The Paço Imperial was built in the 18th century to serve as residence for the governors of colonial Brazil and is now an important cultural centre.
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The Imperial Court at Praça XV, Centro, began as the main residence of Governor Gomes Freire de Andrade in 1743, before becoming the seat of power of the Portuguese Royal Family until the declaration of independence. The historic importance of the building was finally recognised in the 1980s, when it underwent a comprehensive restoration to become a key cultural centre for seminars, live music and theatre, the first protected building to be converted for cultural purposes in Brazil.
Today, other than hosting temporary shows, there is a permanent exhibition at the ground-floor taking visitors through the history of the building and a homage to the country’s greatest architects – all very fitting for a building in which modernity and classical features sit together in unison, particularly following the latest revamp in 2011. A well-stocked book, music and dvd shop with a small café can also be found inside.