Historic Center, São Paulo
The Historic Center is the old section of São Paulo with numerous historic sites.
Mosteiro de São Bento
Mosteiro de São BentoRua São Bento leads to Largo São Bento, in which are the Mosteiro de São Bento (Benedictine monastery), built in the late 16th century, and its church of 1910-22. A number of notable Benedictine artists contributed to the decoration of the monastery, including Agostinho de Jesus, who carved the clay statues of St Benedict and St Scholastica between 1650 and 1652. Other notable features are the stained glass, the German-made organ, an image of the Virgin in a robe set with pearls and a crucifix of 1777.
Pátio do Colégio
Pátio do ColégioThe Pátio do Colégio, immediately north of Praça da Sé, can be regarded as the original nucleus of São Paulo. Here Manuel de Nóbrega and José de Anchieta founded the College of the Society of Jesus, a place of residence and study for Jesuits, and here on January 25th 1554 the first mass in the settlement was celebrated. The Pátio do Colégio is now occupied by the Historical Museum, the Casa Anchieta and the Capela de Anchieta. All that remains of the 16th century building is the doors and a stretch of clay wall.
Largo de São Francisco
Largo de São FranciscoOn Largo de São Francisco, to the west of Praça da Sé and the Pátio do Colégio, are the church of São Francisco (1644) and the church of the Ordem Terceira de São Francisco, the Third (lay) Franciscan Order (1676-1791). The third building in the complex, the Franciscan friary, has been occupied since 1828, under an imperial decree, by the Law Faculty of São Paulo University.
CathedralThe best starting-point for a tour of São Paulo is the old town on the hill between the Tamanduateí and Anhangabaú valleys. On the centrally situated Praça da Sé is the neo-Gothic Cathedral (Sé), built on the site of an earlier cathedral. The building of the Cathedral took 24 years, but it was finally consecrated in 1954, on the 400th anniversary of the foundation of São Paulo. On the façade are statues of Old Testament prophets and Christ's disciples. The stained glass windows depict the history of Catholicism in Brazil.
Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo
Igreja do CarmoFrom Praça Clóvis Bevilácqua, the eastward continuation of Praça da Sé, Avenida Rangel Pestana runs north-east. In this street is the Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo (church of the Third Carmelite Order), in a style very typical of the 17th century, with a Baroque high altar.
São GonçaloTo the south of Praça da Sé is Praça João Mendes, with the church of São Gonçalo (1763; national monument).
Santo AntônioFarther west, in the direction of the Anhangabaú valley, is Praça do Patriarca, with the 18th century church of Santo Antônio.
Martinelli BuildingRua São Bento, which skirts one side of Praça do Patriarca, continues along the Anhanguera valley. Farther north it runs into Avenida São João, which cuts across the valley and runs west. At this intersection is the Martinelli Building (1929), the first skyscraper in South America.
The Martinelli Building now houses the City Museum (Museu da Cidade), with material illustrating the early days of São Paulo.
Historic Center Pictures
Map of Sao Paulo (City) Attractions