The Boa Viagem district is located in the southern part of the city of Recife. It is a neighborhood with an area of 753 hectares and inhabited by 122,922 residents, according to the 2010 demographic census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
The neighborhood is considered of upper middle class and of great real estate speculation, being one of the most valued square meters in the region.
Boa Viagem is bordered by the neighborhood Piedade to the south, Pina to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and by the neighborhoods of Setúbal and Imbiribeira to the west.
According to Historian Leonardo Dantas Silva, “the village of Boa Viagem began in the seventeenth century, due to the existence of some shops that served as a resting place for travelers arriving from the southern paths of the Captaincy of Pernambuco” (SILVA, 2007).
The neighborhood gained its characteristics from the circulation of sailors and travelers in the region, due to the favorable coastal extension.
On June 6, 1707, Mr. Baltazar of Costa Passos and his wife, Mrs. Ana de Araújo, who lived in Recife, donated to Father Leandro Camelo, resident of Prazeres, a piece of land toward the construction of a chapel to celebrate Masses. When the chapel was built, the bishop appointed a priest who had received as a gift an image of Our Lady of Good Voyage, patron saint of sailors and travelers – a very important milestone for the origin of the neighborhood.
the neighborhood developed along approximately eight kilometers of beach, being used by families as a summer resort since the water was pleasant for bathing.
“There is nothing more natural than the fact that in Recife there are people who love water. It can be said that the city rose out of the water like a Iara. The river is connected in the most intimate way to the history of the city. The river, the sea, and the mangroves” (FREYRE, 2007, p. 82).
The construction of Boa Viagem Avenue, the passage of the Recife and São Francisco Railway, and the proximity of Guararapes Airport contributed to the settlement and development of the neighborhood. Thus, the construction of buildings was intensified along the Avenue, paved with almost six thousand meters of asphalt. Among some of the great buildings, from the 1950s, are the California, Acaiaca, and Holiday, which served as summer resorts for Boa Viagem beach goers.
Other buildings that stood out during the development of the neighborhood deserve recognition, such as Casa Navio, a private villa, and the Boa Viagem Hotel, which had 100 apartments facing the sea, both of which are now extinct; and Castelinho, which remains a part of the landscape of the Avenue due to private initiative. These historical buildings are modernist references that still inspire the new constructions to this day.
Since Boa Viagem is a prominent socioeconomic neighborhood in the city of Recife, it is important to mention the Avenues Conselheiro Aguiar and Domingos Ferreira, which contribute, parallel to Avenida Boa Viagem, with the development of numerous commercial, office, and residential buildings. These avenues have intense car traffic, which circulate daily to and from the center and other areas of Recife.
Due to this population expansion, new routes were needed to facilitate the daily circulation of vehicles through the neighborhood, such as the Via Mangue, a construction inaugurated in January 2016, with approximately nine kilometers in length.
The Recife International Airport (Guararapes/Gilberto Freyre), built in the 1950s, has provided circulation of domestic and international passengers and intensified the neighborhood’s economy.
As for leisure, Boa Viagem has Shopping Recife, an innovative construction from the 1980s with its modern commercial vision, boosting and stimulating new entrepreneurs to build shopping centers in the metropolitan region, thus contributing to the local increase of new jobs.
We can also mention the Dona Lindu Park – a tribute to Eurydice Ferreira de Melo, the mother of then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. It gained extensive fame and popularity throughout the city for offering a total area of 27,166.68m² of pure leisure and fun to visitors. Those who visit this Park, located on Avenida Boa Viagem, are pleased to enjoy not only a contemporary space of leisure, entertainment, and culture but also to be dazzled by the natural beauty of Boa Viagem beach.
Undoubtedly, the neighborhood of Boa Viagem has the most famous urban beach in the entire state, being considered Recife’s main landmark.
Currently, the neighborhood is an influence on sustainable development, with bike lanes on most of its streets, contributing to a better urban mobility. With these actions, aimed at a better quality of life for its population, the neighborhood continues to be an example of respect toward citizens.
* This text is part of the project Interacting with the History of Your Neighborhood, a partnership between the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation and the Manuel Bandeira Reader Training Program.
Recife, November 26, 2019.
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CENSO Demográfico, 2010. Resultados do universo: características da população e domicílios. Disponível em <http://www.ibge.gov.br>. Acesso em 2 de set. de 2019.
FREYRE, Gilberto. Guia prático, histórico e sentimental da cidade do Recife. 5. ed. São Paulo: Global, 2007.
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PRAIA de Boa Viagem. In: Wikipédia. [São Francisco: Wikimedia Foundation, 2019]. Disponível em: https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praia_de_Boa_Viagem. Acesso em: 20 de set. de 2019.
SILVA, Leonardo Dantas. Boa Viagem (Bairro, Recife). In: Pesquisa Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2007. Disponível em https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/pt-br/artigo/boa-viagem-bairro-recife/. Acesso em: 13 de set. de 2019.
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MIRANDA, Eliara; ABRANTES, Mônica; NASCIMENTO, Sueli; PIRAUÁ, Isabela Cabral de M. Dantas. Boa Viagem Revisited (Neighborhood, Recife). In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2019. Available from: pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/pt-br/artigo/boa-viagem-revisitado-bairro-recife/. Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Nov. 6, 2021.)