Photographer's Note

Fiscal Island
History and leisure in Guanabara Bay

As the plane starts to descend on Santos Dumont Airport, all the passengers stretch their necks towards the windows. Tourists and cariocas alike want to enjoy the sight of a little green castle surrounded by coconut trees and palm trees on a small island in Guanabara Bay. Famed as the venue of the last ball hosted by the Brazilian Empire on 9 November 1889, Fiscal Island stands out in the landscape and is an attraction open to the public.

In order to become a part of the circuit of tourist landmarks in 2001, the castle underwent extensive restoration coordinated by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional - IPHAN - (Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute). The works recuperated the splendor of the turret’s painted dome, walls and floor. The exterior also regained its original color. From Thursday to Sunday guided tours explore every corner of the building, one of D Pedro II’s favorites. Among the attractions, halls with temporary and permanent exhibitions that portray the history of the island and of the Brazilian Navy, stained-glass windows and carved stonework – columns, arches, festoons and symbols of the Brazilian Empire.

It all starts on the quay of Espaço Cultural da Marinha where visitors board the schooner Nogueira da Gama, for the short crossing

.In the 19th century the island was an object of dispute between the Naval Ministry that wanted it for a rescue station, and the Finance Ministry that wished to set up a customhouse. Called at the time Rats Island, it was entrusted to the Finance Ministry. In 1881 the customhouse started to be built, a design of engineer Adolpho José Del Vecchio. Soon after, the island received the visit of D. Pedro II. Delighted with the superb view of the bay, the Emperor is said to have defined it as “a delicate jewel box, worthy of a dazzling jewel”. Thus Del Vecchio, admirer of the gothic, created a castle inspired by the 14th century French buildings. His design was awarded the Gold Medal at the Escola Imperial de Belas Artes (Imperial Fine Arts School) exhibition.

On 27 April 1889 the building was inaugurated in the presence of the Emperor who was transported to the island on the famous Galeota Imperial (Imperial Galley), currently displayed in the Espaço Cultural da Marinha. The highlights of the castle are the exceptional carved stonework, by Antônio Teixeira Ruiz, the floor of the turret in mosaics made of over ten different species of hardwood, by Moreira de Carvalho and the beautiful work in cast-iron by Manuel Joaquim Moreira. Also remarkable are the wall paintings by Frederico Steckel, the tower clock and the magnificent stained-glass windows imported from England.
Endereço: Av. Alfredo Agache, no final da Praça Quinze - Centro
Tel: (21) 2233-9165
Visitaçăo: Guided tours from Thursday to Sunday at 1 pm, 2:30 pm and 4 pm

Source: Riotur

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Marque Berger (rio_de_janeiro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 78 W: 82 N: 410] (2091)
  • Genre: Miejsca
  • Medium: Kolorowe
  • Date Taken: 2006-07-06
  • Categories: Architektura
  • Na¶wietlenie: f/6.0, 1/500 sekund
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Wersja zdjęcia: Oryginalna wersja
  • Date Submitted: 2006-08-07 5:09
Viewed: 2119
Points: 8
  • None
Additional Photos by Marque Berger (rio_de_janeiro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 78 W: 82 N: 410] (2091)
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