Paço Imperial – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Paço Imperial - photo courtesy of Wikicommons
Paço Imperial – photo courtesy of Wikicommons

Built in 1743, the Paço Imperial was once the home and headquarters of Brazil’s imperial viceroys. After escaping Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal and arriving in Brazil, King João VI converted the building into his royal palace and ruled what was left of the Portuguese empire from there. After Brazil’s independence, the emperors Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II made it their primary residence. After the monarchy was abolished, the Paço Imperial was converted into the more mundane central post office of Rio de Janeiro. However in the 1980s, the city of Rio de Janeiro, recognizing the historical value of the Paço to Brazil’s historical and cultural heritage, undertook the task of restoring the building and turning it into a concert hall and arts center. Today there is even a restaurant and a few shops located there.

The large square next to where the Paço resides, Praça 15 de Novembro (also know as Largo do Paço), was the site of a few great historical moments in Brazilian history including the coronation of two emperors (along with the deposing of Dom Pedro II) and the official abolition of slavery.

November 15th was the date of the declaration of the Republic of Brazil in 1889.

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