Igarassu is a historic city in the Metropolitan Region of Recife PE

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The city of Igarassu is located in the state of Pernambuco, 27 km away from Recife, the state capital, as well as close to  João Pessoa, the capital of Paraíba, just 90 km away.

Located on the north coast of the state, Igarassu is part of the metropolitan region of Recife and has easy access, either by public transport or by car.

Main Tourist Points of Igarassu PE

They are churches and historic buildings that tell a lot about our Brazil.

1. Historic Centre of Igarassu

You can visit the oldest church in Brazil, a museum full of impressive pieces that reveal details of history and a beautiful pinacoteca.

Historic Centre of Igarassu PE
Historic Centre of Igarassu PE

To get to know it, take a leisurely walk, as you will delight in the streets full of colourful colonial houses that make anyone travel back in time.

Finally, be sure to visit the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Livramento, the Arts Centre and the Chapel of São Sebastião;

2. Church of Saints Cosme and Damian

Igreja dos Santos Cosme e Damião em Igarassu PE
Igreja dos Santos Cosme e Damião em Igarassu PE

This is an attraction that you cannot miss in Igarassu, as the Church of Saints Cosme and Damião is the oldest church in Brazil in operation. It was built shortly after the Portuguese invasion and defeat of the Indians who lived in the region in 1535;

It was rebuilt years later, as it was initially made as a small one-door chapel. Over the years, there was a major renovation and so some features were modified, but it never ceased to be in honour of the saints;

3. Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Igarassu PE
Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Igarassu PE

This was the first Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Brazil and therefore had great importance at the time when it received novices in 1742. Years later the chapel was built composing the space we see today, with its baroque style full of windows and unique decoration.

4. Franciscan Convent and Pinacoteca Museum of Igarassu

Museu Pinacoteca de Igarassu PE
Museu Pinacoteca de Igarassu PE

This sacred space is the Franciscan Convent and Church of St Anthony, but it is home to the Pinacoteca Museum of Igarassu.

Franciscan Convent of Igarassu
Franciscan Convent of Igarassu

From the entrance door, you will be able to see beautiful and impressive details that are part of this sacred and historic space. Even more so because this convent was the third of the Franciscan order in Brazil, as well as the first to be consecrated to St Anthony, being another landmark of Igarassu;

The Pinacoteca Museum is one of the most important in Latin America. In it, you will see an exhibition with 24 panels that were made in the 17th and 18th century, but it is not known for sure who made them. In any case, it is worth a visit as the works are beautiful.

5. Sobrado do Imperador

Built between the 17th and 18th centuries, the property is one of the most notable buildings in the city's Historic Centre. The sobrado was built with resources from the meat tax in the then settlement of Igarassu. The first uses were diverse, but converged in housing institutions of official power, such as a retirement home, jail and town hall. In 1972, the Igarassu Architectural and Landscape Complex was inscribed in the Institute's Book of Archaeological, Ethnographic and Landscape Notes.In the 19th century, the building underwent intense transformations. Neoclassical ornamentation was added to the building, a style that arrived in Brazil under the influence of the French Mission in 1816 and remained dominant throughout that century. Even with the alterations, the essence of 17th-century architecture was maintained. These traits can be seen in the spaces permeated by games of full and empty and the conformation of the elements in stonework, which consists of blocks of rough rock carved to form geometric solids. The name Sobrado do Imperador refers to the visit of Dom Pedro II, who was in the building on 5 December 1859, when he was travelling through the Northeast region. The event helped to consolidate stories that the building was built in the 19th century, which is not historically accurate. In that year the property was only prepared to receive the monarch.
Sobrado do Imperador in Igarassu

Built between the 17th and 18th centuries, the property is one of the most notable buildings in the city’s historic centre. The sobrado was built with resources from the meat tax in the then settlement of Igarassu.

The property is a remarkable building in the city’s historic centre.

The first uses were diversified, but converged in housing institutions of official power, such as a retirement home, jail and town hall.

