Monday, June 6, 2016

Olinda, Brazil, May 2016

The view of Recife from a hilltop in Olinda.  Our taxi driver, Sal, took us on a 15-minute detour to see this 'surprise', a gorgeous view of our destination in the distance.  We were on our way to the airport in Recife to fly to Rio de Janeiro.
A couple of old guys playing guitars for the tourists on the hilltop in Olinda.
Olinda has 22 churches that date back hundreds of years.
Quaint architecture is also a mark of Olinda.
The old monastery at the top of the hill was closed when we stopped.
A tourist getting his photo taken with the two street musicians.
The streets here are old, steep, narrow and cobbled with big rocks.
Some of these buildings are hundreds of years old, too.  So colorful.
Sal is pointing out the old buildings and their features as we drive through Olinda on the way to the airport.
San Bento is one of the pretty old churches.
A street scene in Olinda.  These buildings are over 110 years old.
A pretty view of a church in Olinda from the hilltop restaurant where we ate dinner.  It is lit up at night, making it a pretty view anytime.  It is the Church of Carmo.
The front of the building of the market at the top of the hill.The prow-like sculpture carries the theme of the ocean so prevalent here.
I went into the old observatory at night.  The constellations are laid out on the floor of the round tower.
The spiral staircase let up two levels to the slit in the top for astronomers.
The red light inside the observatory helps to prevent night blindness so you can still see better in the dark.  The walls actually had English explanations on it.  Someone had a huge telescope set up in the top and on the ground level with views of the moon and Mercury.
A shop in the market was selling these little clay representations of various occupations.  The gynocologist and proctologist were the main ones here.  Yuck!  Who would want one of these on their desk??
These huge masks were on the wall of a building across the road from the market area.  They are large--about 6 feet tall-- and represent the Carnival that closes the streets here in Olinda for 15 days.
Another of the masks on the wall.  Colorful mosaics make up these faces.  These were taken at night with an iPhone, so you can imagine the color and glittery look these must have in daylight.
A colorful doorway as we drove past.
Churches get the most attention here in Olinda.
Lace tablecloths in the market outside the hilltop church.  I bought one of the square white ones as a gift.  They are made from coconut fibers.  Maybe not heirloom items, but quite pretty and detailed nonetheless.
Ornate building fronts are everywhere here.
Colorful artwork/graffitti along the streets.
The iconic view of the Church of San Francisco, now called Church of Carmo.  It had us confused when we were trying to find the blue and white tiles in the San Francisco Monastery.
Intricate tiles and lots of gilt work inside in the alcoves
Gold, gold and more gold in these churches and cathedrals.
Even the sandstone work at the entry is pretty ornately carved.
I just liked this bright pink buildintg across the road from our pousada/guesthouse/B&B when we stayed the night here.

