History, Geography and Tourism of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

Church of Our Lady of Remedies in Fernando de Noronha
Church of Our Lady of Remedies

The Fernando de Noronha Archipelade is constituted by isolated volcanic islands in the South Equatorial Atlantic, with its main island being the visible part of a submerged mountain range (DORSAL MEDIANA DO ATLANTICO).

Located at geographic coordinates 03 51′ south and 32 25′ west and approximately 345 km from Cabo de São Roque in the state of Rio Grande do Norte and 545 km from RecifeOn Pernambuco.

The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is made up of 21 islands, islets and rocks of a volcanic nature, the main island has an area of ​​18,4 km2 whose longest axis is about 10 km, maximum width of 3,5 km and perimeter of 60 km.

Volcanic formation of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago
volcanic formation

The base of this huge volcanic formation is more than 4.000 meters deep.

The main island of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, whose name is the same as the archipelago, constitutes 91% of the total area, with the Rata, Sela Gineta, Cabeluda, São José and the islets of Leão and Viúva standing out.

Studies carried out show that the formation of the archipelago dates from two to twelve million years ago.

Tourist information about the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

Fernando de Noronha tourist map
Fernando de Noronha tourist map

Scheduling a trip to the Fernando de Noronha archipelago can mean the realization of a dream for most Brazilians.

In the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, one has the feeling of being in a part of Brazil that has worked, it's 17 square kilometers to 545 km off the coast of Pernambuco, where a population of only 3.500 lives and tourism is developed in a sustainable way, creating the opportunity for a balanced encounter between man and nature in one of the most important ecological sanctuaries in the world.

Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha

Coming to Noronha requires at least 5 days to enjoy the countless natural attractions and experience a little of the history of our colonization.

There are countless options for activities and tours, which cater to all audiences and offer visitors the chance to see all the natural beauty of the islands.

The main activities in Fernando de Noronha are go, snorkeling, diving, see dolphins, surf and trails.

See the map of the beaches of Fernando de Noronha

See Historic Heritage Map

See the map of Fernando de Noronha Island

Fernando de Noronha map

About Fernando de Noronha Archipelago Islands

map of the Fernando de Noronha archipelagoThe Fernando de Noronha archipelago is formed by twenty-one islands, with an extension of 26 km², with the main one – the largest of all also called “Fernando de Noronha” - as the only inhabited island.

The others are contained in the National Marine Park area and are uninhabited, and can only be visited with an official license from IBAMA.

1. Fernando de Noronha Island

The main island, has 17 km², with about 10 km in length and 3,5 km in maximum width. Its perimeter is approximately 60 km.

It is rugged, with several elevations, including the Morro do Pico, 323 m high; the Morro do Espinhaço, with 223 m; the French Hill, with 195 m; the Alto da Bandeira, with 160 m; the Morro do Curral, with 126 m; and the Morro de Sto. Antônio, with 105 m.

Aerial view of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago
Aerial View

On this island are the historical sites (Vila dos Remédios, Vila da Quixaba, ruins of the Forts of São Pedro do Boldró, of Sto. Antonio, of N.Sª da Conceição and Parque de Sant'Ana), the residential villages of civilians, the village of the Air Force Flight Protection Department, the Airport, the Nursery, the School, the Hospital, the Tubarão Electric Power Plant, the Piraúna Water Treatment Plant, the Desalination Plant, the Waste Treatment Plant and services of Telephony.

Part of this island has been the National Marine Park since 1988, with a spatial division identified as the Environmental Protection Area - APA, with approximately 08 km², and the PARNAMAR / FN Area, with 112,7 km², including the maritime part here, until where the sea is 50 m deep (isobath).

Around this larger island, other small islands, rocks and islets make up the scene decanted by scholars and troubadours.

Are the SECONDARY ISLANDS, knowing today that all these islands were connected, forming a single block, separated over millions of years due to marine erosion. Click on the links below to discover each of these islands.

Secondary Islands of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

2. Rata Island

The name is controversial. It would be the “Rapta” of the ancient books, the “Island of the Rats” mentioned by Fr. André Thevet (in 1556).

