The real port of Rio de Janeiro, the oldest edge of town, went from the banks of Morro do Castelo, in Largo da Misericórdia, until shortly after Praça XV, in Valongo wharf and Prainha. In the first two centuries of occupation of the city, the river port was merely a spot sheltered for deep water surrounded by mountains of the Guanabara Bay: ships anchored and made the connection with land by boats. Colonial Rio was at the same time, a port, a fortress, the capital and the door to the countryside. An area for the arrival of passengers and goods, it would also seep the production of sugar mills, the gold mines, cattle ranches and coffee. It was in the vicinity of the port that the city began to grow.
In the second half of the 18th century, the port started to divide its functions: the arrival of noblemen and noble goods was at the wharves between the hills of Castelo and São Bento. The moorings of Valongo, Saúde and Gamboa received goods brought by larger ships and also enslaved Africans who left fundamental contributions to the Brazilian culture through religion, music, dance, garb and cuisine. With the advent of steamships and large scale ships, in the nineteenth century, the port was modernized and turned into a floating industry, at a time when the sea was a trashcan of society, where all kinds of manure was dropped. In the early twentieth century, the region was marked by the major reforms of Mayor Pereira Passos and the overthrow of Morro do Castelo.
When Rio was no longer the capital, the flow of goods fled the city, going to the nearby port Santos, closer to Brazil's financial center, Sao Paulo. Without the maritime activity, the commercial city center which was forbidden to be inhabited, turned its back to the port area. The region was also hidden due to the construction of a huge underpass that would help alleviate the traffic connecting the two airports to the port and Rio-Niteroi bridge. The revitalization works in the 21st century, the overthrow of the underpass called Perimetral and the recovery of the seafront once forgotten brought a breath of fresh air to the region. Rolé Carioca will go along the sea, through Orla Conde, a symbol of the major changes in the city.