From Gavelandia to Rocinha


“Above you can see a September 1932 advert from the magazine Vida Doméstica about a project called Gavelandia, in São Conrado. The then-deserted neighborhood started to interest investors and the advert to occupy the area was directed towards them. The captions, using advertising-speak of the time, say the following:

Upper image of the ad: A dream that will soon be concrete reality. GAVELANDIA, symbolic standard of the creative and dynamic energy of Land Investors Trust. Gavelandia, seen from on high, is located on the closest superb elevation to the Atlantic coast, glamourously arising and covered in buildings in successive plateaus. The mountain and the sea combine their elements of beauty and health to fulfill the enchantment of the prettiest Atlantic neighborhood of the shapely capital of Brazil.”

Lower image of the ad: “The irrefutable photographic documentation and the magnificent view of Gavelandia as it is seen: the sea as background (…illegible…), the imposing lines of mountain rocks in the distance, the land at Gavelandia is ready for building.” – Source (PT)


historia8Interesting, of course, to note that the favela of Rocinha started in the 1930s, as well, with the allotment of land by the French company Cássio Guidon for the residences of sanitation inspectors (coincidentally, basic sanitation is still lacking in the lower area of Rocinha known as the “valão“). However, those that started to populate the area by the mid-30s were Western Europeans, escaping their war-torn continent, and poor people from Brazil’s Northeast. As the inhabitants set up small gardens on these allotments, they eventually became roças, or small farms (as can be seen in the photo above). The vegetables that initially came from them were sold at the Praça Santos Dumont open-air market (built in the late 20s, photo) in Gávea, and when buyers would ask where the vegetables came from, the answer invariably was, “da rocinha”.