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Distance from Rio de Janeiro: 68 km; São Paulo: 475 km; Belo Horizonte: 386 km
The name Petrópolis means "city of Pedro"; Pedro I and Pedro II were the only two Emperors of Brazil.
Petrópolis is nestled about 800 meters (2,600 ft) above sea level, on the Serra dos Órgãos. It´s the main winter destination of people from Rio de Janeiro; Petrópolis offers a combination of good gastronomy, comfortable hotels, the proximity of the Serra dos Órgãos and important architectural heritage.
With a mild climate and mountains covered in the lush vegetation of the Atlantic Forest, Petrópolis became the Brazilian Imperial Family´s favorite summer resort, back in the 19th century. Emperor Dom Pedro I acquired a plot of land here to build a summer palace, and his son Pedro II founded Petrópolis in 1843. Petrópolis retained its glamour even after the proclamation of the Republic; inside the Palácio Quitandinha, for example, there was a large casino operating until the 1940s.
Petrópolis - important buildings
Museu Imperial - The Imperial Museum. One of the most important museums in Brazil.
This pink neoclassical palace offers a glimpse of what everyday life was like in the imperial family. The museum used to be the imperial summer residence and is exquisitely decorated, from the white Carrara and black Belgian marble at the entrance to the dining hall´s mahogany furniture. Highlight include the jacaranda hardwood of the music room where Dom Pedro II held soirées and recitals, the Princesses Isabel and Leopoldina´s room, the paintings and objects of the Emperor´s study (Dom Pedro II was a man of impressive culture), and the decor of Empress Teresa Cristina´s drawing room.
The collection of artifacts on view contains jewelry, crowns (THE imperial crown is here), paintings (check out the portrait of Princess Isabel by famous Brazilian painter Victor Meirelles) and personal effects. Visitors must wear felt slippers when touring the museum. The gardens, designed by French landscape artist Jean Baptiste Binot, sport imposing imperial palms and over one hundred species of exotic plants and trees such as the Portuguese cypress.
From Thursdays through Saturdays, the museum is setting for the Son et Lumière show, a choreographed play of Sounds and Lights on the façade of the building.
Palácio Rio Negro - Black River Palace. Built by wealthy coffee baron Barão do Rio Negro. It was the seat of the government between 1894 and 1902, when Petrópolis was the capital of the Province and State of Rio de Janeiro.
The Palace also has been Brazil´s official presidential summer residence since 1903; however, since 1960, when Brasília became the federal capital, it hasn´t been occupied much. The furnishing reflects the taste of the many Presidents who have stayed here; Getúlio Vargas converted the wine cellar intoa Roman style bath-house and Juscelino Kubitschek had bult-in closets installed.
Casa de Santos Dumont - Santos Dumont House. For Brazilians and Frenchmen, Santos Dumont is the Brazilian inventor of the airplane; he designed this three story house in 1918 and spent a good time here.
Dumont had an active mind, and the house shows it. There are several curiosities popular with children, such as the alcohol heated shower and the fact that (Dumont was very superstitious) the first step of the staricase is constructed in such a way that one must take the first step with the right foot.
Casa da Princesa Isabel - Princess Isabel House. Princess Isabel, Dom Pedro II´s daughter, entered History when she signed the law which freed slaves in Brazil.
This pink Neoclassical building was home of the Princess and her husband Count D´Eu until 1889. Now it´s headquarters for real estate firms which belong to descendants of the imperial family; the firm owns the original map of the sub-divisions that gave rise to the city.
Palácio de Cristal - Crystal Palace. The metal and glass components of the Palace were manufactured in 1879 in Saint-Saveur-les-Arras, France; that kind of building was opular in Europe after the Industrial Revolution.
In 1888, four years after opening, Prince Isabel held a spectacular party here; at that historical event, she granted freedom to several slaes, and that was a prelude to her signing, a few months later, the law which abolished slavery in Brazil.
Palácio Quitandinha. This impressive building once contained the largest casino in Latin America, but it operated for only two years (gambling was banned in Brazil in 1946). Today, it is a convention center.
Catedral de São Pedro de Alcântara. The cathedral, in French Neogothic style, dates from 1939. The 70 meter (230 foot) building houses the Imperial Chapel, which contains the remains of Dom Pedro II, his wife Dona Teresa Cristina, his daughter Princess Isabel and her husband Conde D´Eu.
Hotels in Petrópolis
Hotels in Petrópolis. List of hotels in Petrópolis.
More sites about Petrópolis:
Petrópolis. Official site.
Petrópolis on line. Commercial portal.
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