Alagoas, Brazil's second smallest state, lies on the north-eastern coast. It is bordered on the north by Pernambuco and on the south, beyond the Rio São Francisco, by Sergipe state; in the west it has a short common boundary with Bahia. Important elements in its economy are the growing of cotton and sugar-cane and domestic tourism.
PenedoSituation and CharacteristicsThe historic little town of Penedo lies 173km/107mi south-west of Macéio in the far south of Alagoas, near the border of Sergipe state. It is a good base for boat trips on the lower course of the Rio São Francisco, and the town has some of the finest churches in Alagoas.Bus stationAvenida Casa das PedrasHistoryPenedo originated in the 16th century as a fortified settlement (arrayal) on the banks of the Rio São Francisco. Its foundation is attributed to Duarte Coelho, first holder of the capitania of Pernambuco (which also included the territory of Alagoas). Its main sources of income were the growing of sugar-cane and cattle-rearing. The rearing of cattle developed on a large scale on the banks of the river, however, only after the fall of the large quilombo of Palmares, which for almost a century had dominated the interior of Alagoas between the Rio São Francisco and Pernambuco.
São Francisco (Nossa Senhora dos Anjos)
São FranciscoN.S. dos AnjosAlthough the construction of the imposing complex of buildings consisting of the Franciscan friary of São Francisco and the church of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos began in the 17th century, building work continued until 1783. The Baroque façade was completed around 1765. The nave has a trompe-l'oeil ceiling painting. The lower part of the whitewashed walls is faced with azulejos depicting Biblical scenes. The Rococo high altar is covered with gold leaf, and the choir chapel has gilded carving.
São Gonçalo Garcia
São Gonçalo GarciaThe church of São Gonçalo Garcia (1758-70) has a limestone façade in Rococo style. It contains the oldest religious paintings in the town.
Nossa Senhora Da Corrente
N.S. da CorrenteThe church of Nossa Senhora da Corrente (1764) illustrates the transitional phase between Rococo and neo-classicism. It is decorated with colored azulejos and painted carving.