An urban mansion, located in the Flamengo neighborhood of Rio
de Janeiro, Catete Palace or Palacio do Catete was Brazil’s
presidential palace from 1894 to 1960. Eighteen Brazilian presidents
worked and lived in Catete Palace. Some of the country’s greatest
events happened within its walls. Monumental decisions such as the
decision to participate in both world wars are among them. The palace
includes a garden as well as several buildings that run from Rua
do Catete to Praia do Flamengo. The buildings’ neo-classical
design is faced in pink marble and granite, the gateways are fashioned
from white marble.
The palace was built between 1858 and 1867 as the intended home
for Antoino Clemente Pinto, the Baron of New Friburgo, and his family.
German architect Gustav Waehneldt led the development and as a result
the palace’s design is heavily influenced by Italian architecture.
In 1889, the property was set to be transformed into a luxury hotel
but the company went bankrupt and the palace was given to one of
the shareholders, who in turn sold the palace to the Federal Farm.
By 1897 the palace inaugurated as the new headquarters of the presidency,
and was from then on was known as Catete Palace.
When the Capitol was moved to Brasilia, the palace was developed
into a museum, now known as the Museum of the Republic. The museum
offers a theater as well as exhibition place and continues to sport
a busy cultural agenda. Also, within Catete Palace there is a bar,
restaurant and a bookstore. The many peaceful gardens are popular
for relaxing gatherings and walks. There is also a cafe located
in an artificial cave and a branch of the Folklore museum that houses
folk art from around the country.
In order to preserve some of Catete Palace’s historical importance,
there are a few areas that remain as they were when the Palace was
used as governmental residence. One such room is the formal ballroom
which still displays the long table at which the cabinet used to
meet. There is also a multi-media display highlighting the life
and death of President Getulio Vargas. This exhibit includes photographs
and video footage from his presidency as well as the pearl-handled
.32-caliber Colt he used to kill himself in his personal chambers.
The Catete Palace today is a breathtaking combination of art, history,
and natural beauty. With such an array of experiences and free admission,
the palace is a must-see for those traveling to the Rio de Janeiro
Catete Palace back to Rio-de-Janeiro.info