I read that the so called slave market never was used for that purpose.
I don't know the truth, but if it did, then the look should be different from what it is: There are no dramatic references in the place, with shops covering it all, respecting the ambiance but giving colour and life to a place that, if the story is true, should be treated in a more austere way, inviting to reflect about the world of slavery.
The most beautiful church I saw in Olinda, St Francis suffered the common mistreatment of the war, but kept the appearance of its reconstruction in the 17th century.
Nested in green, its sober cloisters contrast with its rich baroque decoration
I left Portugal with a severe warning from a friend: I should not miss this church. Thanks for the warning! I didn't and agree that the richness and beauty of the altar are unbeatable.
Unfortunately the photo of the altar (flash forbidden) was so lousy I don't dare to publish it. But it's better that way: you will have to go there and look for yourself
I was in Recife and visited Olinda from there, but nothing stops you to do it the opposite way.
No matter where you are, one thing is clear: both places must be seen,and it will take only some minutes to move between them.
Where am I? In Obidos? Monsaraz? Castelo de Vide? No! With this temperature in March it cannot be Portugal. But it looks like!
Sorry folks, this sensation is reserved for the Portuguese, but the visual pleasure is shareable. So, walk slow, breed deeply, and... enjoy!
There is always a solution to understand the described feeling - come to Portugal and try to understand the links.
Created in the 16th century, this church was destroyed during the war between Portuguese and Dutch. Rebuilt in the 17th and ruined again, the final version is about 100 years old.
It's far from being among the best in Olinda, but it surely is located in the best sightseeing place of town. The yard in its back is mandatory.
Olinda is not known for it's beach, better to travel the other way out of Recife to Boa Viagem. Here you will find locals hanging out. One caveat: There are no public restrooms, and you may see people relieving themselves, or smell urine as you walk the streets nearby.
The square in front of the Igreja da Sé provides a nice setting to write your postcards. I first get a local paper, then sit and read (foreign newspapers are surprisingly easy to read, you may not catch every word, but you will understand what the story is about), deciding which headlines to send.
Even though this is a popular tourist destination with many vendors, they will not bother you as you read and write. This woman who did bead work was working nearby. I was so grateful that I even purchased some of her work to give to friends.
This observatory was built to track the path of the planet Venus, and is the olderst in the Americas. It is not overwhelming as more modern observatories or arrays of radio telescopes. It sits atop the highest point in town and offers excellent views of Olinda, the Ocean, and Recife. The square has many shops and stalls that cater to the tourist.
Here you can get a local paper and sit and write your postcards. My postcards are all sent in the language of the place that I am visiting.
Get a map from the Tourist Office and start your church, convent and cathedral-hopping from Rua São Francisco uphill.
You might receive many offers from touts to be your guide (most likely in Portuguese only). Feel free to engage them. Many of them are teenagers who are trying to make a living.
There are many convents and cathedrals with interesting history. Some of them are even inter-connected by tunnels and dungeons. Many of them had been burnt down or partially destroyed during the Dutch invasion and so, most of them had been restored after... often, multiple times.
The one with the greatest view is Cathedral da Se which is located at the top of a hill, and behind, in the courtyard, there is a great view of Olinda. This was where the Portuguese looked out to the sea and the green vegetation and declared, “Oh… linda!” (Oh… pretty!). Hence, the name of this city - Olinda.
If you are here in Olinda on a Friday night, please do not miss this!!
From 10pm onwards, go down to Praça Jose Alfredo, a square in front of a church and wait. Although you might be enshrouded in darkness with only a few locals around, walking their dogs, or chatting away... wait and listen.
Soon, you should be able to hear the tinkling of a guitar and spot a small group on the steps in front of the church.
Now, the serenade begins.
The banjo player begins, to some small applause. And the group soon joins in playing musical pieces after pieces… little serenades of love songs. Soon, as the serenades go on and emotion runs high, the public joins in the singing as well, declaring ‘amor (love) this’ and ‘amor that’.
There are young, middle-aged and elderly people… some couples, others families and yet others alone, swaying to the gentle beat, singing with gentle love.
After an hour or so, the group would take a little walk around the streets. So, the serenaders take the lead and everyone follows right behind and around, singing, clapping, dancing. Smiling faces pop their heads out as the serenaders stop under their windows or balconies.
Gosh… can you imagine the scene? I felt as if I was in the middle of a musical where the extras milling around in the background suddenly gather behind the main actor and actress and all of them move in synchronised choreography, instinctly knowing the dance steps and song lyrics!! It felt absolutely surreal!! I was twirling around, looking at the faces of these people, bathing in their shared passion. I would not be able to translate actually how I felt now at all to paper. It was… er, for want of a word… just beautiful.
This museum in Olinda houses puppets. Yep, puppets. This is a typical thing from Northeastern Brazil...it's a great collection and you can see how much work Brazilians put into the art of creating these puppets -- used in carnivals.
If you happen to be in Olinda at the beginning of the year, there is a little party that takes in the whole town. It's rather amazing actually -- people dress up as they do at carnival time and parade throughout the city all, when we where there there were at least three different parades with SAMBA bands and all that meet up at the end for a huge, huge bash. Watch your wallet and your cameras - you still are in Brazil!
The first St Benedict Monastery (and church) was erected on this site in 1599, burned by the Dutch in 1631, and rebuilt beginning in 1654.
The current structure, in the high Brazilian baroque style, dates from 1761.
One of the two or three most beautiful monuments in Olinda, São Bento is -- like all the colonial-era churches -- in a sad state of repair. Nearness to the ocean makes it more difficult to maintain the 'patrimony' here than in Minas Gerais. Still, authorities in Bahia have kept their churches in better shape, though Salvador is also on the sea.
As you enter the nave of this beautiful church, these exquisite 18th century carvings are suspended from the right and left walls. The largest of them is only about 2/3 of a meter in height.
(The relative sizes are skewed by the fact I had to shoot my pictures from just outside the doorway.)