It is second in size, with 6,8 km², dark rocks and steep walls. It was inhabited by lighthouse keepers and their families, at the time when its orientation lighthouse needed human maintenance.

The death of children due to the delay in the arrival of water on Ilha Rata, due to access difficulties, motivated the installation of the automatic light. It was also the basis of the commercial experiment of the “Companhia de Guano”, which explored the abundant “guano” (calcium phosphate) on its entire surface, resulting from the accumulation of solidified seabird droppings, considered “the largest deposit of zoogenic phosphates in the Brazil".

The Pontal da Macaxeira and the Ilha do Lucena stand out in it, which at high tide is already configured as another island. Iron stairs carved into the rock allow scholarly access and Navy control.

3. Middle Island

It is located between Rata Island and Sela Gineta rock. Its base is narrower than its top and the breaking waves on its walls form cavities, which are very appreciated when it is coasted along the maritime promenades.

4. Shallow Island

Located near the Sela Gineta cliff and beside the tip of Air France, on the main island, it is sandstone, with a smooth top. It is the lowest in height of all the secondary islands, and its top is eroded and full of sharp spaces. Everything indicates that this island was already associated with the body of the main island, in a period of sea below the current one.

5. São José Island

It is composed of dark basaltic rocks and is connected to the beach, in the Air France region, on the main island, by a tomb of black pebbles, similar to a reef, one of the proofs of the union between the islands in the past), which allows access. walk at low tides.

At the top was built, in the XNUMXth century, the Fort of São Jose do Morro, the only one of the defensive system then deployed in the archipelago, outside the main island, with the function of defending the Bay of Sto. Antonio, who is in front of you.

6. Island of Couscous

Phonolitic rock located near the São José hill, has its name from the similarity of the “nordestino couscous”, food made from corn.

7. Lucena Island

Ponta da Ilha Rata that has been separating, due to the action of the sea. At low tide, you can still see the connection with this island.

8. Hat Island of the Northeast

Small formation next to the access rocks to Morro de São José.

9. Hairy Island

Similar to the Sela Gineta Rock, it is also a phonolitic rock and is located at the mouth of the Sueste Bay, in the outer sea.

10. Southeast Hat Island

It resembles the Middle and Rasa Islands in its formation, and appears as a small mushroom. Its top is enlarged and the base near the height of the waves is narrower, forming a plateau below, where aratus and crabs can be appreciated.

11. Island of Eggs

Located in front of Enseada do Abreu, between Baía Sueste and Praia de Atalaia, it is also phonolitic.

12. Trinta-Réis Island

Small whitish phonolitic high due to the presence of guano in abundance, located near the “Chapéu do Sueste”, in the out-of-water sea.

13. Trinta-Réis Island

Small whitish phonolitic high due to the presence of guano in abundance, located near the “Chapéu do Sueste”, in the out-of-water sea.

14. Saddle Rider Rock

Composed of a phonolitic rock, it is located between the Rasa and Meio islands, standing out for its topographical majesty. Its name stems from its resemblance to a rider's saddle.

15. Two Brothers Rock

Two islands very similar to each other, formed by dark colored volcanic rocks, on which there are deposits of “guano”, which add to them a whitish air of rare beauty.

It is the most significant volcanic outcrop in the archipelago, having inspired one of the famous legends of Fernando de Noronha: the LEGEND OF SIN, which considers it “the breasts of a gigantic woman, petrified by the punishment of having sin”.

16. Frade Island Rock

Outcrop of phonolitic rock, in it one can observe fractures in its composition. It resembles a seated friar, wearing a hood, as if in a position of prayer. It was once called “Ilha dos Sinos”, due to the noise of the sea hitting the rocks.

17. Rock near the Isle of Eggs, in the outer sea

18. Rock located near Ponta das Caracas and Sueste Bay

19. Rock of Morro do Leão

Phonolitic rock similar to the Sela Gineta rock, it is located in the sea, near Praia do Leão, resembling a lying sea lion, hence its name.

20. Rock of Morro da Viuvinha

It is also a phonolitic rock, located next to the Leão Rock, on the same beach, in the sea. It is a nesting site for birds, that is, an area where it is common for birds to make their nests.

