Joaquim Nabuco Square
Article available in: PT-BR
Last update: 24/03/2020
The small and triangular Joaquim Nabuco Square, located in the Santo Antônio neighbourhood, was named in 1915 as one of the homages to the great Brazilian abolitionist Joaquim Aurélio Barreto Nabuco de Araújo. Before, however, the place had several denominations: Praça Major Codec, Praça da Concórdia, and Largo da Concórdia.
In a more remote past, the waters of the Capibaribe River came up to the square, reaching Rua Nova and Rua das Flores, with the place being called Porto das Canoas [Canoe Port]. Joaquim Nabuco Square is very close to the Duarte Coelho Bridge, from which several streets begin: Flores, Frei Caneca, Floriano Peixoto and Concórdia. The last is one of the most important commercial areas in Recife.
In this public place operated Confeitaria Glória – a candy store where João Pessoa, the Governor of Paraíba, was murdered on 26 June 1930 – and the ice cream shops Botiginha and Gemba – the latter belonging to a Japanese and destroyed during World War II. More recently, in the centre of the Square was the Modelo School building, which was demolished in 1911. There was also the Moderno Cinema, which today is a commercial shop. That Cinema began as a theatre, being inaugurated on 15 May 1913, with the operas Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci.
It is known that the Archaeological, Historical and Geographic Institute of Pernambuco even had its origin in Joaquim Nabuco Square. The Institute was founded on 28 January 1862, in one of the buildings of the convent of Carmo; it later moved to the Provincial Library of the St Francis Monastery, and then to a building in the current Joaquim Nabuco Square. From there it went to Ginásio Pernambucano, and finally moved to 130 Rua do Hospício.
It is worth pointing out that in the centre of the square is a bronze statue of the abolitionist, presenting his right hand raised as if he were speaking. The monument was sculpted by the artist João Bereta de Carrara and inaugurated in 1915, in commemoration of the extinction of the Laws of the Free Womb and the Sexagenarians. On the monument are two other statues. The first is Gloria, a woman placing a laurel wreath at the feet of the abolitionist, and the second is that of a slave with broken fetters. The following words are engraved on the large pedestal of the statues:
To / Joaquim Nabuco / the / Pernambuco People.
Lastly, it is worth noting that in Joaquim Nabuco Square on the Concórdia Street corner, there is the old restaurant Leite, one of the most traditional in the city of Recife. In this restaurant, in marble, there is a record to the victory of those who fought against slavery, with the following words:
13 May 1888.
Homage from the Pernambuco Institute to the Liberators of the Slave Race in Brazil. 13 May 1905.
Recife, 8 May 2008.
Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2016.
BRAGA, João. Trilhas do Recife: guia turístico, histórico e cultural. Recife: Assembléia Legislativa do Estado de Pernambuco, 2000.
CAVALCANTI, Carlos Bezerra. O Recife e seus bairros. Recife: Câmara Municipal do Recife, 1998.
FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife: Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.
how to quote this text
Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Praça Joaquim Nabuco. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.