Yes, you read the title correctly; in Recife, you can also find a Castle! However, the fortress is not the principal attraction in this case; the surprise is what is hidden inside it. Would you believe that one of Brazil's top three museums is located right inside this Castle? Called 'Instituto Ricardo Brennand,' the Castle holds one of the biggest armor collection in the whole world, among other art items. Such items are real sized copies of "The Thinker," made by Auguste Rodin and Michelangelo's "David" (there are just five copies of it in the world). You can even admire original sculptures, like the "La dama y el Caballo," made by Fernando Botero. Yes, the Brennand Castle is one of the highest-level touristic attractions you can find in all Brazil, so if you go to Recife, Pernambuco, you definitely have to visit it.
The European medieval-style inspires the Castle's architecture. It is built inside this big metropolis, and it is one of the most unusual museums you will ever see. It is a private property, which opened in 2002 by the Brazilian businessman, Ricardo Brennand. All the museum idea started with a collection of classical art and armors. Located on the lands of the old 'São João' mill, in the Várzea neighborhood, it occupies an area of 77,603 m², surrounded by a preserved Atlantic forest. Inside this modern museum facilities, you can find the Castle of 'São João,' holding the Museum (Museum of white weapons), plus the Pinacoteca, the Library, a chapel, the Auditorium, Sculpture Gardens and a Gallery for temporary exhibitions and events.
Among the artifacts, you can find rare relics, like the ones brought by Governor Nassau, during the Dutch invasion in Pernambuco. The are several works of art from artists and thinkers dating back to the time of the so-called "Nova Holanda" (or New Holand), between 1630 and 1654. There is even a collection of coins of the Nassau Era named 'Florins'; these coins were similar to those used in the Netherlands back in that time.
Recife is a big city, so getting there depends on where you are staying. If you are in Boa Viagem, the approximate distance is 19 Km, and depending on traffic, it can take you about one hour or even more. There you can access the public bus lines that can drop you very close. The bus lines with the direction "CDU" (meaning Cidade Universitária, or Universitarian City- a region nearby the museum) is the one you can take. In any case, to be sure, ask the bus driver before entering. Several hotels offer a shuttle bus going there, but I believe that the best option is to take an UBER, which again, depending on where you are, will cost a maximum of 25 reais, or so 5 euros.
You can find tickets online or at the entrance of the Institute. I highly suggest buying internet tickets to avoid lines at the entrance. Plus, keep in mind that the museum is huge, so you better save the entire afternoon just for this visit. If you do not want to lose any single minute of your visit, I suggest you have lunch inside the Institute, at the "Restaurante Castelus", which works under the supervision of the chef Marie França, one of the best ones in Recife. The Institute opens almost every day from Tuesday to Sunday, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Keep in mind that the last entry is at 4:30 pm. The ticket price is 30 reais (or so 6,50 euros), and 15 for people with disabilities, students, teachers, and the elderly over 60 years.
So while in Recife, I hope you enjoy this amazing visit to the Instituto Ricardo Brennand, one of Brazil's top museums!!!
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