Category Archives: Recife

Brazil, Recife and Olinda – colourful buildings, Jewish heritage and carnival puppets

I am now in the north eastern part of Brazil which has a different feel to it. Still big cities but more friendly and laid back than in the South (at least that’s my impression).

Olinda is about 5km from downtown Recife and provides nice views from the main (and somewhat dilapidated) church over the City of Recife

Olinda is another town full of colourful buildings that I never get tired of seeing. And they like their mosaics too!

Below is a typical handicraft area from this part of Brazil. Lots of colour, African influences art, wooden carvings and a lot of cheesecloth?!

Then back down in Recife we recommenced our Jewish heritage tour visiting what has now been proven as the first ever synagogue in the Americas. A lot of Sephardic Jews left Portugal and came to Brazil after the Inquisition but had to live as Jews in secret for many years. They had a brief respite when the Dutch came into power and were allowed to worship freely but then the Portuguese returned and they went back into hiding.

This synagogue was only discovered in the 90s and was first thought to just be an old building but further excavations allowed them to find the Mikvah ( under glass below) which means it now attracts scholars from all over the world to see it. It has been well preserved. Also interested to see the original steer name and the current street name both being displayed.

The photo below was one in the museum area above the synagogue – and also there is one of my Dad. I thought this chap could have been related to our family as he looks like my Dad and my uncles! What do the Babani’s think?

Finally we visited the main square and the official centre of town and then the museum that houses a lot of the papier mache figures used at carnival time – quite the collection!!

I especially like the combo of Batman Mao and me – what a motley crew!