A walk along the ruins in Alcântara (V)
Destination São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.
The ruins of Santo Antônio de Alcântara: the royal palaces and Casa do Divino
On a Sunday morning, a catamaran carried us to the other side of Baía de São Marcos, a distance of more than fifty km. On the peninsula is the historical city of Santo Antônio de Alcântara, a large open air museum.
Alcântara is a peninsula northwest of São Luís Island, separated by Baia de São Marcos.
The emperor comes!
There was an intensive rivalry between the aristocrats in Alcãntara. This rivalry peked when Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro II announced his visit to the peninsula. As a result, two barons competed intensively for the emperor’s favor to stay in one if their royal palaces. Baron de Pindaré, one of Dom Pedro’s former classmates, appeared to win this weird competition. The fierce duel was abruptly ended, when one of the owners was murdered. The emperor canceled his visit, and the palaces were never completed.
Ruins of Baron de Mearim’s Palace
View on the San Marcos Bay
Baron de Pindaré’s Palace
Casa do Divino
In Maranhão, Festa do Divino Santo Espírito (Feast of the Divine Holy Spirit) is one of the principal religious feasts. This feast takes place fifty days after Easter. Probably, inhabitants of the Azores had started these celebrations on the peninsula already in the 17th century. A group of children was selected and was called império (empire). Two of the children were elected as emperor and empress (or king and queen) and were treated as royals during the feast. In Alcântara, Casa do Divino was the seat of the imperial couple, and the parties took place there. This house, which was closed during our visit, still contains the altar and the objects that were used during the festival. The Casa do Divino is another example of the typical colonial architectural style.
Casa do Divino
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom