Paraty – A Preserved Portuguese Colonial - The Traveller


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Paraty – A Preserved Portuguese Colonial

Paraty, a preserved Portuguese colonial and Brazilian Imperial town has a population of about 36,000 inhabitants and is located on the Costa Verde or Green Coast which is lush green running along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

It is a famous tourist attraction and is known for its historic town and the coast and mountains in the region. It was first founded formally as a town by the Portuguese colonizers in the year 1667 in region inhabited by the Guaianas Indians who lived where the city stands now and was called Paraty. In Tupi language, Paraty means river of fish.

When the region was colonized by the Portuguese, they adopted the Guaianas name for their new town. Its old churches, nearby forest, waterfalls, cobbled streets, islands with its emerald green seas are a sheer attraction for every tourist.

Paraty a Medium Sized Town

Set amidst jutting peninsulas with secluded beaches along with a backdrop of steep mountains which plunges into an island surrounded bay, Paraty is a nice medium sized town in Southern Brazil and is one of Brazil’s most exciting and appealing destination and exquisitely preserved historical gems.

The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande dotted by many tropical islands and rising above 1,300 meters behind the town are the tropical forests, mountains and waterfalls which is the westernmost and southernmost city of Rio de Janeiro state.

It is also surrounded by several parks and nature reserves which include Serra da Bocaina National Park, Serra di Nar State Park of Sao Paulo, the Park Reserve of Joatinga and the Cairucu Environment Protection Area where the village of Trindade is placed. Besides, the municipality includes a village and an Afro Brazilian quilombo.

Century’s Old Architecture

Its colonial centre is known not only for its century’s old architecture but also for its absence of automobile traffic and the irregular cobblestone streets are closed to motor vehicle enabling one to stroll peacefully in the streets.

The elegant white building with fanciful multihued borders with latticed window blends with the natural beauty of this amazing town.Paraty is a town which is crowded and lively during summer vacation with Brazilian and European tourists and its cosmopolitan flavour is enhanced with the entry of a number of artist, chefs and writers, foreigners as well as Brazilians who have settled in this town and opened galleries, restaurants and shops.

The town is compact and can be explored on foot, though cars, besides taxi for pick and drop of passengers are not permitted in the historic city centre. The historic centre is small and easy to navigate, though street names and addresses are a bit confusing and while some streets have more than one name, house numbers do not follow a predictable pattern.

Export Port for Gold

Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal, after the discovery of the world’s richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais.

The gold rush led to the construction of the Caminho do Quro or Gold Trial which was a 1200 km road paved in steep areas by huge stones connecting Paraty to Diamantina via Quro Preto and Tiradentes.

This was used to transport gold to Paraty and also to convey supplies, miners and African slaves by mule train across the mountain, to and from the gold mining areas, The Gold Trail was included in the World Heritage List in August 2004.

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