21. Dry Stone Rocks

Three small phonolitic formations, located in the sea, far from the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, in the direction of Atalaia beach and Enseada da Caeira. Called “escolhos” by Américo Vespucci, in 1503, in his descriptive letter of the approach taken to the shipwreck that occurred in that proximity, it is the place where Fernando de Noronha's official story begins.

History of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago 

In addition to the beaches, bays and rich nature, the Fernando de Noronha archipelago also has other surprises for tourists.

Historical map of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago
Historical map of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago

There are 500 years of history, which make the Archipelago, in addition to a Natural Heritage, a true Historic Heritage that deserves to be visited and, above all, preserved.

In this section, learn a little more about the stories of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, from its discovery until today.

Historical Periods of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago


1500 – Appears on the Map of Cantino with the name “Quaresma”.

1503 – Discovered by Américo Vespucci, member of the Exploratory Expedition, commanded by Gonçalo Coelho.

1504 – Donated, in the form of Hereditary Captaincy, to the Portuguese nobleman FERNAN (or FERNÃO) of LORONHA, financer of the 1503 Expedition.

1505 – Rescued the last castaways of the 1503 expedition, by a ship coming from Normandy (by Binot Paulmier de Goneville).

1534 – Disembarkation of the German traveler Ulrich Schmidel, who stays there for some years.

1556 – Approached by French people who came from Rio de Janeiro (Br. André Thevet, companion of Villeigagnon).

1558 – Coasted by Frenchmen who came from Rio de Janeiro (Jean de Lèry, companion of Villeigagnon).

1577 – Approached by the English navigator Francis Drake, who was trying to travel the world.

1612 – Approached, for 15 days, by the French who were going to Maranhão. (Br. Claude d'Abeville, companion of Daniel de la Touche, Lord of la Ravardière).

1619 – Watched by a Portuguese expedition, which lands on the island and describes it (Pedro de Castro).

1626 – Approached by the Dutch who stop there to refresh themselves.

1629 / 1654 – Dutch possession, under the command of Corlizon Jol, the “Wooden Leg”.

1631 – Leased to Michel de Pavw (name: “Pavônia”).

1654 – Delivery of the Island, after the Dutch surrender in Pernambuco.

1700 – Transfer of ownership of the Island to Pernambuco, which did nothing to occupy it.

1736 – Occupied by the French of the East India Company, who settle there for a year (name: “Isle Delphine” or “Dauphine”).

PERIOD OF OCCUPATION AND DEVELOPMENT (1737 / 2003) of Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

1737 – Retaking by Pernambuco, construction of the village and the Fortified System. Start of Correctional Colony.

1739 – For Fernando de Noronha all “gypsies” in Brazil, considered to be “strays”, were exiled.

1745 – Passage of Juan and Ulloa (Spanish).

1760 – Visit of a Swedish ship. Ekeberg's Report.

1816 – Passage of the French mission. Debret paints the Morro do Pico.

1817 – Pernambuco Rebellion. Consequences for Fernando de Noronha: loss of what had been built and the entire collection, removed by João de Barros Falcão de Lacerda.

1819 – Sending of Indians from the villages of Cimbres and Escada to practice agriculture on the island.

1824 – Only in this year is it known, in Fernando de Noronha, that Brazil was already independent from Portugal.

1823 / 1827 – administered by the Ministry of War.

1832 – Passage by the scientist Charles Darwin. Description of the Island.

1844 – The Farroupilha revolutionaries were exiled in Noronha.

1877 / 1891 – Administered by the Ministry of Justice.

1890 – For Fernando de Noronha all capoeiristas in Brazil, considered “disorderly”, are exiled.

1893 – The British from “South American Cables Ltda.” are installed.

1914 – The concession of submarine cables is transferred to the French (French Submarine Cable).

1925 – The Italians from Italcable (Italian Submarine Cable) are installed.

1927 – Cia. Generale Aeropostale, (predecessor of Air France) is installed.

1930 / 1931 – German and French aircraft operate in Fernando de Noronha, at Correio Aéreo Sul.