In 1972, the Igarassu Architectural and Landscape Complex was inscribed in the Institute’s Book of Archaeological, Ethnographic and Landscape Tombs.

In the 19th century, the building underwent intense transformations.

Neoclassical ornamentation was added to the building, a stylistic aspect that arrived in Brazil under the influence of the French Mission in 1816 and remained dominant throughout that century.

The building was transformed into a new building.

Even with the changes, the essence of 17th-century architecture was maintained. These traits can be seen in the spaces permeated by games of full and empty and by the conformation of the elements in stonework, which consists of blocks of rough rock carved in such a way as to form geometric solids.

The building is still dominant in the 17th century.

The name Emperor’s Palace refers to the visit of Dom Pedro II, who visited the building on 5 December 1859, while on a trip to the Northeast region.

The event helped consolidate stories that the building was constructed in the 19th century, which is not historically accurate. In that year, the property was only prepared to receive the monarch.

6. Town Hall of Igarassu 

Câmara Municipal de Igarassu
Câmara Municipal de Igarassu

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This is one of the first sights of Igarassu for those arriving by car and going to the historic city. The building has a colonial style and is in great condition, but the visit is only on the outside, because it is currently the Chamber of Councillors of Igarassu;

This is one of the first sights of Igarassu for those who arrive by car and go to the historic city. The building has the colonial style and is in great condition, but the visit is only on the outside, because currently works the Chamber of Councillors of Igarassu;

The place was the old House of the Chamber and Public Jail of Igarassu, being one of the most important buildings. It was the second largest jail in the state, second only to the Recife House of Detention, now the House of Culture in the centre of Recife;

In front is the replica of the stone milestone that separated the captaincies of Pernambuco and Itamaracá. For those who are curious to know the landmark, there is a replica in the original location of the border at Sítio dos Marcos. When visiting Recife, go to the city museum to see the original stone marker.

7. Historical Museum of Igarassu

Historical Museum of Igarassu
Historical Museum of Igarassu

The museum of Igarassu holds riches that show the history of Brazil in general. The museum space is in colonial houses that have been renovated and connected to give more space for exhibitions, located in the historic centre of Igarassu, right next to the Church of Saints Cosme and Damião and in front of the City Hall.

There are many objects from the 17th, 18th and 19th century that talk about the life of the enslaved and the churches, for example. There are also several documents and paintings by Dutch painter Frans Post, as well as paintings made by local artists and one of the doors of the Misericórdia Church that weighs half a tonne.

History of Igarassu PE

The place where Igarassu was created was inhabited by Caeté Indians.

The construction of its first church is attributed to the victory of the Portuguese, in 1530, over the Potiguara Indians and the French who were there.

However, in 1535, Duarte Coelho, the grantee of the Captaincy of Pernambuco, landed there to take possession of his lands donated by the Portuguese Crown and fought an intense battle with the Indians.

By order of the grantee, a stone milestone was installed on the site, which served as a dividing point between the captaincies of Pernambuco and Itamaracá, initiating the process of colonisation of Brazil.

Igarassu, whose name means “big canoe”, was founded in 1536 by Duarte Coelho and probably became a parish in 1550.

It was the second village, after the Vila de São Vicente, to be created in the colony, being the first region occupied in Pernambuco.

It became an autonomous municipality in 1893, and soon after, in 1895, it was elevated to the category of city.

The southern bar of the Santa Cruz Canal, originally known as the Igarassu River – later Porto de Pernambuco and Sítio dos Marcos – is one of the most important centres of Portuguese occupation on the northeastern coast.

The city’s past is marked by its participation in liberation struggles, such as the Praieira Revolution, when the troops of Colonel Manoel Pereira de Morais settled in the Convent of Santo Antônio (built in 1588 by the Franciscan priests).

Currently, the Pinacoteca Museum of Igarassu is located on the site, which holds one of the most representative collections on the Brazilian colonial phase. It became an autonomous municipality in 1893 and was elevated to the status of a city with the same name in 1895.

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