Santa Luzia, in the moment – 1911

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 2.50.00 AMJune 1911Before entering the ‘salty element’ in Santa Luzia

I really love these ones, despite the second photo not developing perfectly. They catch the moment very well.

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The Santa Luzia church used to face the sea! Look where it is now (behind Santos Dumont airport). Also not where it should be (in fact, not anywhere at all), the Morro do Castelo, which used to reside just behind the church before it was raized in 1922 (its dirt was used to landfill the beach above). Both discontinued from existence, all in the name of progress, or rather to prepare the area for the centennial celebration of independence.

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“Originally a chapel built by fishermen in 1592, it was occupied by Franciscans until 1607, when they received via donation the Santo Antônio hill, and started building their convent. The small Santa Luzia hermitage transformed itself into a real church in the centuries that followed, with the beach area in front of it borrowing its name.

With the passage of time, the church underwent reforms and was transformed. Even so, the spot was considered remote and isolated, sought out by those that wanted solitude. In the 1840s, no one knows why, but the beach became known for suicides, as José de Alencar relates to us in his novel “A Viuvinha”. Luckily, this trend didn’t last.

The old street there was also connected to ‘sports’ history, as it was where sea baths took place in the 19th century, in houses dedicated to the activity. One would pay admitance, change clothes and, enter the enclosed, collected sea water area, just for precaution. It may seem odd but at the time, no one actually went into the sea as it simply wasn’t part of their habits and culture (though this also changed in the early 20th century).

The Santa Luiza beach disappeared long ago, but the small and beautiful church still stands, living witness to more than four centuries of history and transformations.” – Source (PT)

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