1934 – The 1st airstrip of Fernando de Noronha is built, by the Civil Aeronautics Department.

1938 – Delivery of the Island to the Union, for the Installation of a Political Prison.

1942 – The Mixed Detachment is installed in Noronha, for war actions (World War II).
A US Navy base is set up near Southeast Bay. The second airstrip is built.

Created the Federal Territory of Fernando de Noronha

1942 / 1981 - Army

1981 / 1986 – Aeronautics

1986 / 1987 - EMFA

1987 / 1988 - MINTER

1946 – A FAB Detachment is created on the island, for flight control and meteorological services.

1957 / 1965 – Americans settle at the Guided Missile Observation Post, near Boldró.]

1988 – The Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park is created. Reinstated to the State of Pernambuco, becoming the State District, commanded by an Administrator, appointed by the State Governor.

2001 – Listed by UNESCO as a “World Natural Heritage Site”, title awarded in 2002.

2003 – Celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago.

Historical Overview of Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

The occupation of Fernando de Noronha is almost as old as that of the mainland. Due to its geographical position, the archipelago was one of the first lands located in the New World, registered in a nautical chart in 1500 by the Spanish cartographer Juan de La Cosa and in 1502 by the Portuguese Alberto Cantino, in this with the name “Quaresma”.

Its discovery, in 1503, is attributed to the navigator Américo Vespucci, a participant in the second exploratory expedition to the Brazilian coast, commanded by Gonçalo Coelho and financed by the Portuguese nobleman Fernão de Loronha, a new Christian, extraction tenant at Pau-Brasil.

"Heaven is here." This is how Amerigo Vespucci described the island in 1503, which he called São Lourenço.

“Here is paradise”, said Vespucci when he boarded that deserted island on August 0, 1503, right after the sinking of the main ship of the six that made up the expedition.

The letter he wrote, LETTERA, is the first document relating to the island, which he called São Lourenço, it speaks of “infinite waters and infinite trees; very tame birds, which came to eat by hand; a very good port that was good for the entire crew”.

As a result of the discovery, in 1504, it was donated to Fernão de Loronha, who had financed the expedition. It was the first Hereditary Captaincy in Brazil, but never occupied by its grantee.

Foreign invasions in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

Abandoned for more than two centuries and located on the route of great navigations, it was approached by many peoples, being temporarily occupied in the XNUMXth century by the Dutch (who called it “Pavonia”) and in the XNUMXth century by the French (who renamed it “Ile Delphine ”).

This point vulnerable to invasions motivated the definitive occupation by Portugal, through the Captaincy of Pernambuco, from 1737, with the construction of a defensive system with ten fortifications - "the largest fortified system of the XNUMXth century in Brazil" -, among which the Fortress of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios. Most of these forts are still standing today and archaeological evidence remains for the rest.

At the same time, the Archipelago was transformed into a Common Prison, for prisoners sentenced to long sentences. These inmates were the labor that built all the built heritage and the road system that connects towns and forts.

The cruel regime even had solitary confinement and stone beds, in which the prisoner could barely turn sideways.

As a disciplinary measure, in order to prevent prisoners from escaping and hiding places, since that time the original vegetation has been cut down, altering the climate of the archipelago. For this reason, only some of the island's original vegetation can be seen, such as Ponta da Sapata, on the slopes of Morro do Pico and the lookouts of Sancho, Baía dos Golfinhos and Praia do Leão.

scientific interest

Distinguished scientists visited the archipelago at different times, such as the naturalist Charles Darwin, father of the Theory of Evolution of Species, in 1832.

All were attracted by its great biodiversity and collected data about the environment, describing it in memorable works. Also in the XNUMXth century, artists such as the French Debret and Laissaily recorded human occupation on canvas.

Military Period in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

In 1938, the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago was transferred to the Union, for the installation of a Political Prison. In 1942, during World War II, the Federal Military Territory was created, together with the Mixed War Detachment and the alliance with the US Navy, which installed a Support Base on the island, with about 300 men.

During this period, an overpopulation of more than 3.000 expedition members conditioned the construction of pre-molded houses to house them. From 1942 to 1988, the island was administered by the military: Army, until 1981; Aeronautics, until 1986; and EMFA, until 1987.

