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Real Gabinete Português de Leitura was built between 1880-1887 and has more than 350,000 volumes, among them a rare 1572 edition of Luís de Camões's "Os Lusíadas." It has the largest Portuguese literary collections outside of Portugal. This magnificent, Gothic-Renaissance style bibliotheca has a carved facade that was influenced by Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery and has sculptures of eminent Portuguese such as Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões. The ornate interiors are breathtaking with its chandelier and red, white and blue stained-glass sky-lamp.
Igreja e Mosteiro de São Bento was built in the early 17th-century by Benedictine monks as a place for worship and study. he façade is simple yet pleasant, while the baroque interior abounds with gold and silver, from the wood carvings of the altar to the spiral columns. This old church offers everything for the visitor: interesting history, colonial architecture and a richly decorated interior.
Constructed in the 17th Century, Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência is a striking example of the city's breathtaking colonial architecture. The church is a part of the beautiful Convento Santo Antonio, and is one of the oldest religious edifices in the city. A prominent feature of this church is the stunning Baroque-style artwork on the roof; a rare feature among the city's historic churches.
Among the oldest church in Rio, Convento de Santo Antônio was finished in 1620, and was one of the most powerful religious centres in colonial times. It is known as "Saint Anthony of the rich," as opposed to "Saint Anthony of the poor," in another part of town. It consists of the convent itself and two churches. Inside the church of the Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência, the wood nave and ceiling frescos depict the glorification of St. Francis. Inside St. Anthony's, the marble and tile sacristy pictures the miracles he performed.
Built in 1743, this modest palace was the headquarters of the Portuguese government, where Dom João VI established his court in 1808, Dom Pedro I announced his refusal to join his father back in Portugal in 1822 and Princess Isabel proclaimed the end of slavery in Brazil, in 1888. After numerous restorations, the building still preserves its original Colonial structure, which dates back to the early days of the city. It was occupied for almost a century by the postal administration and now is a contemporary arts center.
Jardim Botânico or the Botanical garden makes for a fun and educational day trip with your kids. Spread across an area of 140.83 hectares (348 acres) and housing nearly 6000 species of plants and shrubs, it is a must visit attraction, while in Rio de Janeiro. You can also avail services of tourist guides who will take you through the garden and give an in-depth explanation on variety of trees and plant specimens.
Fort Copacabana was built in 1914 to defend Guanabara bay, and now offers many attractions for its visitors. The fort houses Museu Histórico do Exército, a good source of information on Brazil's military history. Outside of the fort you'll get a lovely view of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, which are the two most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro.