Didem Doğan

Olinda: the ocean breeze and the carnaval city

Brazil has many examples of colonial beauty: Our Preto in Minas Gerais state, Salvador, the first capital of the country in the state of Bahia, Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and Olinda in the Northeast, the state of Pernambuco. As beautiful as the name is the old town of Olinda. Founded in 1554 by the Portuguese it is declared a world heritage site by Unesco. Many buildings you’ll see are from the seventeenth century which are built after the Dutch invasion of the city. Two floor houses with coloured doors, churches and monasteries and the most important of all Olinda’s world famous carnaval. Olinda is well known with its carnaval, but we need to clarify one point; this is indeed a real carnaval, it takes place on the streets of the old town, it is open to public (contrary to the sambodroms of Rio de Janeiro o São Paulo). The city used to be compared to Lisbon, I guess because it has two parts, the upper town on the hill which is called Alto de Sé and the lower town close to the sea. The churches are an example of baroque architecture, they are not as well preserved as the ones in OuroPreto I must confess. The town has a religious significance as it is where the first Convent of Brazil, the Convent of São Francis is located. Indeed, the northeast of Brail seems indeed more religious then the rest of the country, you will see everywhere (on cars, in daily conversation) the name of God, ‘Deus é fiel’ etc… On the upper town, in Alto de Sé you will find an observatory tower taking the name from the French astronomy Liais who also saw the Olinda comet.