A good example of this is Cidade Velha (“Old Town”), the historic centre where one can find the façades of old colonial buildings, built between 17th and 19th Centuries. The highlight goes to Casadas Onze Janelas (“House of the Eleven Windows”), a former hospital recently turned into a contemporary art museum, and Forte do Presépio, a public monument that dominates the oldest part of Feliz Lusitânia. Houses covered in typical Portuguese tiles can be seen everywhere.
The 19th Century was a prosperous time due to the success of the rubber trade. The Theatro da Paz, a neoclassical theatre from the late 1800’s, is a true symbol of that era: it was financed by the local elite and is still up and running these days. Another example of this style of architecture is the Belém Art Museum, one of the city’s main cultural institutions.
The Portuguese legacy is also present in the strong local religious traditions, which peak during October with the year’s main religious event: Círio da Nazaré, Brazil’s largest Catholic procession, has a history going back to the 18th century and attracts roughly two million participants every year! It is a gargantuan sea of people pushing and elbowing each other to get a good spot to follow a religious statue that is carried from Belém’s Cathedral to the Basilica of Nazaré. Visiting Belém during this time of the year is always an intense experience!!