The following pictures are mostly of the blue and white tiles found on the walls of the Monaster of San Francisco in Olinda.  We'd heard about the nearly 1000 tiles that depicted the scenes from the bible and from the daily lives of the Dutch when they were here in the 1600s.  The tiles are in a part of a church whose origin was 439 years ago!  These tiles aren't that old, but they are hundreds of years old and in need of protection, restoration and repair.  They line several walls of some of the seven chapels in this one building and are pretty amazing to see!
The devil on the left has been defaced, but the colors and details in the majority of the tiles is still quite good.
The cherubs and vases at the top are shaped tiles, not a common occurrence from years ago.
A portion of a wall contains some odd, hodgepodge of scenes.  They were most likely fallen tiles that someone put back on a wall for safekeeping until their proper location could be reestablished.  Makes for unusual viewing now, though, like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces laid out next to each other.  Now you just have to find where they really belong.
Of course, there are lots of religious scdenes, with angels, devils and people.
St,. Francis, known as the patron saint of fishermen is here with a riverful of fish.
The daily scenes of life during the times of the friars are pretty interesting.  Simple things like drawing water from a well, with a town in the background take dozens of tiles to make the picture complete.
Saving the locals?
This one shows a monk trying to drag a man to his redemption, we think.  The rope or chain has been chisled out of the picture.
Walking on a person's chest is helpful how?
The devil is depicted with horns, hooves for feet, and bat-like wings.
The flames of hell are along the right here.  Not sure if those in the flames are trying to draw the man in or if he is trying to save the ones in the flames.  There wasn't a legend for the scenes for us to follow.
This monk looks like he is flying a God kite.  I don't mean to be blasphemous, but the scenes depicted are very unusual.  I imagine it represents the direct ties to the Lord.
And the sailing ships in the harbor are important for daily life scenes.
A youth carrying goods on a stick.
The Egyptian influence presents itself in the head figure at the bottom of this tile scene.
More ties to the heavenly bodies.
Cool old wooden doors of the church.
The ceiling of one room was covered with paintings like this.
Dark carved rosewood lined one wall of one of the chapels, next to a wall of dislocated tiles.
Some ceiling paintings.
A mother and children of the day.
The daily life of a hunter and his dog.
A shepherd and his flock of sheep.
Fishing from a sailboat.
The golden and tile highlights really shine here.
Figures in the alter alcoves.
A view of a wall of tiles in one of the rooms.  It's a huge mural of 4" tiles creating many pictures.
The baby (Jesus?) being circumcised.
The three wise men bringing their gifts to the newborn Jesus in Mary's arms.
This wall is buckling and the tiles are coming loose.  The place needs some attention soon.
More daily life scenes.
Drawing water from a well with a city in the background and a circle of children playing games.
St. Francis, patron saint of fishermen in a river of fish.
A close up of some of those fish.  Wicked teeth on these fishes!
A banner near one of the doors that explains a little about the place.
Horses in a pit in a street.  Mud or just a pothole?
Lots of devils in this one, many of which have been defaced.
Devils with lightning bolts.
This is a tomb covering in the stone floor.
The sundial out in a corner of the grounds.  It is supposedly 33 minutes fast as it never stopped when the Brazilian government stopped the clocks one day in 1914 to enjoy the cool weather in Rio.
The back side of the monastery.
The grounds out the back.
The history of the convent of St. Francisco of Brazil started in 1577 with the first convent here.
The front of the monastery.
Jason and Sal in front of St. Francisco monastery.
The plaza across the street was full of sleeping dogs.
3-D depictions of Olinda in carved wood, along with paintings of the town scenes.  It's a pretty city, its name means 'pretty'.  Appropriate.
Another shot of the front of the monastery with Jason.
A sign telling is is open for visiting.  Cost R$2 each, about 60 cents.
Another pretty church that Sal took us to.
Gilded alters are the name of the game here.
More of the tiles from the 1600-1800s.
A view of the Franciscan monastery from afar.  The Atlantic Ocean is in the background.
Many of the old buildings are covered in the black moldy growth.
A couple of old bells outside another church.
The church at the top of the hill from where we stayed in Olinda.
Doors up on the wall but no balcony or guard to prevent that first big step.
The steep cobblestone street we walked up to get to the church above.
Colorful Olinda streets.
The old buildings butt right up against each other and the colors tell you the boundaries.
A big, funky pink clown outside this 2nd story window.  The pictures look curved because I took them on the iPhone as we were moving in the car.
San Bento (Saint Benedict) church in Olinda.
A sun-scorched sign of explanation of the church, amazingly in English.
Another view.  Just like a postcard eh?
Not the original tile floor, but pretty cool for a church.
Newly refurbished alter.
The ceiling was a piece of art, too.
I liked the thick wooden doors with cracking wood and paint.
Jason and Sal in front of part of the church to be reconstructed using original colors and materials.
This church is the only one to have a 2nd crucifix for the 2nd level.
Yin and yang in mosaic stones.

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