Although it’s proximity with Rio’s historical center, the Santa Teresa neighborhood was occupied in a distinctive way from the city, sheltering African ritual centers and quilombolas among it’s densely vegetation in the middle of the 18th century. The name takes it’s origins from the Santa Teresa Monastery, built in 1750 on a piece of land donated to eh barefoot Carmelite nuns, where previously existed a small church to Nossa Senhora do Desterro (Our Lady of the Relegation) – then known as Morro do Desterro (Relegation Hill). By 1850, fundamentally caused by the many epidemic diseases devastating the city, the region was then used as a refuge. Close to the Guanabara Bay, the location guaranteed fresh air and strategic access to Downtown, as well as to the North and South Zones (through Lapa, Glória, Laranjeiras, Cosme Velho, Catumbi and Rio Comprido).
The occupation initiated by the time brought mansions and small castells that now constitutes the singular architectonic set, preserved contiguous to the paving stone streets and the centenary oil lamps. It was also on the 19th century that the streetcars were inaugurated, initially pulled by donkeys and then replaced by the electric ones. This urbanistic structure is preserved nowadays in conjunction to an artistic and bohemian inclination, at the best “as in former days” styled bars around the public squares like Largo das Neves, which seems frozen in time, the starting point on our 2nd Rolé Carioca through Santa Teresa.
Image: Augusto Malta/BN Digital