Praça da Matriz


The heart of the colonial settlement, this spacious hilltop plaza contains the best-preserved pelourinho (whipping post) in Brazil and the evocative shell of the 17th-century church Igreja de São Matias. A couple of 18th-century mansions on the west side of the square have been turned into museums.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Maranhão attractions

1. Casa Histórica

0.04 MILES

This impressive mansion on the corner of the plaza has been converted into a museum. On the ground floor are relics from when the building was a chemist's…

2. Museu Histórico de Alcântara

0.04 MILES

Set over two floors, this interesting museum is set in an old colonial house that was first inhabited by nobility and later by traders. It includes many…

3. Casa do Divino


This old house is the main center of activities during Alcântara's famous Festa do Divino Espírito Santo – at other times it serves as a museum covering…

4. Igreja de NS do Carmo


This pretty two-towered church was built in 1665 and has been recently restored. Inside there is an elaborate gold altar, while beside it there is a…

5. Palácio dos Leões

11.19 MILES

The Palácio dos Leões is the state governor’s palace, built in the 18th century on the site of the original French fort. It still houses state government…

6. Casa do Maranhão

11.21 MILES

Set in the former customs house built right on the river mouth, this informative and colorful museum is dedicated to Maranhense culture and features a…

7. Palácio de la Ravardière

11.22 MILES

The Palácio de la Ravardière dates back to 1689 and is now the Prefeitura (City Hall). A bust of São Luís’ French founder, Daniel de la Touche, stands…

8. Casa do Nhôzinho

11.27 MILES

At the eclectic and fascinating Casa do Nhôzinho, you can see a collection of ingenious fish traps, rooms featuring Maranhão indigenous artisanry, and…