Santo Amaro Neighbourhood, Recife

Lúcia Gaspar 
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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The Santo Amaro (St Maurus) neighbourhood traces its origins back to 1681, when Major Luís do Rego Barros built, on the ruins of Fort Salinas, a chapel dedicated to St Maurus of Salinas, whose patronage gave the name to the neighbourhood.
According to historian Pereira da Costa, the ruins of the fort could still be seen in 1816. A Dutch redoubt, the fort was taken by Pernambuco forces on 15 January (St Maurus’ Day) 1654.
In the 19th Century, the chapel, together with the Patron’s Cross, served as reference points for manoeuvring into the Port of Recife.
In the past, during the second half of January, there was a festival in honour of the Saint with fireworks, street games, fairs, traditional food and rosaries, taking place in front of the church.
In 1814, the English Cemetery, the first in the city, was constructed in the area on a piece of land donated by the Provincial Government to the English Consulate. In March 1869, General Abreu e Lima, martyr of the 1817 Revolution, was entombed in the cemetery.

Also situated in the neighbourhood is the Santo Amaro Cemetery, whose construction began during the government of Francisco do Rego Barros, the Count of Boa Vista, and opened on 1 March 1851, under the name of Cemitério do Bom Jesus da Redenção de Santo Amaro das Salinas (Cemetery of the Kind Jesus of the Redemption of St Maurus of Salinas). Its chapel, finished in 1855, was designed by engineer Mamede Ferreira.
Two important arteries in Recife are also located in Santo Amaro: Norte (North) Ave and Cruz Cabugá Ave.
On Cruz Cabugá Ave, alongside the English Cemetery, is General Abreu e Lima Square, where there is a large statue of St Maurus by sculptor Corbiniano Lins.
Also on Cruz Cabugá is the Santo Amaro Market, built during the mayoralty of Antônio de Góes Cavalcanti and inaugurated on 11 June 1933; Fr Caneca Palace, built to serve as a place for the Governor of Pernambuco to carry out their duties (1967); and further north, Santo Amaro Hospital, designed by engineer José Tibúrcio Pereira Magalhães, a neo-classical building built from 1872 to 1892 to be the homeless shelter.
13 de Maio (May 13) Park, the first park in Recife’s urban history, opened in 1939, is one of the neighbourhood’s most significant public thoroughfares, along with buildings such as the State Public Library, the Council Chambers and the Legislative Assembly.

Santo Amaro is connected to the Recife neighbourhood by the Limoeiro Bridge, over the Beberibe River, where beautiful views of the city can be taken in.
Recife, 2 February 2006.
(Updated on 16 de September 2009).

Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2012.


CAVALCANTI, Carlos Bezerra. O Recife e seus bairros. Recife: Câmara Municipal, 1998.

FRANCA, Rubem; Monumentos do Recife: estátuas e bustos, igrejas e prédios, lápides, placas e incrições históricas do Recife. Recife: Governo de Pernambuco, Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.

PERFIL Municipal: histórico e evolução urbana. Recife: URB/DPU/DEP, 1989.

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Santo Amaro Neighbourhood, Recife. 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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