Paço Imperial

in Centro & Praça Mauá

The former imperial palace was originally built in 1743 as a governor's residence. Later it became the home of Dom João and his family when the Portuguese throne transferred the royal seat of power to the colony. In 1888 Princesa Isabel proclaimed the Freedom from Slavery Act from the palace's steps. The building was neglected for many years but has been restored and now hosts excellent changing exhibitions and concerts. There's also a good cafe and a restaurant here.