This Historical Downtown Walking Tour of the city of Campinas begins at the Central Train Station (which no longer serves this function), a beautiful architectural site, inspired by British constructions, which attests to the richness of the coffee-growing era in the region, which began circa 1850's. Trains arrived in Campinas in 1868, which makes this station one of the oldest in the state of São Paulo. Inside the building the richness of details can be noticed in the candelabras, windows, steps, platforms, old wagons and train weights.
The area around the station has many buildings of interest, such as the ornamented townhouses in Andrade Neves avenue (in front of the station), which are testament to the old elegance of the neighborhood. Close to the train station, to the left, one can see the Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company, one of the first industries in Brazil, which came to Campinas in 1868. The factory was built in a neo-gothic style, a recurrent inspiration based on Victorian industrial architechture. Now the building is home to the Museu da Cidade (City Museum). Beautiful iron eagles embellish its windows. The museum is focused on material culture, including artifacts such as typewriters, vitrolas and others. It intends to offer the visitor a quick travel in time through these artifacts.
Leaving the museum, walking to the right, one notices the beginning of the pedestrian street named 13 de Maio, where two commercial buildings demand attention: the headquarters of the firm Grigoletti and another building just next to the bus stop, across the street. In these two buildings, as with others in Andrade Neves Ave., one can notice the facades with flower ornaments, geometric forms, grotesques (designs with masks and lion heads). These ornaments are perhaps the most striking characteristic of the architecture of Campinas in its initial stages.
Following the 13 de Maio pedestrian street, those interested in architecture and its styles is able to get a panorama of the techniques and project design in Brazil, with the emergence of the globally famous Brazilian Contemporary Architecture. You will notice that beginning with square buildings with decorations in the facades, to buildings with bold diagonals, shapes used in the constructions became simpler, linear and precise.
Following the pedestrian street (13 de Maio) up to Visconde do Rio Branco St., turning left, you will see Mogiana Palace, the HQ for the Companhia Ferroviária Mogiana (Mogiana Railway Company), dating 1910. Following in the Italian tradition, the Palace makes reference to classical arquitecture, with elegant columns and garlands in the facade. The curved door and the iron gates demonstrate the grandeur of the building.
Following Campos Sales Ave. you will arrive at Regente Feijó St. Go right, and immediately you will notice a Cathedral: Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora da Conceição. Construction began in 1807, in taipa de pilão, a technique which makes use of blocks of earth compressed into wooden frames to create structures such as walls. Beginning in 1872, after many discussions and mishaps, the italian engineers led by the Milanese Cristovam Bonini, built the front wall of the cathedral in brick and rock, which reminds us of Saint Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican, and the modern Italian treatises in architecture. Angels, flowers, columns, and liturgical symbols make the altarpiece a masterpiece of sculpture in Brazilian XIX century sculpture. Vitoriano dos Anjos, a master sculptor from Bahia (responsible for the decoration of the Nosso Senhor do Bonfim de Salvador temple in Salvador, Bahia) and Bernardino de Sena (from Rio de Janeiro), share the credits for this rare and delicate interior.
A block ahead, through Regente Feijó St, you will find the Palácio dos Azulejos (Tile Palace, in free translation), the once residence of the Baron of Itatiba, which dates from 1878, constructed in both taipa and bricks. In now houses the Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS; Image and Sound Museum), which has a rich iconographic archive. The blue tile facade and detailing which includes the two oriental soldiers remind the visitor of Portuguese traditions. Beyond the archieve, stairs and afrescos make this a mandatory stop for any visit to downtown Campinas. In front of the Palace, across the street, be sure to notice a small adorned building, created by the famous architect from Campinas, Ramos de Azevedo.
Moving a block down, following Francisco Glicério Ave. for approximately six blocks, you will find Largo do Rosário (Rosário Square). The old photographs are testimony to the old church which was demolished in the 1920's. Nowadays once can notice eclectic townhouses around the square such as the Centro Cultural Vitória, in its neo-renaissance style and art-deco constructions such as the Forum, the Headquarters of the Commercial Association, and Giovanetti bar (and its beautiful skylight). Another important building is Éden Bar, the oldest restaurant in town, serving since 1889, with its elegant towers.
Going left to General Osório St., to the left you will see the impressive Palácio de Justiça (Justice Palace). Turning right to Ernesto Kuhlmann St., you will arrive at the Mercadão(Central Market). It is an important historical and architectural reference, created by the engineer-architect from Campinas, Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo (1851-1928). It is of neo-moorish inspiration. It was inaugurated in 1908 by then mayor Orozimbo Maia (notice the tribute to him inside the market walls), and currently holds 143 stores. It holds an immense variety of products and traditional stops like Bar do Paschoal (Paschoal's Bar).
