Rio's central district (Centro) has an abundance of historical buildings with astonishingly rich architecture. As you weave through bars crowded with regulars in full discussion, travellers, tourists and students cross paths in the endless bustle. Up ahead, “sobrados”, pastel-coloured colonial houses, resist developers with recent laws now protecting this heritage that makes up the charm of the historic district.
At nightfall, Centro is silent, under the benevolent gaze of the Nossa Senhora da Glória Baroque Church, a jewel of Brazilian religious colonial architecture.
From Praça XV (15 Square), the cultural centre of the imperial palace radiates a glorious past: the residence of the governors of the city's captaincy in the 18th century, it was later home to the country's viceroys, John VI of Portugal, then Brazilian emperors.
Walking around Centro requires a certain sense of direction, yet allows you to discover a fascinating life, far from the common seaside images of Rio.
Centre historique de Rio de Janeiro (Centro)