Historical center of São Luís (II)
Destination São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.
A walk in the historical center of São Luís:
2. Teatro Artur Azevedo, Igreja e Convento do Carmo, and Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos.
In the previous episode, Igreja do Desterro and Bar Antigamente have been described. Below is the continuation of the walk, with descriptions of Teatro Artur Azevedo, Igreja e Convento do Carmo, and Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos.
Teatro Artur Azevedo
It is hard to miss this theater, built in Neoclassicism style, in the historical center of São Luís. The brick red building with Corinthian pillars is in sharp contrast with the deep blue of the cloudless sky. In 1817, the construction was started, but Carmelite priests tried to block it. These priests had their cloister annex church at the other size of the street, and didn’t tolerate a profane building that would affect the holiness of their cloister. In order to meet the priests’ objections, the entrance was turned 180 degrees and is now located at Rua do Sol. In 1817, the then called Theatro União was inaugurated; in 1852, the name of the theater was changed into Teatro São Luís, and – more recently – into Tatro Artur Azevedo, named after the famous poet and dramatist from the state of Maranhão.
Inside the theater
Igreja e Convento do Carmo
As mentioned above, at the other side of the theater, Igreja e Convento do Carmo, the cloister annex church of Carmelite priests is located. In 1627, its construction was started. However, in 1643, the complex underwent significant reforms. It then served as a defense stronghold of the Portuguese army in their battle against Dutch invaders. Eventually, the complex became the location for Colégio Maranhense, Bibliotéca Pública, and Polícia Provincial. There is hardly anything left of the original construction, except for some azuleijo panels that date back from 1866. Within the complex are the graves of local bishops and priests. Since 1894, the complex is owned by the Capuchin priests.
Igreja do Rosário
Another church was located at a corner near our hotel. This church was constructed by slaves in the 17th century (most probably in 1612), under the responsibility of the Fraternity of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos. São Luís is not the only city with a church that is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary (of the black people) . More such churches are located in (historical) cities, many of them in the state of Minas Gerais. The 1772 the church was restored. I was not only allowed to take pictures inside the church, but I also got the opportunity to take pictures of pictures of religious feasts of many years ago.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom