Boa Vista Palace

Lúcia Gaspar
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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The Boa Vista Palace, or Schoonzit in Dutch, built by Maurice of Nassau in Recife in 1643, was constructed to be his place of rest and leisure. It was situated on the banks of the Capibaribe River on Antônio Vaz Island (currently the neighbourhood of Santo Antônio), where today the Carmel Convent of Recife is found. The name Boa Vista (Nice View), given by Nassau, was due to the beautiful landscape that could be contemplated from any point in the palace.
Facing the sunset, the building possessed characteristics of Portuguese architecture, with prominent horizontal lines, hipped roofs and small square windows. The Dutch influence could also be seen in the four bastions with funnelled roofs and in the spire of the flag tower.

In the building’s centre, towards the rear, rose another tower, also square, with two landings and three windows on each. Between the two landings’ windows, Ano 1643 was written, indicating the year of construction, permeated by the Dutch coat of arms.
In front of the palace’s main doors, Nassau ordered the construction of a second bridge for the city of Maurícia, the first Boa Vista bridge, today known as Ponte Velha (Old Bridge), but whose official name is Seis de Março (March 6th).
After the expulsion of the Dutch in 1654, the chamber of the Olinda Senate gave the building to the Carmelite religious order, which founded a hospice with a chapel. Later, having acquired more land, they built their old convent, utilizing a large part of the old Boa Vista Palace.
Recife, 11 May 2004.
(Updated on 31 August 2009).

Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2011.


DONATO, Maria das Graças Andrada. Recife, cidade maurícia. Recife: Governo do Estado de Pernambuco. Secretaria de Educação. Comissão de Moral e Civismo, 1986.  p. 61-66.

PARAHYM, Orlando. Visão de um Recife que o tempo levou. Recife: Governo do Estado de Pernambuco. Secretaria de Educação. Comissão de Moral e Civismo, [198-?].  p.9-11.


Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Boa Vista Palace. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009

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