Moving up through Benjamin Constant St. you will arrive at the Largo do Carmo e a Basílica do Carmo(Carmo Church), which will being us to the beginnings of Campinas. In 1772, the inhabitants of Campinas do Mato Grosso de Jundiaí (the location's name, then) requested permission to create a chapel in tribute to the Virgin Mary; the first chapel was built where Carlos Gomes' monument-grave now stands. The old main church was demolished in 1929, and in 1940 the existing temple was inaugurated in neo-gothic format, on top of the old ruins. The decoration includes marble by Lélio Coluccini, german glass-windows with high relief, and a tamburini tube organ purchased by the Archdiocese in 1953, whch is still used in concerts.
Following Barão de Jaguara St. you will find the Jockey Clube a building from 1925, one of the last examples of the heyday of the coffee era in the west of São Paulo state and its ornate constructions. The square also holds the Carlos Gomes monument-grave, created by sculptor Rodolfo Bernardelli (1852-1931). The famous classical composer, and Brazil's most important opera composer died in Belém (state of Pará) and his mortal remains were brought to his home town of Campinas, which hired the sculptor to create the sculpture where the house of Gomes' father used to stand.
Moving forward you will reach the intersection of Conceição St., which begins in front of the Catedral. This corner and the beginning of the street stand out for the number of buildings with ornaments (traditionally related, in the history of art and architecture to the Eclectic movement), and of gracious straight lines (Art-Deco). Following Barão de Jaguara St. you will find, hidden in the corner of Ferreira Penteado St. the Fármacia Merz (Merz Pharmacy), dating from 1910. You should notice the curious facade with Asclepius' serpents (a symbol for medicine), human figures and lions. Just a bit forward, the Galeria Barão Velha (Old Barão Gallery, with small shops and a restaurant, where Campinas' last street movie theater, Cine Paradiso, used to stand) and the Mercadinho Campineiro (Campinas Market) are remembered fondly by generations of people from Campinas. The food offerings at the Mercadinho are a highlight, including its bars, pastelerias (serving savory fried treats) and corn-based sweets (like curau and pamonha).
Following on to Moraes Salles Ave., two blocks up, as you move right you will see Igreja de São Benedito (São Benedito Church), inaugurated in 1885, the product of tremendous efforts by the afro-descendant community in Campians, built by the engineer-architect Ramos de Azevedo. In the 1970's, the São Benedito area became complete when the Estátua da Mãe Preta (Mãe Preta Statue) was added. Created by the artist Júlio Guerra (from São Paulo) aiming to portray the theme of slavery and the contribution of afro-descendants to Brazilian society. The Professora Sílvia Simões Magro Square received this name as a tribute to the second councilwoman to be elected in the city, but it is mostly known as São Benedito Square. It holds the bronze bust of Hercule Florence (1804-1879), a French draughtsman of the Langsdorff Expedition which was one of the inventors of photography.
Behind the São Benedito Square you will find the Casa de Saúde, the old Circolo Italiani Uniti by Samuele Malfatti e Ramos de Azevedo. The old headquarters of the association of Italian immigrants dates from 1886. After the epidemics that rocked the city at the turn of the XX century, the building was expanded to include an infirmary and finally became a hospital in 1918.
In front of the Casa de Saúde you will notice the Creche Bento Quirino (Bento Quirino preschool), dating from 1916. Its facade has a refined austrian style, known as Secession, with delicate ornamentation. To the right you will see the building, which held the first school group in Campinas, the Escola Estadual Francisco Glicério was inagurated in 1897 in front of the Riachuelo Square.The square was demolished when Moraes Salles Ave. was expanded and the construction was changed over decades, but it remains true to Ramos de Azevedo's renaissance inspiration.
Moving down Irmã Serafina St. to Anchieta Ave., to the right you will see Praça Carlos Gomes (Carlos Gomes Square), created by Ramos de Azevedo and inaugurated in 1883, uniting landscaping and history 1883. The bandstand with the curved Atlanteans, wooden roof and ironwork, and the imperial palms are located in front of the Edifício Itatiaia (Itatiaia Building), created by Oscar Niemeyer. Inaugurated in 1951, the Itatiaia Building promoted a new phase in the architecture of the city, and is one of the few constructions by Niemeyer in the state of São Paulo.
In front of the square you will notice the old Escola Normal, dating from 1924, by the architect César Marchiso. It is now the Escola Estadual Carlos Gomes(Carlos Gomes State School) and its facade and interiors present afrescos, mural paintins with sophisticated technique. The images portray allegorical figures commemorating the nation's progress, mirroring the political aspirations of the Old Republic.
This tour was originally created as a project by CultCampinas as an ebook and simple map through the colaboration of many individuals. The original text in Portuguese is by Paula Vermeersch, and the photographs (with due credit) are by Gregory Lopes, Max Campos, Tel Amiel e Thiago Pezzo. The translation and adaptation was done by Tel Amiel.