Joao Pessoa Tourist Attractions
João PessoaSituationJoão Pessoa, capital of Paraíba state, lies on the Atlantic coast of Brazil between Natal (185km/115mi north) and Recife (120km/75mi south).Bus stationRua Francisco LondresAirportAeroporto Regional Presidente Castro PintoHistoryFilipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves - as the town was originally known - was founded in 1585 near the mouth of the Rio Paraíba and was chartered from the outset as a town - the third oldest town in Brazil. The town was designed to support the settlement of the north coast, from Paraíba to Ceará.Thanks to its strategic situation and the good soil of the surrounding area, suitable for the growing of sugar-cane, the town prospered. Its prosperity is reflected in its handsome Baroque buildings; modern development has fortunately been kept within bounds.
On Praça São Francisco, to the north of the city center, is the church of São Francisco.
Santo Antônio Monastery
Santo AntìnioOn Praça São Francisco, to the north of the city center, is the friary of Santo Antìnio, the finest example of Franciscan architecture in Brazil.The friary was designed in 1590 by the Franciscan architect Francisco dos Santos, but building began only in 1701 with the construction of the Capela da Ordem Terceira (Chapel of the Third Order). The cloister was completed about 1730.MonasteryThe art historian German Bazin described the façade of Santo Antìnio as "one of the most magnificent architectural compositions in the whole of Latin America". The monumental forecourt is bounded on either side by walls richly decorated with azulejos and sculpture. The fine cross in front of the entrance is characteristic of Franciscan churches. The luxuriant carving on the pulpit is thought to show Indian influence. The roof of the nave has trompe-l'oeil paintings.
Capela DouradaThe Chapel of the Third Order, covered with gilded carving and paintings, is known as the Capela Dourada (Golden Chapel). On the columns of the high altar are sirens and other mythological figures. The side altars are no less richly decorated.
Museum of Sacred Art
Museum of Sacred ArtWithin the conventual buildings is the Museum of Sacred Art of Paraíba.
CathedralTo the west of the Franciscan house, on Avenida General Osório, is the Cathedral (1586).
Nossa Senhora do Carmo
N.S. do CarmoOn Praça D. Adauto are the church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo and the 16th century Bishop's Palace. In the nave of the church are Baroque stone altars.Nearby is an 18th century house decorated with azulejo panels.
Jesuit College and Convent
Jesuit College and ConventFrom Praça São Francisco Rua Duque de Caxias runs south past the Misericódia church (1612) to Praça João Pessoa, in which is another large religious complex, the Jesuit College (1586) and the Jesuit house associated with it. The College is now occupied by the Law Faculty of the University; the conventual buildings, now known as the Palácio da Redenção, house the state government.
Casa da Pólvora
Casa da PólvoraThe stone-built Casa da Pólvora (1710), on Largo de São Francisco, to the north of the Cathedral, is now occupied by the Museu Walfredo Rodrigues, with photographic material on the history of João Pessoa.
Parque Sólon de Lucena
Parque Sólon de LucenaNorth-east of Praça João Pessoa is the spacious Parque Sólon de Lucena, with a lake and magnificent royal palms.
Bica ParkIn Rua Gouveia Nóbrega, is the Parque Arruda Câmera, also known as Bica Park, with an 18th century fountain.
Cultural CenterOn Avenida Presidente Kennedy (Tambauzinho district) is a house once occupied by the writer José Lins do Rego (1901-57), now a Cultural Center, with a library, a conference hall, a theatre, a cinema, an art gallery and a planetarium.
There are a number of towns and attractions in the area surrounding João Pessoa.
Beaches7km/4.5mi east of João Pessoa is the beach of Tambaú, famed for its jangadeiros, the Hotel Tambaú, which resembles a rocket launching ramp, and its craft products. To the north are the Praias de Manaíra (8km/5mi), do Bessa (11km/7mi) and do Poço (10km/6mi). 14km/8.7mi south of the town is Cabo Branco ("White Cape"), with the promontory of Ponta do Seixas, the most easterly point on the American continent. Farther south (18km/11mi) is Penha, with a church of 1854; here the Festa de Nossa Senhora da Penha is celebrated in the second half of December, with folk dance groups and singers.
Baía da Traição
Baía da Traição85km/53mi from João Pessoa on BR 101 Norte is the Baía da Traição, with cliff-fringed beaches and a scatter of small fishing villages. Features of interest are the old cannon left after the expulsion of the Dutch in 1625 and the church of São Miguel (1741). The Festa do Toré (a native dance) is celebrated on April 19th.
Itapuá sugar-millThe road to Campina Grande, the second largest town in Paraíba state, to the west of João Pessoa, runs past a number of sugar-mills. In 50km/31mi it comes to the large Engenho Itapuá, the sugar-mill which inspired José Lins do Rego to such works as "Fogo Morto" ("Dead Fire", 1943).
Pedra do Ingá
Pedra do Ingá108km/67mi from João Pessoa on the road to Campina Grande is the Pedra do Ingá, with rock inscriptions. This area in the Chapada de Borborema was formerly the territory of the large Cariri tribe, which now, along with other tribes such as the Xucuru, numbers no more than 4000.
Map of Joao Pessoa Attractions