Olinda is a beautiful and well-preserved historical city in Pernambuco state of Brazil. The colonial city enchants the tourists with picturesque spots, pastel-colored houses, street art, carnivals, and churches. There are plenty of attractions in and around the city for the tourists who want to explore the northeastern part of Brazil along the coast of Atlantic Ocean. Normally tourists plan to visit Recife and Olinda together as the both cities are located very close to each other and are hence mentioned as twin cities.
The historic downtown of Olinda is a World Heritage Site and one of the top attractions of the city. A minimum of 3 days holidays is suggested if you are planning to visit Olinda and Recife especially if you want to take a relaxing day at the beautiful beach. The best time to visit is of course during the wonderful street carnival where you not only enjoy watching but also can participate if you have talents. Olinda has a very live atmosphere fused with a very relaxing environment.
History of Olinda Brazil
Historical evidence show that the coastal area of the Northeastern Brazil was occupied by tribes which were at war most of the times. It is said that the French were the first to reach this area, but Portuguese were the ones who could manage to build their strong hold in this area. Olinda was founded in 1537 and became the seat of territorial Prelature of Pernambuco in 1614. The region was already popular in the production of Sugarcane and to increase the production and to build strong economy, slaves were imported from Africa which made Olinda a strong colonial city. The slavery continued in Olinda until it was abolished by the government law “Lei Aurea” in 1888.
Olinda was once invaded and burnt down by the Dutch. The Portuguese rebuilt the town but this time on a hill to create a strong defense system. Dutch reinvaded the coastal area again in the 17th century when the Kingdom of Portugal was united with Spain. Dutch captured Olinda and also Recife. They kept moving forward and capture many more areas in this northeastern part of Brazil. They also captured the sugarcane plantations. Dutch gave more importance to Recife and Olinda was ignored. After the Portuguese re-established their authority on all these areas in 1640, Recife continued to emerge and became the capital of the Pernambuco state. Olinda transformed into a suburban area near the metropolitan area of Recife.
The less population and the importance of Olinda’s history made it a popular tourism site and the church of the city Sao Salvador do Mundo remained the primary seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. The historical downtown of Olinda became the World Heritage Site and the city became one of the best-preserved old cities of Brazil. To magnify the historical importance, Olinda hosts an amazing carnival every year with the rhythms of frevo, maracatu, etc.
12 Things to do in Olinda Brazil
The Carnival of Olinda Brazil
Starting with the Carnival, as I already suggested that the best time to visit the old historical city is during the carnival. The Carnival extends to both cities of Olinda and Recife and is one of the most exciting events in Brazil. There are no fees or charges to enter in the carnival and no ropes to divide the crowd. In fact, unlike Rio, this carnival is like a small street celebration, but the most amazing thing is that, it is everywhere and in every street. There are many performers, jugglers, characters in bright costumes, puppets, music, and dance shows.
Historic Center of Olinda Brazil
The beautiful historic houses, streets, churches, and architecture are so well-preserved that it must be praised. The local and educated population must also be praised as they have always helped to maintain this historical city as a magnificent attraction. The Historic center charms the visitors with excellent old architecture, amazing churches and pastel colored houses which are so picturesque that you cannot refrain yourself from taking the amazing pictures for your screensavers.
Churches of Olinda Brazil
Now we already know that how well the town is preserved. The churches of Olinda are also a must visit as these white-washed colonial churches dominate the beautiful landscape of this sweet little town. The grand cathedrals and the elegant little shrines in the neighborhood provide an amazing insight into the culture, history, and religion of the city.
Have fun at the Coquerial Park in Olinda Brazil
Coquerial Park in Olinda is a wonderful place of attraction for the whole family. It is totally safe for the kids and evenly amazing for people with old age. The park is wheelchair friendly and has amazingly good food available. There are many attractions like fishing, water slides, rides, and play area for kids. The park is very comfortable and a great educational place for young children.
Art Galleries of Olinda Brazil
We have already talked about the carnivals and churches, but we must also mention the mesmerizing art galleries in Olinda. There are numerous event halls and art galleries which display a lot of beautiful paintings, objects, sculptures made by the local artists of the city. These are great places to collect memorable souvenirs to decorate your home with real and authentic memories of the town.
Museu do Mamulengo
If you have missed the puppets in the carnival or want to see them again in detail, then Museu do Mamulengo is the right place to go. The museum is small and has a limited but powerful collection that depicts the architecture, culture, and religion of the region. You will not only learn about the local traditions but also the religious side of the city of Olinda.
There are large puppets on display which tour the city during the carnivals. There is also information about thousands of local and famous artists, politicians, legends, and holy men. The “Mamulengo” is a kind of doll which has historical importance of education and evangelization. This museum is a worth visit place because it is one of its kind and you can see something very different than usual things.
Castelo de Ricardo Brennand
Castelo de Ricardo Brennand is a wonderful place to visit if you are in Olinda and Recife. This beautiful castle is also a museum with very nice collections on display. There is also a beautiful garden in Castelo de Ricardo Brennand which is very well maintained. This is a great place for families and children. The admission is free on Tuesdays. There is no nearby bus stop, so you should go by taxi.
Espaco Ciencia of Olinda Brazil
Espaco Ciencia is a great place for the teenagers and kids who love to see and know about Dinosaurs. The place has many replicas of dinosaurs and other creatures. Kids can indulge in the interactive games and experiments to enhance their knowledge and skills. There is a guided tour for the kids and adults who get educated by interesting display items, science experiments and workshops that explain the mechanism about how different things work.
Mirabilandia Park of Olinda Brazil
Mirabilandia Park is a theme park of Olinda and has been here since very long. The name of the park is changed but the significance and location are still important. Locals love to bring their kids to this place, and you will get to see and mingle with many locals. There are many thrilling rides for adults too who want to enjoy adrenaline rush other than the arts and architecture of Olinda.
Views of the Twin Cities from Alto da Se
To get amazed with the best views of the twin cities of Olinda and Recife from one place, you must visit Alto Da Se. The top of the tower provides beautiful and panoramic views of Olinda with is colorful colonial buildings, architecture, and vistas of swaying coconut trees. You can reach to the top of the tower by an elevator. The views during the sunset are amazing, where one side is Recife the metropolitan city, and the other side is Olinda the World Heritage Site. There is a café and the food and services are good too.
Day Trip to Recife
If you are in Olinda, you also must visit Recife especially after the panoramic views from Alto da Se. The beautiful contrast makes your trip wonderful when you will leave from the historical city of Olinda and reach Recife in a short taxi ride, which has a modern landscape with skyscrapers and shopping malls. The lifestyle, architecture and culture are different in contrast to Olinda which makes it really an exceptional experience. There are plenty of attractions in Recife as well for kids and adults.
Casa Caiada Beach of Olinda Brazil
Beach way is the beautiful Brazilian way especially when you are near the coastal areas of Brazil. The attractive stretch of sand in Olinda is a perfect place to enjoy, lay back, relax, or spend time with friends sipping on some drinks. The water is beautiful, so that you will be tempted to swim, but be careful the region has many sharks. There is also an exhibition of old pictures of the tourist spots near the beach area. You will see many couples here who come to enjoy the romantic atmosphere and beautiful sunsets of the Olinda beach.
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