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Torrões (Neighborhood, Recife)

The Torrões neighborhood is located in the Western part of the city of Recife, its land area is about 168.6 hectares, with approximately 30,000 inhabitants. It belongs to the 4th Political-Administrative Region of the municipality of Recife (RPA-4). It borders the neighborhoods of Engenho do Meio, Curado, San Martin, and Cordeiro.

Torrões (Neighborhood, Recife)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 21/03/2022

By: Ana Paula Vieira - Teacher of the Escola Municipal Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus,
Isabel Cristina de Lemos Vasconcelos - Teacher of the Escola Municipal Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus
Cláudia Verardi - Librarian at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - PhD in Librarianship and Documentation

The Torrões neighborhood is located in the Western part of the city of Recife, its land area is about 168.6 hectares, with approximately 30,000 inhabitants. It belongs to the 4th Political-Administrative Region of the municipality of Recife (RPA-4). It borders the neighborhoods of Engenho do Meio, Curado, San Martin, and Cordeiro.

According to the Dicionário (2016), the meaning of torrão is clod or relatively hardened small piece of land.; land suitable for cultivation. The term “Torrões” (plural of “torrão”) appeared in the 1940s, because of the existence of many vegetable gardens in the locality where potatoes and cassava were planted, which, after being removed from the soil, left spaces for clods of clay.

At the time of the emergence of the neighborhood, the land had no commercial value, so the local people took possession of them. In the government of Agamemnon Magalhães, there was the expulsion of families who lived in shanties (known as mocambos in Brazilian Portuguese) in the city’s downtown. These people migrated to Torrões and settled there. Among these families stand out the Mendonça, who worked with ceramics. They heirs built a pottery factory (known as olaria in Portuguese) that later gave its name to one of the streets in the neighborhood (Olaria Street).

Many residents witnessed the emergence of the neighborhood. According to Maria do Carmo Cordeiro de Carvalho, who has lived in the neighborhood for 65 years, the streets were all muddy and difficult to walk on. There used to be an open air market where the old bus terminal of Torrões was located. Over the years people settled between the Estrada do Forte (site of the conflicts between the Dutch and the Pernambucans in 1630) and the Torrões canal, dividing themselves into two communities: Torrões de Dentro and Torrões de Fora. In the neighborhood there are some independent communities, such as: Korea, Roda de Fogo and Sítio das Palmeiras among them

In 1951—the year when Mrs. Maria do Carmo went to live in Torrões—the neighborhood was a plantation area and there were several cowsheds in the Avenida do Forte Square. Today there are still ruins of the Forte do Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus. A community laundry was created where there was a cacimba (a hole that is dug until it reaches an underground water table; well). After the laundry was extinguished, the square started to hold football tournaments organized by the residents or local politicians.

Maria do Carmo also told there is a very famous carnival organization: the Maracatu Cruzeiro do Forte, founded on September 7, 1929. This maracatu originated when a group of friends, residents of the neighborhood, went to clean a cacimba and there they decided to form the maracatu, remembering the good times when they lived in Mata Norte and used to participate in maracatus. This organization has won numerous awards in the Pernambuco carnival.

In the neighborhood there is a very important monument to the history of both Pernambuco and Brazil, the Forte do Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus. This building was erected in September 1645 by determination of Master-of-Field João Fernandes Vieira (1602–1681). It was inaugurated on January 1, 1646. According to Garrido (1940, p.68) its function was to store the war munitions of the Portuguese resistance forces that were concentrated there and from where they left for the First Battle of Guararapes (April 19, 1648) and the Second Battle of Guararapes (February 19, 1649). In addition, from this fort was coordinated the Portuguese invasion of Mauritsstat (the city Mauricia—today Recife). The Fort was declared a National Heritage Site by the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) in 1980.

Currently, the archaeological site of the Fort has traces of a rampart and two earthen bastions. The site is occupied by a public square managed by the Recife City Hall. Every year the Fourth Communications Battalion of the Brazilian army (4°BCom) honors the heroes of the Battles of Guararapes.

According to writer Valque Santos, also a historian and resident of the neighborhood for 50 years, in 1987 the community started to write its history in the Torrões neighborhood because of concerns on irregular occupation. Amidst many struggles, marches, and protests, the residents of this community conquered the right to stay in that place, obtaining their ownership still during the government of Miguel Arraes. Currently, Roda de Fogo is alive and growing, with a commercial center, health centers, schools, among other establishments, and several constructions. It is as if there was a neighborhood inside another.

The Torrões neighborhood has thriving commerce, a health clinic, some churches, and public and private schools.

Among the schools that stand out in the neighborhood there is Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus Municipal School. It was founded in 1964, under the name Grupo Escolar José Alvarenga and offered elementary schooling and integrated education (for students outside the age group). Years later, it started serving young people and adults with a school of arts and crafts. The Escola de Artes e Ofícios 13 de Maio was located on the school grounds, with vocational education. Both were part of the Guararapes Foundation. On October 12, 1987, the school changed its name to Escola Municipal Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus, in honor of the neighborhood’s historical landmark. Today, it belongs to the Recife City Hall and attends both elementary and technical educational schools in the three shifts: morning, afternoon, and evening. Many students from this school are outstanding in robotics, and mathematics and Portuguese Olympiads, among others.

The neighborhood is served by public transportation that takes its residents to varied destinations with the following bus terminals:

413 – Avenida do Forte
415 – Sítio das Palmeiras
416 – Roda de Fogo
421 – Torrões
424 – Torrões/Cidade Universitária/San Martin


* This text is part of the Interacting with the History of Your Neighborhood project, a partnership between the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation and the Manuel Bandeira Readership Training Program.



Recife, September 29, 2016.

sources consulted

CARVALHO, Ciara. Uma cidade chamada Ilha do Joaneiro. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 19 maio 2012. Disponível em: Acesso em: 20 set. 2016.

CARVALHO, Isabel Cristina de Moura. Educação Ambiental: a formação do sujeito ecológico. 6. ed., São Paulo: Cortez, 2012.

FONSECA, Homero. Pernambucânia: o que há nos nomes das nossas cidades. 2 ed. Recife: CEPE, 2008.

GRUMBERG, Evelina. Manual de atividades práticas de educação patrimonial. Brasília , DF: IPHAN, 2007.

HORTA, Maria de Lourdes Parreiras; GRUNBERG, Evelina; MONTEIRO, Adriane Queiroz. Guia Básico de Educação Patrimonial. Brasília: IPHAN, 1999.

TORREÃO. In: RECIFE. Prefeitura. [2016?]. Disponível em: Acesso em: 20 set. 2016.


how to quote this text

VASCONCELOS, Isabel Cristina de; VIEIRA, Ana Paula; VERARDI, Cláudia Albuquerque. Torrões (Neighborhood, Recife). In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2016. Available at: Accessed on: month day year. (Ex.: ago. 6 2020)