An important cultural landmark in an unexpected place – the Casa da Cultura in Recife is a prison turned artisanal crafts market located in the city’s center. Built on the waterfront in 1850s, the three-wing prison maintained it’s original structure when it was repurposed into a cultural center and craft fair in the 1970s.
Today, the former prison cells have been converted into small shops selling colorful crafts that are typical in the region. The interior is donned with traditional northeastern folkloric art and decorations, and the region’s favorite musical genres, like frevo and forró, ring through the halls. The grounds outside have been converted to host concerts, as well as a space for food vendors, who sell northeastern treats like bolo de rolo (guava-swirl cake) and stuffed tapioca pancakes.
The Casa da Cultura is not only one of the best places to get one-of-a-kind souvenirs in Recife, but is also a taste of Northeastern traditions. The colorful, unique culture of the tropical northeast is distinctive from the rest of Brazil – this is manifested in the art, music, food and crafts that visitors will find at the Casa da Cultura.
The House of Culture is located at Rua Floriano Peixoto s/n in the neighborhood of Santo Antonio in Recife. It is open Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays until 6 p.m. and Sundays until 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Address: Rua Floriano Peixoto, s/n – Santo Antonio, Recife, Northeast Brazil 50050-060, Brazil
Hours: Monday–Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With its castle-like façade and sprawling complex of museums, galleries and gardens, the Ricardo Brennand Institute has fast become one of Recife’s most important cultural attractions. Inaugurated in 2002, the cultural center is the brainchild of its namesake, collector Ricardo Brennand, and is renowned for its fascinating collection of historic artifacts, including a large section devoted to Brazil’s Dutch settlers.
Highlights of the museum include the world’s largest collection of armory, dating from the 14th to the 19th century; a sizable collection of paintings by Dutch artist Frans Post; an array of
exquisite antique furniture; and a selection of rare Dutch coins.
The Ricardo Brennand Institute is located in Recife, around 14km west of the central beaches, and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 5pm.
Address: Alameda Antônio Brennand, Várzea, Recife 50791-904, Brazil
One of the most important cultural centers in Recife, the Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop attracts tourists, locals, artists and amateurs alike. This impressive sculpture gallery and garden honor the works one of Brazil’s renowned ceramic artists, Francisco Brennand. Founded by the artist himself, Brennand created the workshop on a large piece of land located within the bustling city of Recife to showcase his life’s work, as well as create a workshop for sculpture and ceramic artists.
The expansive grounds are dotted with galleries, outdoor sculptures, and ponds amid a tropical landscape. Visitors can roam freely on the winding paths, in and out of the breezy buildings and workspaces and admire Brennand’s famously exotic, sensual and mysterious sculptures. Highlights include an ornate ceramic gazebo, intricate ceramic tiles, a sundial and sculptures incorporated into fountains and ponds.
The Francisco Brennand Ceramic Workshop is located at Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damião s/n in the Várzea neighborhood of Recife. It is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday until 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is R$10 for adults and R$5 for students, teachers and seniors over 60.
Address: Propriedade Santos Cosme e Damião, s/n - Várzea | Acesso pela Av. Caxangá, Recife, Brazil
Hours: Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays until 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: R$10 for adults, R$5 for children, students, teachers and seniors over 60.