Federal territory was also transferred to MINTER, having its only Civil Governor. During this period, between 1957 and 1965, there was a new American presence at the Guided Missile Observation Post.

In 1988, by force of the Constituent Assembly, it was reinstated to the State of Pernambuco, being today a State District. Also in 1988, the National Marine Park was created, coexisting, in a space of 26 km², the PARNAMAR/FN and the State Environmental Protection Area.

On December 13, 2001, UNESCO considered the archipelago A WORLD NATURAL HERITAGE SITE, and the diploma was delivered on December 27, 2002.

In 2003, the 500th anniversary of Fernando de Noronha's entry into the history of men was celebrated. 500 years after its first approach, its description, by one of the greatest navigators in history, Americo Vespucci.

Archaeological, Architectural and Urban Heritage of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

Other Urban Sets

Vila do Thirty 

Built after the military occupation of 1942, around the army barracks (the 30th Battalion of Hunters) its name comes from that “30”, painted on the barracks roof. Around it was the “Vila dos Sargentos”, dating back to 1975.

The former barracks (30th BC) now houses the island's supermarket and several other services. Next to it, there is the building of the old “Electric Power Plant”, from 1942, and the houses that were being added. Currently, the building is called “Convivencia Center”.

Next to the village, a large building now serves as a fishmonger and bakery and was one of the supply spaces on the island, during the military period, which they called the “Refundable Warehouse”. In front were houses that housed the officers.

Vila da Floresta Velha / School (1964)

Occupied from 1964 onwards, houses were built there for Army officers and the building of the Archipelago School (formerly known as the “Integrated Teaching Unit”).

Behind this urban nucleus is the island's cemetery, which dates back to 1843, expanded in 1883. In it there was a chapel in praise of Nª Sª da Conceição, which is now destroyed. Next to it are houses built on bases of groups of war.

Opposite this complex, Vila para Cabos was built, with pre-molded houses and, later, one of the evangelical churches on the island was installed there.

Vila da Floresta Nova (from 1987)  

It is a village of wooden houses, typical of Paraná, built in 1987, during the administration of the Ministry of Interior and the first Civil Governor of the Island. In this area, at the top of the hill, is located the Golfinho Radio and TV System, under pre-molded construction.

Flamboyant Park (Wood)

A convivial square, tree-lined and with leisure equipment, was defined in the military period and was expanded and landscaped at different times. In its vicinity was the building that housed the second school on the island, demolished during the government of the Air Force.

Pre-molded houses on Rua São Miguel  

Sequence of pre-molded houses, from Vila de Cabos from the military period, on the former Rua do Sol, now Rua São Miguel. In front of this village, some different houses exist, including the one that served as the Mothers' Club. There are also the Vilas de Soldados (“Pão-Fruit Village”).

On the left side of Rua São Miguel (former Rua do Sol), there are traces of the old houses that were demolished to widen the street, during the Army period.

village of the three sticks

A small urban center located off the main road, it is a circular agglomeration that emerged in this century, probably to house inmates and their families. Over a period of time, during the military occupation, a leisure center operated there: the “Boite Três Paus”.


Used as a port since the discovery, the inlet of Sto. Antônio has always been a place for loading and unloading vessels that arrived or left the archipelago. A wooden and iron jetty was built during World War II to allow ships to be moored and cannons unloaded.

From 1987 onwards, a permanent jetty was erected, with stones obtained from the dynamiting of Morro Boa Vista, which has not yet been fully completed. Various tourist facilities support this location, where fishing and diving vessels are placed.

Air France

Place where the French settled in 1927, to support air navigation. It had three buildings, for the technicians to live in and the storage of work material. Today, restored, the house that remains has become the "Air France Cultural Space", housing the Association of Artists and Artisans Noronhenses.

Alameda do Boldro  

Area where the Americans settled in 1957, at the Guided Missile Observation Post. In this Alameda there are the Tubarão Thermoelectric Power Plant, the Piraúna Power Plant, the Hotel Esmeralda, the headquarters of the TAMAR Project, the headquarters of IBAMA and several houses of different residents.

