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Area code: 24
Distances: from Rio de Janeiro: 248 km; from São Paulo: 350 km.
Paraty or Parati? The original name was Paraty, but currently the use of "y" (and "w" and "k") in Portuguese is counter advised by the Brazilian Academy of Literature; hence, most modern books use the form "Parati", but older and traditional sources (with support from the city itself) still carry Paraty.
Paraty is one of the most charming sites on Brazilian southeast coast and a gateway to the past. Founded in the mid 17th century, Paraty was on the route of the gold exportations, and later on on the route of coffe; the rich colonial archicteture was preserved, and the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1966. The historical center, where cars are prohibited, preserves numerous architectural treasures from the 18th century.
The streets are paved with the original and irregular rough cobblestones; during the high tide, the water still invades the area, and the stones allow for an easier drainage.
The colonial center abounds with artistic life. On nearly every corner, there is someone playing music, making arts or performing some kind of show. An intensive cultural program fills the calendar, featuring events of gastronomic, musical, cultural and folkloric nature, including in this latter one the beautiful Festa do Divino (Feast of Divine; tradition from Azores in the 18th century, ten days of typical dances and pilgrimages which happen fourty days after Easter).
The mountains of Serra da Bocaina surround Paraty, and its dozens of small islands dot its bay.
Numerous beautiful beaches (some nearly desert) and some snorkeling spots attract beach goers. Boats and trawlers are available for hire at the quay. Various routes stops at three of four beaches and permit diving, amidst spectacular scenery, off Algodão and Sapeca islands.
Because of the location at the foot of the mountains, the city is starting point for trekking tours in the highlands with visits to several waterfalls.
The historical center of Paraty, declared Brazilian Heritage, exhibits one of the most harmonic architectonic collections in the country; most houses retain the features since their building, back in the 16th century.
The Casa da Cultura de Paraty (Culture House) occupies a magnificent mansion built in 1754 and holds a permanent exhibition on local History and culture, besides periodic cultural events. On the same street, one find the Teatro Espaço, home of the renowned Puppet Theater.
As in other colonial cities, the churches are an attraction. The Igreja da Santa Rita is the oldest church in Paraty, dating from 1722, and houses the Museum of Sacred Art. The Igreja do Rosário, built in 1725, used to be the slave´s church; the decoration is very simple, except for the gold leaf on the altars, which was added in the early 20th century. The construction of the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios began in 1787 and took nearly 100 years to complete, because of the lack of money. The Igreja Nossa Senhora das Dores (Our Lady of Sorrows), also known as Capelinha (Small Chapel), was built in 1800 in typical 18th century style and was used by the aristocracy during the imperial years; note the delicate tracery of the balconies and the crystal chandelier over the choir stalls.
In Praça da Matriz, in between the churches, a daily fair displays many arts and crafts, as well as music and puppet shows.
Hotels in Paraty
Hotels in Paraty. List of hotels in Paraty.
More sites about Paraty:
Paraty.com.br. Info in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Paraty.com. In Portuguese only.
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