Tours in Paraíba: cultural and gastronomic tour in Brejo


by Vicente Paul By Vicente Paul


Tourist itineraries and attractions in Paraíba: The Brejo


This page covers Alagoa Grande, Areia and the mills... more infos here:

PART I: Alagoa Grande, Areia and mills | PART II: Bananeiras, memorial Frei Damião and Snoorer waterfall


Tour of Cultural and Gastronomic Tourism in Brejo


Alagoa Grande - Church Our Lady of Boa Viagem

Located in the micro Brejo Paraibano, its population in 2010 was 28,482 inhabitants. The land area is 320.558 km².

Alagoa Grande has a great tourism potential that can be economically exploited, bringing foreign exchange to the county (both the historical tourism, the rural and ecological tourism).

In this municipality is the quilombola community Caiana back Crioulos, Black heritage who have contributed to the economic and cultural growth of the city. The city's name is written in an archaic form of Portuguese.

It was part of the municipality of Areia until the mid-nineteenth century, when it became independent as a city. The year 1864 is considered the year of its foundation, but in 1847 it had passed from village to district. March 27, 1908, Alagoa Grande was elevated to city status.

This is an area that has grown a lot in the nineteenth century through agriculture based on sugar cane (which destroyed the Atlantic forest of the place, disfiguring plant cover), which extensively used slave labor force.

At its center there are still houses that bear witness to this time of economic greatness of the city and that were built by slaves.

Some of these large houses, which appear in front of the central square and the centennial church of the city are covered with tiles imported from Portugal in the nineteenth century.

Alagoa Grande

The foundation of the parish of "Our Lady of Boa Viagem" in Alagoa Grande was mainly mastermind by the Carmelite priest Frei Alberto Santa Augusta Cabral in the year 1861, which was also his first vicar.

During this period, the clerics of Alagoa Grande were subordinate the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, headquartered in the city of Areia, which belonged to the bishopric of Olinda in Pernambuco province.

The outer facade was built in the Baroque style, and has five doors to the front. Above the main door there is an inscription dating from the year of its opening, with five windows above the doors, all with iron bars, halfway up. In the top center, there is a cross, measuring a meter and a half.

On the front were built two towers that visualize the entire city of their tops; to the left there's the steeple, and right, the clock.

The arches on the doors and windows, and other architectural details of the facade, are typical of the period of its construction, in the second half of the nineteenth century. The construction of the two towers signified the power and greatness in this slave society.

Our Lady of Boa Viagem

Alagoa Grande - Theater Santa Ignêz

Theater Santa Inêz

Located in the center of the city of Alagoa Grande, the theater Santa Ines is one of the oldest in Brazil. It opened in January 2, 1905 and has a classical architecture in Italian style.

In its stage performed several national and international groups. After several restorations were started, but not completed, it was finally reopened on 27 March 1999. The theater is one of the most important sites of Alagoa Grande.

Theater Santa Inêz

Street of the Teatro Santa Ignêz

Alagoa Grande

Memorial Jackson do Pandeiro

In Alagoa Grande, Jackson was born on August 31, 1919, under the name of José Gomes Filho. He was the son of a coconut singer, Flora Mourao, who gave him his first instrument: a tambourine.

Jackson do Pandeiro, stage name of José Gomes Filho (Alagoa Grande, August 31, 1919 - Brasilia, 10 July 1982) was a singer and composer of forró and samba, as well as its various subgenres, including: baião, xote, xaxado, coco, arrasta-pé, quadrilha, marcha, frevo, among others.

He is also known as The King of Rhythm. His stage name came from a nickname he gave himself: Jack, inspired by a young man of westerns, Jack Perry.

The transformation to Jackson was a hint of a director of radio program. He said it would be more audible and cause more effect if it were to be announced.

Alagoa Grande

The memorial brings together on permanent exhibition disks, objects, documents, photographs, clothing, among hundreds of pieces gathered by family, friends, collectors, researchers and artists.

The space, a big house of 1898, restored and adapted to the equipment, will also house the remains of the artist, who will be transferred from the Cashew Cemetery in Rio de Janeiro to his country, 26 years after the death and on the eve of the 90th years of his birth.

Besides the memorial, the city takes on a giant shaped tambourine, installed in the city's entrance, surrounded by a proportional plate to the monument with the words:'Alagoa Grande - Jackson Pandeiro country'.

Alagoa Grande

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Areia city (listed by IPHAN)

Located in the micro Brejo Paraibano, its population in 2006 was estimated at 26,569 inhabitants. The land area is 269 square kilometers. With many natural resources and located in an elevated area, Areia winter is covered by a light mist, and has different sources and water baths.


Areia is also well known for its cultural richness, particularly the museum Pedro Américo, with many replicas of pictures of the most famous citizen of Areia, including the famous `O Grito do Ipiranga´ commissioned to him by Dom Pedro II.