Further on, facing the sea, is the Bar Mirante do Boldró. In the lower part, by the sea, another bar serves those who frequent this beach.


Next to the Fort of São Pedro do Boldró is the Hotel that houses technicians from the administration of the archipelago, when on duty on the island. They are wooden houses, similar to those used in Floresta Nova and have the capacity to host 16 people.

In front of the hotel, other houses of the same material house technicians on duty who need to reside on the island, such as doctors, teachers, electricity and water treatment personnel, among others.

Quixaba village

One of the island's primitive urban centers was built around the Chapel of Nª Sª da Conceição and the “Alojamento de Sentenados”, a beautiful house that was destroyed by an explosion during the Second World War. Apart from the chapel and the large building, 28 houses served as residences for prisoners in an open regime.

The chapel of Nª Sª da Conceição had three successive construction phases. Built by convicts, it collapsed, being rebuilt and again collapsing in a stormy night.

The current face of the chapel dates from the second half of the 1999th century, being its third construction. It is a small stone building, with a central door and a massive altar, with curious details that, analyzed at the end of XNUMX, encouraged its complete restoration.

The entire building and its surroundings were also restored. The intervention saved the memory of the former Vila da Quixaba and encouraged the start of an action, in the Heritage Education line, of archaeological research in the surroundings of the same, to identify the former priestly rest house and the former “Accommodation of the Prison”, formerly existing.

The works, carried out in 1999, guided the placement of a ceramic information panel, illustrated with photos, presenting a complete retrospective of the Vila da Quixaba space and the stages of restoration.

Isolated Built Heritage

big house in the southeast

In the old way of Sueste is this building, which is probably the oldest house built on the island.

It served as a summer residence for the prison commanders and housed, in two moments, the hospital for beriberians, due to the climate in its surroundings and the large amount of citrus fruits in the vicinity. Next to it is the Pedreira Dam, resulting from the dynamiting of the Boa Vista hill, to obtain stones for the construction of the jetty in the port.

Old Refrigerator

On the way to Praia de Atalaia is this large construction, from the time of the American presence in World War II. Now unused, it is a building of large proportions, which can be included in the building requalification process.

Air Force Transit Hotel

A large building, located on the hill of Sto. Antônio, had three different construction periods and different uses.

The Navy Weather Station existed there, still standing in 1934, when it was portrayed by Percy Lau.

Under its ruins, the army's military Governor's house was built in the 60s. It was later demolished to make way for the current building, also a government residence, until the reintegration of the Archipelago into Pernambuco, when the area was donated to the Ministry of the Air Force, serving as a Transit Hotel for authorities visiting Fernando de Noronha.

Chapel of São Pedro dos Pescadores

A small chapel located in the upper part of the Air France region, it does not have regular worship, it is only used on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Peter, when the “Buscada Marítima” starts there in praise of the patron saint of fishermen. The area is an excellent viewpoint.

Built Heritage of Vila dos Remédios

Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

The Church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is the main Catholic temple in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, its construction began in 1737 and all the structural work was completed in 1772, the date it bears on its facade, with the addition of ornaments and goods. mobile cultural from then onwards, ending in 1784.

The Church of Our Lady of Remedies in Fernando de NoronhaIt was this devotion that inspired the name of the main fort built there and of the entire Vila.

And the Virgin of Remedies was taken as patroness of the common prison since 1768. In 1789 this temple was ecclesiastically linked to the Parish of São Frei Pedro Gonçalves, as an extension of it. This dependence still exists today.

In 1891, its first major restoration took place, followed by new interventions in 1915 and 1919. The last and reliable restoration took place in 1988, with federal funds, and its inauguration was presided over by Archbishop Emeritus of Olinda and Recife, Dom Hélder Câmara.

In 1997, the temple was revitalized by night painting and lighting, standing out against the landscape at night.

In 1981, this church was listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute, being the second monument to receive this distinction in the archipelago. In 1998, the church was revitalized by painting, when the temple returned to its original colors.

São Miguel Palace  

Administration headquarters for the State District of Fernando de Noronha, it was built in 1947/48, over the ruins of the former “Directory of the Presidio”.

