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Ribeira Market

Its building is characteristic of colonial Brazil, with a brickwork floor, two terraces with stone columns and stone stairs.

Ribeira Market

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Last update: 27/03/2020

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Built at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, probably around 1693, The Ribeira Market is located on Rua Bernardo Vieira de Melo, in the upper part of the city of Olinda, Pernambuco. It operated as a former meat, flour, fish and slave market. Instruments of torture for condemned criminals have been found at the site

Its building is characteristic of colonial Brazil, with a brickwork floor, two terraces with stone columns and stone stairs.

At the end of the 19th to the first half of the 20th centuries it served as a public market and butchery. There was a peculiar event in its role as a butchery. When there was an excess of fresh meat, at 11am a market employee would play a bugle, announcing to the population of the city that there was top-quality meat left over at a discounted price (500 réis per kilo). As at the time there was no refrigeration, the more perishable products had to be sold on the same day to avoid losses by the shop owners.

Today, restored to its original style, it houses artisanal shops where pieces in clay, lace, leather and straw articles, traditional papier-mâché masks and souvenirs of Pernambuco can be found. It is one of the most famous tourist spots in Olinda, operating daily from 9am to 6:30pm. There are also workshops of carvers, printers and painters at the site.

During the Olinda Carnival, various meetings of blocks and caboclinhos take place at the Ribeira Market square, afterwards departing for the parades on the steep streets of the Upper City.

From the Ribeira Market, the ruins of the former Senate of Olinda can be seen, which also make up part of this historic site.
In January 2005 a new system of special lighting was installed with 43 reflectors to improve the façade, entrances to the stalls and the internal patio of the building.

Recife, 12 April 2005.
(Updated on 31 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.

sources consulted

MANGUINHO, Gaston. Fragmentos da história de Olinda, Anuário de Olinda, Olinda, n.15-16, p.49-53, set. 1951.

MERCADO da Ribeira inaugura iluminação especial. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 15 fev. 2005.

PREFEITURA DE OLINDA. Guia turístico: Mercado da Ribeira. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 23 mar. 2005.

MERCADO da Ribeira. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 6 abr. 2005.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Ribeira Market (Olinda, PE). Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.