The Museum of derivatives of sugarcane, located in UFPB campus, where tourists can observe the different stages of production of this delicacy and other products derived from sugar cane, such as cachaça well known to foreign-born for its incomparable flavor.


Areia has long been regarded as the Land of Culture, with its Minerva theater that was built 50 years before the theater of the Paraíba capital. For this hospitable city with harsh winters, converged students from throughout the region.

Witness this time the northeast Agronomy School, Santa Rita College (German Franciscan Sisters), and the College of State d'Areia (former Gymnasium Coelho Lisbon).

Their children have excelled in all competitions. Carminha Sousa Gouveia and Laura were recognized for their ability to educate and train people in Portuguese.


Over time, due to a river that has very white sandbanks, the city came to be called Brejo Areia, as the village is in the micro-region of Brejo Paraibano, region of Paraíba.

Not far from the coast, receiving humid winds from the Atlantic, it has a vegetation of the Atlantic forest now reduced to small areas. And was therefore also called Forest Zone. The village was elevated to a town on August 30, 1818, and May 18, 1846, it became a city.

With the development of sugarcane plantations in the Brejo region, in the nineteenth century, the city of Areia became the largest municipality in the region, but such economic prominence started since the previous century XVIII, with the previous cotton cultivation.

The abolitionist campaign in the city had the leadership of Manuel da Silva and Rodolfo Pires, and the city released the last slave just before the abolition of slavery throughout the country, on May 3, 1888.


Areia actively participated in the revolutions of the nineteenth century, such as the Pernambuco Revolution in 1817, the Confederation of Ecuador in 1824 and the revolt of Puzzle Kilos in 1873.

Areia was the leading civilization of the High Brejo of Paraiba during the nineteenth century, late eighteenth century and early twentieth century to the point of possessing the first theater in the state, the first college, etc.

This testifies an interesting pattern in the history of Paraiba, where once the development focused on the inside of the country and then reaches the capital (already an important center in the sixteenth century - only Lusophone city founded by Spaniards during the reign of Filipes).


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Sobrado of José Rufino, house of IPHAN

Sobrado José Rufino

The Sobrado Jose Rufino is now the home of the IPHAN, and was once a slave quarters.

In the early nineteenth century, men of wealth and initiative as the Portuguese Francisco Jorge Torres, the captain Bartolomeu da Costa Pereira and Jose Antonio Leal, built the first houses of the village.

The building, houses the Department of Tourism and Events, of Culture, Ministry of Youth, Sports and activities of the City of Areia, the museum "Living Culture Point" and the Association of Friends of Areia - AMAR, a kind of museum.

It is a solid construction which have been preserved as much as possible, the original lines which features the colonial architecture.

It has three floors, including the attic, where are loopholes shaped arrow openings, whose purpose was to allow light penetration and air, as well as possibly serve for defense.


The main façade has two rows of lattice windows with a door leading inside. The upper deck has balconies with wrought iron railings. Streetlights iron in a period style, are placed at the front and side facades of the building for outdoor lighting.

A rim extending around the building completes the harmonious and sober shapes. The inner part is divided into 35 rooms, furnished and decorated with precious antiques.

The lower deck floor is brick except the kitchen that retains the old original floor tiles and which served as dining room black. One can observe the tablets of stone attached to the wall, the stone oven, large pots of English-made iron, and a primitive mill to grind grain.


In the rear the slave quarters, with their individual cabins around a paved courtyard and two doors leading to a terrace, lower, protected by stone balustrades overlooking the beautiful landscape of the "Beautiful Cave". 

Access to the upper floor is via two wooden stairs with twisted ramp to the main hall, and back, by a long stone staircase, slave labor.

The ground is here right floor and ceiling reinforced by powerful hardwood beams. In the dining room there is a fireplace, lighting, bathrooms, toilets... everything is in the style of colonial architecture, evoking a time of splendor lived by the ancestors.



Areia - Church Our Lady of Conception

Mother Church of Our Lady of the Conception has a historical value and observed the growth of the city, since it was a small nucleus of settlement and a simple hut church where the vicar Mamanguape celebrated once a month. In 1809, it appears as a chapel with interior tiles.

The parish was created in 1813, but it was only in 1834 that Father Francisco de Holanda Chacon, who led the parish for 52 years, stands the Matrix in the same place of the original chapel - large building without tower at that time with halls, grandstands, choir, consistory and gilded altars.


Cônego Odilon Bienvenido reformed the mother church knocking down the aisles and tribunes, replacing them with arcades, built more altars of brick and raised the tower in the center of the building. It was blessed on April 20, 1902, a date that is recorded in the main facade.