This was a colonial mansion located in the center of the Praça d'Armas in Vila dos Remédios, with pointed windows, a single floor and a large access staircase.

São Miguel Palace in Fernando de Noronha
São Miguel Palace

The palace was built by people from the island itself, under the coordination of former communist political prisoner Mariano Lucena.

Its construction and architectural alteration aimed to accommodate the seat of government of the Federal Military Territory. In some periods of government, the lower floor also served as the Governor's residence.

Inside, on some walls, evidences of the previous construction, in stone, were left, as a result of the prison labor that existed at the time.

Inaugurated in 1948, it has mid-century furniture and two large, ornamental value canvases, works by the Pernambuco painter Wash Rodrigues, who was taken to Noronha precisely to carry out this work.

There is also a stained glass window, with the image of the Archangel São Miguel, in natural size, made by stained glass artist Aurora Lima, disciple of the German artist Henri Moser, restored in 2000 by followers of the Moser school.

Former Agricultural Products Warehouse 

Agricultural Warehouse

A building with the greatest volume of civil architecture in Noronha, as evidenced by the iconography of many periods, in which the building appears with many uses. It is today an object of interest as a landmark in the recovery of the Island's scenography.

Among various functions, it served as a residence for the Director of the Prison, a warehouse for agricultural products, a storeroom, a bakery, a joinery, a barracks for soldiers during the Second World War and, again, as a residence for islanders. Eventually, abandoned, it began to deteriorate, knowing with certainty that it was standing and still covered in 1972.

The damage to the building is already quite significant and needs to be addressed, so that this excellent example of civil architecture on the island is not completely lost. The main proposal for redevelopment is to transform it into a contemporary cultural space, due to its excellent location and architectural proportions.

In 2003, it was registered in the National Registry of Archaeological Sites – CNSA -, of the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute.

Old Cereal Warehouse

Cereal Warehouse – a large building, located at the end of the square in front of Igreja dos Remédios, used to store cereals and, later, as a “prison garage”.

Abandoned, it was being destroyed and, in 1990, part of it was restored to house the Praia do Cachorro Tourist Terminal, in support of the maritime cruises started that year and today it houses the famous “Bar do Cachorro.

Old Village of Convicts

The only remaining building from the prison system that operated in Fernando de Noronha for more than 200 years, the “Aldeia dos Sentenciados” is a remarkable, large construction with well-defined internal spaces, designed to house single inmates.

Located in Vila dos Remédios, in the former Praça d'Armas, close to the São Miguel Palace, it had – in the last century and after the permission to send women imprisoned to the archipelago – also called the “Feminine Prison”, because it houses the convicts. .

Inside, there were collective cells, spaces for confined prisoners, a bakery, cafeteria, kitchen, administrative sectors and “open-air” internal courtyards.

In front of this building, the inmates of good behavior, who lived with their families, were required to have a morning roll call each day. Beside it are the ruins of Clube Atlântico, built on what was left of the former Cape France chalet. During World War II, the building housed soldiers. Afterwards, abandoned, it started to serve as a makeshift residence, a situation that remains until today.

Elizabeth Garden  

A space used as a place for acclimatization of plants since the XNUMXth century, it was also the “Horta da Vila”, designed to supply Vila dos Remédios with agricultural products. It also has bridges, terraces suitable for agriculture, stone roads, in addition to the abundant vegetation.

It is also a functional landmark of Noronha, as a ship repair port, using the abundant material in these areas of permanent reforestation.

Rediscovered in 1997, when the elements that would guide the implementation of the “Ecotourist Trails Project” were surveyed, it constitutes a pleasant corner, which today has a constant tourist flow.

secular roads

Original nucleus, built in the XNUMXth century, Vila dos Remédios required the construction of access roads throughout the island, connecting it to other occupied points and generating a road system made in stone, with prison labor.

The highlights are Estrada do Pico, Estrada da Porto, Rua da Estrela, and Estrada da Ponte. All these paths appear in José Fernandes Portugal's plan, made in 1798.

