Didem Doğan

Petrópolis: 19th century Royal town

Just about one and a half hour drive from Rio, inside the mountains there’s a nice place to spend the weekend. It also has a significant place in Brazil’s colonial history. The story of Petrópolis’ ‘discovery’: during the reign of Portuguese Kings in Brazil when Rio was still the capitol city, King Pedro II. and his family set out on a journey to the mountains and discovering that this region has high altitude, less humidity, and a cool and relaxing climate, they decided to found a settlement here. This is how Petrópolis was built. It used to be a city where both the royal family and aristocracy spent warm summer months. Its name means ‘Pedro’s City.’ One of the places to visit here is the royal palace which is called Second Dompedro Palace during the Second Kingdom Period. Today a virtual show depicting the daily life of the royal family is performed at night for tourists, with graphic effects projected on the walls of the palace. Brazil has a different story in colonisation history when compared to other colonies: Brazil is the colonial land where the Portuguese kings settled in fleeting from the British invasion and the only colony outside the mother country where the kings settled in and ruled. In this sense the Portuguese Kings are exceptions in the colonisation history as independent rulers not governed by the mother country. Moreover, separation from the mother country and declaration of independence coincided with the reign of the kings, which is an unprecedented example among the Latin countries.