walk usually starts at Praça Dom Pedro II, descends the Catarina Mina steps and falls into Rua Portugal, in Praia Grande.

Further on, stop at Largo do Comércio for bars and Casa das Tulhas, the place to taste and buy typical products.

If you do it on your own, when you reach Rua da Paz, head to Praça João Lisboa and from there to Rua do Sol, where the Arthur de Azevedo Theater is located.

Attraction with guided tour that still shows shows. Straight ahead is Rua do Ribeirão which leads to Fonte do Ribeirão and its legends.

The Ribeirão Fountain (1796), with Christian and pagan symbols, was used to supply the city and still inspires legends and popular beliefs.

Museu Histórico e Artístico do Maranhão
Historic and Artistic Museum of Maranhão

Among them is the legend of the sleeping snake that keeps growing in the underground tunnels of São Luís. One day it will grow so big that its head will meet its tail and, when it does, it will wake up furious, spewing fire until it sinks the city.

Obviously, stories encouraged by the powerful of the city to avoid curious people in the underground where they used as a secret passage. The underground tunnels are said to connect the main churches of St. Louis.

Museu Histórico e Artístico do Maranhão

5 curiosities about São Luís do Maranhão

Cais da Sagração em São Luís do Maranhão
Sagração Pier in São Luís do Maranhão
The construction of Cais da Sagração, which is located in the center of São Luís, began in 1841. In commemoration of the coronation of D. Pedro II, at the beginning of the Second Empire, and was only inaugurated in 1909, when Brazil was already a republic. The works were initiated in the midst of the coronation of D. Pedro II.
It was started because of the coronation of Dom Pedro II in 1841. There were several celebrations in Maranhão.The Brazilian Army, which was here in the state, organized itself to make celebrations. On the occasion, monuments such as Pedra da Memória were also inaugurated,” Euges said.

5- Tiradentes’ traitor lived and was buried in São Luis

.Yes, the first whistleblower in history, better known as the traitor of Tiradentes, Joaquim Silvério dos Reis, Colonel Commander of the Auxiliary Cavalry Regiment of Borda do Campo, contractor of entrances, farmer and owner of mines, who, faced with the possibility of having his debts forgiven by the Crown, decided to denounce the inconfidentes, leaving as a martyr of the Inconfidência Tiradentes.

Part of his life, before he died, was spent here in Maranhão.

A little-known and controversial story. To begin with, documents and research prove that he was buried in the Church of São João, in the Center of São Luís, however, there are disagreements as to what happened later with his tomb and what would have been the destination of his remains.

Tourism and Travel Guide to São Luís do Maranhão

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