Praça XV (It means 15 Square) is part of the Rio de Janeiro Historical City Center. There are lots of historical buildings in the place and narrow old streets with interesting bar and restarurants in the surrounding areas. There also museuns, galleries and cultural centers nearby. It is at Praça 15 where you can take the ferryboats that takes you to Paquetá Island or Niteroi City on the other side of Guanabara Bay. When ships were the only mean of transportain to people that would go or come from overseas, Praça 15 was the main embarkment and landing port in Rio de Janeiro City.
During daytime on weekdays the area is lively and bustle. In the weekends there few people in the area during daytime and at night usually only people who is leaving ou going to the ferryboat terminal at Praça 15 pass by the area. Below the main points of interest to visit in the place and surrounding areas.
At Praça XV (15 Square) there are many historic attractions such as "Arco do Teles" building and area, which was built in the colonial times. If you pass through the passage at "Arco do Teles" building, you will find some narrow alleys with interesting bars and restaurants which is another attraction.
Paço Imperial (Imperial Palace) it was the Palace of the Viceroys at the colonial times, and it is most noticeable building in the square. The building is opened to visitation, and inside the building there is a huge bookstore, gallery, restorant and café-bar.
Surrounding Praça 15 there are other important and historic buildings and churchs. It is also in Praça 15 that you have access to Naval Museum at D.Manuel Street nº 15 and the Naval Cultural Complex and Hall. It is at the Naval Cultural Hall, locate at Av. Alfredo Agache, nearby Praça 15 that you can by a ticket to visit the Fiscal Island.
If you want to go to Niteroi City or Paqueta Island, the Ferry Boat Terminal is also located here.
Real Palace or Imperial Palace
Historic churchs at Praça XV
Arco do Teles e Bares
Historic Foutain at Praça XV
Ferry Boat Terminal at Praça XV
Naval Cultural Complex and Hall
15 Square currently takes the name of 15 after 15 of November date. It was the day of the Republic Proclamation. Anyaway its first denomination It was Largo of the Carmo and later Largo of the Paço. Before the last change of name, in the second half of the last century the square had been rebaptized as D. Peter II Square, the last Emperor of Brazil.
Square 15 is one of the oldest places of Rio de Janeiro City, and during the colonial times and empire times, it was the main port for all the ones who arrived in Rio de Janeiro, in a time when the sea was the only mean of transport for the passengers that would come from overseas.
So, XV Square was the main port of embarkment and landing of the governors of the colonial times and also used by the real and imperial family.
The oldest construction of the place is certainly the Convent of the Carmo, whose building does not belong more to the religious order and since a long time it has other occupations, having been used by the Portuguese Court in the begining of the 18th century, in the 20 th century it had been used by an educational institution until some years ago, and currently it occupied by some public agencies.
But the building has been preserved, at least regarding to its external facades. The Carmo Convent was the first great construction in in thre place, and one of the biggest of Rio de Janeiro City, at the time of its construction.
Praça 15 square, in the begining of the Portuguese colonization, It was called Plaza of the Carmo after the building. Later, in the place it was built a huge building to be the headquarters of the Brazil Governors. The building it was calle The House of the Governors. When D.João VI, Regent Prince, future King of Brazil and Portugal, and the Portuguese Court came to Brazil, and settled in Rio de Janeiro, they occupied The House of The Governors, and the building that it was a palace, had its name changed to Paço Real ( Real Palace or King´s Palace), becouse at that time it housed the King. The Royal Family had about 4 palaces, being the most important and noticiable The Royal and Imperial Palace of São Cristovão, in Rio de Janeiro City and The Imperial Palace in Petrópolis City.
From that time on, the square became known as "Largo do Paço" which means "Square of the Palace" or "Palace Square".
During the second half of the 19th, during the reign of D.Pedro II, the place had its name changed again to D. Pedro II Square.
Amongst the main attractions such as historical buildings and preserved building located in XV Square and surrounding ares, threre is Arco do Teles (The Arc of the Teles building), one of the constructions remaning from the colonial times, which give passage to lots of narrow streets, where there are many interesting bars and restaurants.
The former Royal Palace at XV Square (Paço Real) is the biggest construction in XV Square. As it was said before, the old name of the place, Plaza of the Paço came because of this construction in the place.
On the 1º of March Street, right in front of XV Square, there are two historical churches and the building Carmo Convent. Both churchs is worth a visit, and one of them it was Royal Chapel.
A historical fountain, known as "Fountain of the Pyramid" or Pyramid Fountain due to this top in the form of a pyramid, in the 19th century it was a famous icon of the city and it appears in some paintings and engravings of time. The fountain is preserved with the same apperance, since the end of 18th century, when it was erected. This fountain is one the masterpieces of the of Master Valentim, a great artist and city planner, author of many pieces of art and sculpture spreaded out in the city. Master Valentim it was the author of the design and landscape project of the first promenade in Rio and in Brazil, the so called Passeio Público (Public Promenade) and also the designer of the sculptures that you can see there. Passeio Público is preserved, although it underwent some changes in the second half of the nineteenth century.
In the picture above, the building of the Carmo Convent is seen in the foreground. It is not allowed to visit its interiors, but you can see its exteriors and its facades. It located on the corner of 1º of March Street with 7 of September Street, right in front of Praça 15. The construction that appears on the other side of 7 of September Street is the Carmo Church (also former Royal Chapel).
In the other photo, on the right side, in the foreground you can see part of Praça XV, and you can also see the Carmo Convent building on the right side of the picuture. In the background you can see The Paço Imperal, also know as Paço Real (Royal Palace at XV Square). In the picture you can see many pedestrians on a lively business day. The are is part of the Rio City Center or Downton, close to Rio Branco Av, one of the main thoroughfares of Rio de Janeiro.
To get to Praça XV, you can go by bus or by Metro if you want to walk a short distance after getting off at Carioca Metro Station.
If you wanto to go by bus, you have to take some one that goes past Praça 15 and get off at the nearest bus stop on 1º de Março Street, almost in front of the square.
If you take the Subway, you have to get off at Carioca Station, and then, go along Rio Branco Av. until you get to 7 de Setembro St corner. Turner to the right and go along 7 de Setembro street towards to the sea until you get to Praça 15. It is not to far, and while you walk you can see more parts and streets of Rio City Center.
It is at Praça XV (or Praça 15) where you take the ferry to go to Niteroi City or Paqueta Island, at the Ferryboat Terminal.