These access roads have been degraded with use and, above all, with the introduction of the vehicle for locomotion on the island. Large stretches without stone, present problems of decomposition of the pavement, threatened in their use by the fragility of the entire system.

Dog beach spout  

A secular spout, which is used for bathing in fresh water for those who use Praia do Cachorro for leisure. It is located next to the Sant'Anna Redoubt, built in the XNUMXth century.

It is partially ruined, the dog face that gave it its name no longer exists, which was in bronze, in a beautiful work of art. There are records of this area from the beginning of the last century, and the spout is still used today.

Old school  

The first teaching experiences, in Noronha, were improvised. The church sacristy was used as a support point for the school. At the end of the last century, some simple buildings, erected to be residences, were improvised as schools for boys and girls.

In this century, in Praça d'armas, in front of the “Directory of the Prison”, a building was built to be a school, with two classrooms (female and male) and a school board.

A solarium completed the beautiful building, with the coat of arms of the Republic on top. In the period of World War II, this house was used as the headquarters of Radio PTI, adding spaces in the solarium that served this purpose and an antenna in the back.

To access the solarium, a ladder was also placed at the back of the building.

Abandoned, the building was almost completely ruined, being saved by Banco Real, already installed on the island since 1975 (in the São Miguel Palace room), which adapted it to house the bank branch. As it was impossible to restore the solarium, a canal tile roof was placed, similar to the one used in the neighboring church. Inside the agency, a retrospective panel shows, iconographically, the faces of this building, through the ages.

Village of Medicines

Despite being discovered in 1503 and donated as Hereditary Captaincy in 1504, the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha remained abandoned for over two centuries, receiving fleeting approaches from navigators of various nationalities.

In the 25th century the Dutch stayed there for 1629 years. Almost nothing exists as a mark of that time, apart from a part of the walls of the current Fortaleza dos Remedios (where a stronghold had been built by them in XNUMX) and the spaces for agricultural experiments.

The reports from that time speak of “warehouses”, “dwelling houses”, “warehouses”, “corral”, “gardens”, a small “Calvinist Reformed Congregation” among other constructive evidences for such a long occupation.

In addition to the “Elizabeth Gardens”, where cultures were experienced, especially indigo. And the space of this Dutch “Villa” was exactly where the VILA DOS REMÉDIOS was made, in the following century, after the definitive occupation by Portugal, through the Captaincy of Pernambuco.

Vila dos Remédios was chosen by both the Dutch and the Portuguese-Brazilians as the main urban center in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago.

The strategic conditions of this location were evident: close to a stream of water called Riacho Mulungu and other springs; with easy access to Enseada do Cachorro, which eventually served as an anchorage; the source of drinking water later transformed into Bica do Cachorro; direct access to the new fortress (Remedies).

Everything suggested that this was the ideal place for the implementation of the main village.

Urban Development of Vila dos Remédios

Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Remedios

The urban layout of Vila dos Remédios in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, with its planned structure, consisted of two patios (two spatial units). In the upper space, there was the Administration, the civil power, and in the lower one, the church, the religious power.

The entire area was paved in stone and the buildings constructed were always large. It is worth noting that one of the main functions of the Vila, at its origin, was to support the prison system also implemented at that time. Strategically, the village should not be seen from the sea.

VILA DOS REMEDIOS in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago emerged as the main urban center of the island.

From the XNUMXth century onwards, the administration was housed, with its public buildings, prison accommodations and workshops for prisoners, the Church, the command square or square of arms, dwelling houses, the storeroom, the school, the hospital and warehouses for the storage of agricultural production and food from the continent.

It also gave rise to the paved road system throughout the island, using the “head of nego” model, always being concerned with the drainage of rainwater and soil conservation, a procedure adopted in the courtyards and streets that define the village.

For more than two hundred years this nucleus has been used and preserved in its original structure, with minor modifications and additions. In 1938, when the archipelago was handed over to the Union, architecturally the village was extremely well cared for.

The great interferences and disfigurements were felt, for the most part, from 1942, with the occupation that took place in World War II.

Then, part of the old urban face was lost, emerging the influence of prefabricated construction, for its practicality in times of emergency, becoming a reference in this technology.

History, Geography and Tourism of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

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