General Osório Market – 1913

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General Osório Square market – 8AM

It’s well known that Ipanema is home to a square with the name General Osório but back in 1913, there was another public square in downtown Rio which had this name first. Meaning there weren’t two squares with the same name at the same time. The Ipanema location was called Praça Marechal Floriano Peixoto back in 1913, only being renamed General Osório in 1922.

As it existed in the photos shown here, it served as an open-air vegetable and bird market.

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The downtown General Osório went by different names at different times, starting with Largo da Forca (where public hangings took place) and Largo do Capim (where Angola grass was sold), before becoming General Osório, and later being destroyed to make room for the opening of Av. Presidente Vargas.

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Saens Pena Plaza – 1911

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“An emblematic piece of Tijuca celebrated 100 years in 2011. A natural junction of the main thoroughfares of the neighborhood, a place of abundant commerce and, as people say there, “close to everything”, Praça Saens Peña was opened to the public on April 30, 1911, a Sunday, with pomp, circumstance and band in the gazebo. Since then, it has seen its heyday, its decadence and, in recent times, its recovery. One of its best known spots, Casa Granado was replaced by a common pharmacy in the beautiful building on the corner of Rua Conde de Bonfim. Also lost in the past is the glamor of Cine Metro, transformed into a clothing store, and the Olinda, with its 3,500-seat hall, considered the largest in Latin America, was demolished in the 1970s. Battered by subway works for almost two decades , The plaza acquired railing to prevent the homeless from making their permanent abode on the benches. But none of this is a reason to lament among Tijuca residents. Friendly retirees maintain their card games under the shade of the kiosks, a few meters from a Military Police cabin. Mornings are filled with oriental exercises. The handicraft fair stirs up the environment on the weekends and illegal street vendors are shunned by the police. A reflection of the growth, the changes in Praça Saens Peña are faced naturally by the majority of the residents. “It’s part of the dynamics of a big city, as long as growth is done with at least a small amount of planning,” says Marcos Amorim, a history professor in the state education system.

With the same territory as in the era of the Amerindians and the Jesuits, a little more than 1,000 hectares, the neighborhood has much more flexible borders when taking into account the criteria of residents who moved there by choice or the newspapers’ classified section. Some bordering blocks of Rio Comprido are now part of Tijuca – and no one disputes it. Some of Andaraí’s streets and buildings also took sides with the neighboring Tijuca, which is more famous and highly-valued, for reasons of real estate evaluations. And areas like Aldeia Camperista, scenery of Nelson Rodrigues’ plays, simply disappeared from the official map (it still exists). It all became a single entity with the high demand for housing and commercial spots like never before.

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There are those who want to be Tijuca because of the tradition it holds. Others choose it because of the location (it’s right next to downtown). And today many people choose to live in the region in the face of a greater sense of security, a result of the action of the Peacekeeping Police Units (UPPs), implanted in their largest favelas. But hardly anyone would like to call themselves Tijucan based only on what the name of the place means. The word, of indigenous origin, means rotten water. It emerged to designate an area located 20 kilometers from its current core, the marshes of Barra. In the 18th century, the denomination was adopted on the ground where the pulsating center of the neighborhood is located today. The official year of its foundation was 1759, when the priests of the Society of Jesus were expelled from the lands, by determination of the Portuguese crown.

A lot of coffee would be planted there, in the fertile and mild climate. Sugar mills were erected all over the region. Defined as “rural” until the 19th century, it was once famous as a summer resort, mainly on the slopes of the forest park. Rugendas painted his pleasant landscapes there in the 1870s. It was in the midst of his views and farms that Machado de Assis set the honeymoon of Capitu and Bentinho in his book Dom Casmurro and the retreat of the main character of Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas after his mother’s death. A pioneer, the neighborhood received the first trams in the country – still pulled by donkeys -, and came to be called the “second Cinelandia”at the end of the first half of the 20th century and was the birthplace of a handful of celebrities who were born within their borders.