The interior consists of nave and aisles separated by arches. Throughout these are altars, some of which are home to ancient images in wood, Our Lady of Sorrows, baby Jesus, the Lord died, Jesus Crucified and risen Lord.

A reproduction of Our Lady of Solitude and other Lord of the Steps with natural hair and clothes. In the nave ceiling there is a colorful panel that has great artistic interest.

All the altars are of masonry. In the sacristy there is a cabinet above, which in a niche where you can see the image of Our Lady. There is another mobile dark wood with an attached chapel. In front of the temple is the choir and under the same a separate hall for the main nave arches.


Areia - Theater Minerve

The Minerva theater opened in 1859 as the Drama Theatre, and the palco was the pride of Areia people, especially members of the Society of Dramatic Recreation Society who built it at his own expense, a pioneering initiative that preceded the theater in the capital of thirty.

He worked regularly with representatives of local amateur ensembles. It is said that even the famous companies that exhibited in Recife, went to Areia, always receiving more applause of a people who had love for art and intelligence.

Located street Epitácio Pessoa, S/N, the construction of simple lines, tends more to the classic type, and presents on the main facade three doors, and two windows above. Embossed the name "private theater" and the date of the inauguration is 1859.

It has a triangular pediment bearing the eardrum of a relief ornamentation and a spiral pattern center of which is a statue of the goddess Minerva.

It was placed there by Horacio Silva, in the early twentieth century, when the administration of Mayor Otacílio Albuquerque made some improvements to the building. Since then it is known as the Minerva Theatre.


At the entrance there is a small hall which lead to the spectacle room, slanted floor in bricks, with a carpet in the center.

On the wooden ceiling hangs a iron chandelier with six branches. Around there are two orders of stalls, overlapping, circular format, in wood, divided by simple columns of the same material.

There are fixtures shaped lamps along the side walls. At the rear, behind the scenes, dressing rooms are located and connected to it by two lateral runners entries. Furniture somewhat rustic, was all renewed following as much as possible the original model.

For a while the building functioned as a cinema, but has now returned to its original function.


Church Our Lady of the Blacks Rosary

The church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks was the initiative of a fraternity originally made up of colored people. It is the oldest of the place although we do not have the precise date of its foundation.

It is known that for many years it has not been completed. According to Horace de Almeida, the provincial government in 1865 awarded him a sum of four thousand reis for the progress of the work.

It seems that its conclusion came only in 1886 with the arrival of the first religious party. The Rosary Church finds itself in the center of the city, opposite Square Minister Jose Americo de Almeida.

It is a building that has kept the architectural style that prevailed during the first three centuries of colonization.


A staircase leads to the church whose main façade has three arched gates. The central door being slightly greater than the lateral. There are also three windows with wrought-iron balconies, overlooking the choir, filling its facade and surmounted by a pediment with rolls and a small cross.

She does not have towers. The interior consists of a single nave, a simple heart directly to the entrance, with a side staircase that starts inside the nave. On the same side a pulpit of wood with ornate relief and a border of the same stuff adorned with delicate needlework.

On a higher plane of the nave at the entrance of the choir, there are side altars painted in white wood and adorned with gold sculptures. They house pictures, including one of Our Lady of Mercy with the dead son in his arms, carved in wood, is very beautiful.

Areia - College Santa Rita


College Santa Rita

Inn Vila Real: restaurant Bambu


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Areia - Cachaça Mills Triunfo and Volúpia

Areia has 28 active mills; the civilization of the Brazilian Northeast mills left deep roots, so that still survive not only in local memory, but concretely.

There are not only historic buildings abandoned like in many cases, but it is also a sustained economic activity that represents the wealth of the northeastern region at that time.

Cachaçaria Volúpia

Cachaçaria Triumfo

The cachaça Triunfo is one of the most traditional of Paraíba, being produced in the city Areia. The Triumph cachaça is produced by entrepreneurs Antônio Augusto and Maria Julia. In 1994, after receiving an inheritance, the couple decided to buy a mill, dream of Antonio Augusto.

But the difficulties were numerous. With a lack of money to acquire own machinery for the manufacture of cachaça, entrepreneurs had to improvise, "we did not have the money to buy machines for the manufacture of cachaça, and had to invent.

Who visited our factory, then was surprised by the ingenuity said Maria Júlia to visitors. To give an idea, we used even a hair dryer mechanism, and a meat grinder were used for the mill".

Cachaçaria Triumfo

Cachaçaria Triumfo

All these difficulties were overcome and valid, and the Triumph mill is open for visits from people interested in its history and production process.

The Engenho Triunfo in the city of Areia is an example of a successful business. However, competing technological progress, there is the reception and the good taste of the welcoming garden.

Cachaçaria Triumfo

Cachaçaria Triumfo

PART I: Alagoa Grande, Areia and mills | PART II: Bananeiras, memorial Frei Damião and Snoorer waterfall

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