It is an old and colorful, unusual and picturesque Rio de Janeiro neighborhood that worth being visited. It stands on a high part of the city, and the most beautful way to reach the place is by streetcar that cross an historic aqueduct build in the end of the 18th century, in the colonial times of Brazil. Currently street car is under maintenance, and the city and neighbourhood expects it will return soon.
The old District and Its charm
Some houses are well preserved, but others need painting and restoration, but this is part of the charm of the place, with its hill, old homes and streets that are still paved with stones.
During the 60´s and 70´s many artistis and hippies moved into the old mansions of Santa Teresa.
There is a lively scene with a bohemian air in the bars and restaurants around Guimarães Square. In the place there is also interesting craft shops.
Mansions and aristocratic residences
The district used to be one of the favourite places to live in Rio, where the old aristocracy would build fine and big mansions. Even nowadays, there are some mansions in certain areas where traditional families still maintains its residence on site. The District also has many middle-class small houses, where people who seek an alternative way of living, fleeing from the apartments building in low areas of the city.
Among the names that made story as local residents are Laurinda Santos Lobo and Raimundo Ottoni de Castro Maia. The former residences of both houses today Parque das Ruinas and Chácara do Céu Museum.
The Street Car of Santa Teresa
The Bondinho of Santa Teresa, as it is called by the local, is the last street car line remaing from Rio de Janeiro of bygone days. Its one of the most interesting attractions of Rio de Janeiro City and Santa Teresa. Not only because the streetcar itself, but because it goes over "Arcos da Lapa", an old aqueduct from the end of the 18th century.
In the picture on the top of this page, you can see the street car crossing Lapa Square when going over "Arcos da Lapa".
In the pictures on the right, you can see the "Arcos da Lapa", the street car and an old mansion of the neighborhood.
Scenes of the Neighbourhood and Its attractions
In the picture below, on the left, you see some shops, bars and restaurants of Santa Teresa, near the Largo dos Guimaraes. The bar and restaurant with the facade yellow painted, alludes to the streetcar in its decorating. The lined one-storey buildings you see in the same pic on the left must be from second half of the 19th century, or maybe from early 20th century.
In the picture above, on the left, you can see the House of Arts of Santa Teresa, in a photo taken on a Carnival day. In that afternoon, there was many people dressed casually and sitting at tables lingering to chat and drinking something. The atmosphere was quite mixed, with many foreigners and visitors. The old three-storey mansion with a porch and balcony, appears to have been built in the last decade of the 19th century, becouse of lots of "Art Nouveau" ornaments in its ecletic facades. The gardens and the front stairs also refers to a time in the past, where some aristocratic family must have enjoyed this ancient abode and the beauty of the old neighbourhood, that today is somewhat different from the bygone day.
Walking through the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Teresa, we see a different place with an alternative and casaul atmosphere. If you look with attention, it is possible to do a dive in the history of this neighborhood, which arose in the remote times of colonial Rio. The neighborhood has buildings from the 18th century, such as the Convent of Santa Teresa which started being built in 1750.
Above, on the top of the hill, It is The Convent of Santa Teresa and the Carioca Aqueduct in 1820, at the time of painting, by Richard Bate. The building which appears on the left of the archs no longer exists. The Carioca Aqueduct or Carioca Archs at the present time are coated with plaster and painted white. The place you see in the foreground, on the left of the Aqueduct is called nowadays "Largo da Lapa" or Lapa Square. Put the mouse on the pic to alternate the images, and see a picture of the place taken approximately from the same point of view.
On the right of the Aqueduct, It appears the Riachuelo Street, which was then called "Rua Mata-Cavalo", which in Portuguese language means Horse-killer St. At this time the Men de Sá Avenue had not yet been opened nor was there the Red Cross Square. Both the Red Cross Square and Men de Sá Avenue were opened after the dismantling of "Morro do Senate" (Senate Hill), which began in 1891.