Not everything was glorious. With progress, came the swell of people, the chaotic traffic and, from the 60’s, an accelerated process of favela and urban violence. At over 250 years old, Tijuca can take pride in its past, rethink the present and keep an eye on the future.”

– Source (PT)

PS – Here’s a great modern overview of Saens Pena, from the Like Tijuca FB page.

Soccer Fans – 1916

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In one of the November 1916 editions of Careta, I saw the curious way fans were watching a game at Flamengo’s club – by standing on benches (stadiums weren’t yet the norm, as can also be seen in this match from 1923). It was with this image I also found an interview with a die-hard fan.


It’s 7 at night. On Rua Guanabara [1], talking about the sports that dominate Rio de Janeiro, the author of these lines and one of the most corageous Carioca rowers pass by.

At the gate of the Fluminense Foot-ball Club, together is a group of elegant, charming ladies speaking and smiling, attracting the attention of the passers-by.

The rower says:

– Just so you see how sports seizes the hearts of beautiful Carioca women, I am going to do, for you, a quick interview with the most intelligent of these women. They approach us. After introductions, solemn like someone who wears an overcoat to see Venceslau Braz (the president), we immediately start asking questions, receiving the following answers:

– What is the main trait of your character, miss?
– To be a big Fluminense fan.

– What is your dominating passion?
– Foot-ball.

– What qualities do you prefer in a man?
– Sportive ones.

– And in a woman?
– To be a big fan of her team.

– And your main quality?
– To be partisan.

– And your main defect?
– To be the adversary of the team that opposes mine.

– How do you want to die?
– For Fluminense, on a day they win.


The actual interview is longer than this but it’s telling of how quickly soccer caught on in Brazil among both sexes, only a few years after the first teams came about.

Memories of a Hotel Rat

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Dr. Antonio was a famous criminal due to his sophisticated robberies in several of Rio’s hotels, where he stayed under different identities. Dr. Antonio’s real name was Arthur Antunes Maciel, a man from a respectable family in Southern Brazil who fell into a life of crime because he couldn’t resist an easy living nor the love of women.

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In 1912, the same year that Dr. Antônio would die in jail, author João do Rio, famous for writing about an everchanging Rio de Janeiro, visits him and writes a newspaper serial in Rio’s Gazeta de Notícias describing a man who operates from two perspectives: that of a criminal and that of a respectable member of the upper-class.

The novel “Memórias de um rato de hotel” is the stage of a series of accounts from one of the most famous thieves of the early twentieth century. João do Rio, in a mix of reportage, fiction and memory penned, through the recollections of a well-dressed thief, a novel that stands out for its excess of historical details, characters and society of the time. However, between the very well written lines a few questions loom: until what point is the Memories of a Hotel Rat true or entirely of the author’s own making? How should one perceive the threads that interweave history, memory and fiction in the novel? The imaginative writing of João do Rio and the parodic memories of Artur Antunes Maciel showcase each in their own way, in a provocative dialogue with Brazilian history. [1]

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(Announcement of his death in 1912, Careta magazine)

The tale became a 2014 film titled Muitos Homens Num Só, within which the Hotel dos Estrangeiros is featured.

Santa Luzia – 1910

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An interesting set of photos, especially the bottom one with people hanging from ropes,  at the old Santa Luzia beach (located between today’s Santos Dumont airport and Praça XV). In 1905, the Passos reform mandated a ‘garage’ for row boats to be built there, taking away a little of its shine. In 1922, with the destruction of the Castelo hill, the beach was again altered but one could still swim there. By the 30s, work began on Santos Dumont and the beach was no more.

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The reason people are hanging from ropes, I believe, is due to it possibly not being shallow enough and because there was apparently a wall between them and land, as can be seen just above, in an image from the Cidade Esportiva blog. The beach, as can be seen, was next to the chruch of the same name. Here’s an additional photo from a little further down the coast, also from 1910. And, of course, prior to the 1900s, it looked a lot better.