The Carmelite Buildings

Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo

 

The Carmelite Order arrived in João Pessoa in 1591, together with the Benedictine, Franciscan and Jesuit Orders, to evangelize the natives with their catechism. The baroque Carmelite buildings are composed by the Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, The Bishop's Palace and the Chapel of Saint Theresa. The Carmelites were chased away during the Dutch invasion, for this reason they buried lots of valuable documents and artifacts when the looting started.

Photo by Ruy Carvalho
Photo by Ruy Carvalho

The Bishop's Palace

 

This palace serves today as the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Paraíba, but back in 1591 it was built as the convent of the Carmelites. 

Photo by Mirtes Siepen
Photo by Mirtes Siepen

The Mansion of Tiles

 

Built in the 19th century as the residence of Comendador* Antônio Carlos Coelho, the Mansion of Tiles is known for its façade covered by Portuguese tiles called "azulejos". These special Portuguese tiles were predominantly blue (azul) and are richly ornamented with fine designs and motifs.

 

The azulejos can be seen in many colonial buildings, especially in Brazil. Today, the Mansion of Tiles serves administrative and cultural activities and, although it doesn't necessarily belong to the Carmelite buildings, it is located at the same square as those, which is why you can visit them altogether.

 

*Comendador was an honorific title granted to important ecclesiastics or knights by the Portuguese Crown. The Comendador represented order in the colonies and served as the governor and the judge in one figure.