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Curitiba’s Old Town: the unexpected beautiful historical downtown

Curitiba has many places to visit at Centro Histórico (Old Town) or Largo da Ordem, as popularly the old town is called. The area has museums, art galleries, cultural locations, churches, mansions and well preserved houses, spread around the neighborhood São Francisco – what makes it one of most attractive places in Curitiba. The Curitiba’s Old Town is very democratic – you will find people from different backgrounds. Include a visit to this central area in your travel plans! The scenery is composed by a harmonic mixture of antique and modern. There are bars, restaurants and cultural spaces spread around.

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The “Cavalo Babão” as background: it is a famous point of this area!

For those who visit Curitiba, a stop at the old town should be mandatory. Besides the traditional events that happen here – Feira do Largo da Ordem (Market every Sunday from 9 a.m to 2 p.m), Festival de Curitiba (Theater Festival) and Pre-Karnival – we have gathered some special tips for tourists and locals enjoy the best of the area.

Good to know: the Feira do Largo da Ordem is a huge market and a very beloved attraction! If you are in Curitiba Sunday morning, do not miss it. See some images in a video: 

What to see at “Centro Histórico”?

Cathedral – located where the first Portuguese settlers built a chapel 1668, it was enlarged and improved as times went by until to reach que present construction, that dates from 1893. The project has gothic style and is dedicated to the Holy Mary of the Light of Pinhais. It was recently restored. It is worth to visit the beautiful interior as well and see a statue of the former Pope John Paul II and also a well that was found in the last restoration and today is closed by glass.

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Cathedral inside. Photo: Special Paraná

Praça Tiradentes – according to the legend, the Indian chief Tindiquera braught the first Portuguese settlers to this place to show a good place to begin their village. Fact is that the chapel was built here and the city grew around it. It was recently restored and the ancient pavement was found – it can be seen under the glass in the middle of the square.

Paço da Liberdade – opened 1916, it was the adress of the former city hall and presently it hosts exhibitions, cultural events and the famouns Café do Paço, a charming place for a stop.

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“Paço da Liberdade” has an interesting architecture! Photo: Special Paraná

Rua São Francisco – if you want to imagine how Curitiba´s streets were until 1960, it is interesting to walk along Rua São Francisco. Narrow, stone paved, it goes through a huge change at this moment. Until recent times, it was considered a dangerous spot in town. After a complete restoration, several new bars and restaurants settled here. You will find classic places such as Restaurante São Francisco (here since the decade of 1950) and other very beloved ones like Nonna Giovanna and Jokers. We reccommend to stay here until 9 pm (tops!) because the it got safer, but can still be risky later at night.

Igreja da Ordem – with its simple colonial architectural lines, this church is the oldest preserved construction in Curitiba, dating from 1737. Its architecture is almost the same since the beginning. The church names the complete area, popularly called Largo da Ordem. You can also visit the Sacred Art Museum just next door.

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The oldest preserved construction in Curitiba. Photo: Special Paraná

Igreja do Rosário – built for the slaves in honor of the Holy Mary of Rosario, it is one of the most beautiful constructions at the old town. Curiously, it became the official church during the construction of the present cathedral. The present façade was built 1946 to replace the simpler one of colonial style.

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Rosário’s Church as background.

Solar do Rosário –  the beautiful private building is located just beside Igreja do Rosário. In this place you will find several things: art gallery, restaurant for lunch and for “café colonial”, workshops and courses, book store and a nice café with tables inside and outside.

Sociedade Garibaldi – the imposing yellow construction hosts an Italian association, founded by immigrants 1883 to support newcomers in difficulties. The place hosts events and can be booked for breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee for groups of at least 15 persons (book in advance). Contact us for booking!

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The view of Palácio Garibaldi to the Largo da Ordem. Photo: Special Paraná.

Belvedere and Ruínas de São Francisco – at the highest place in the old town you will see the Ruínas de São Francisco (ruins), a place full of legends. The open-air theater usually hosts local bands Sunday mornings. In the gallery you will find some antique stores. The Belvedere is currently under restoration and should be open as a café shortly (April 2016).

Museu Paranaense – with a collection of over 400.000 itens, among them personal belongings, maps, documents, guns, films, coins, etc.  The museum tells the  local history and was opened 1876 (the 3rd Museum in Brazil). Since then, it had 6 different locations before the presente one. The Palace São Francisco is a beautiful mansion. The museum hosts exhibitions and develops studies on archeolgy, anthropology and history.

Memorial de Curitiba – the Memorial hosts several cultural activities and events. It has an impressing architecture and a beautiful panel on the ground floor. Upstairs there is an auditorium and exhibitions space.

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Mural painting inside the Memorial. Photo: Special Paraná

Praça do Gaúcho – this place is very popular for its skating area and also for the ice-cream parlor “do Gaúcho”. Families, skaters and friends like to meet here. Officially called “Praça do Redentor”, it is located next to the cementery and is a good option for ice-cream or for a cold beer in one of the bars there. Located between Rua Nilo Peçanha and Trajano Reis streets.

Tours in Curitiba’s Old Town:

Walking Tour in Curitiba: a perfect tour for whose who want to know more about the history and culture. During the tour our guide will tell about the places and will show pictures how these places used to be decades ago! The tour was a theme of a Nationwide TV show about small businesses.

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Are you curious to know where this picture was taken? Book your tour now and discover!

City Tour Parks and Historical Downtown includes a short walk in this area of Curitiba.

Curitiba Sighteseeing with Picnic: the tour ends in this part of the city and you might want to stay longer and enjoy the vibe of the area and have a beer or a coffee.

City Tour with Photo Shoot: this new tour includes 2 hour photo shoot with a professional photographer. The old town has some amazing places for pictures. Read more about it here.

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Where to eat, drink and have fun?

Bar do Alemão – very traditional pub in the old town. Wooden furniture and darker atmosphere remind of a German pub. The official name is Schwarzwald Bar do Alemão and besides the famous “Submarino” (draft beer with Steinhäger), it has several food options and snacks. Tip: our clients have a special advantage there! Get more information about the advantages and discounts that only our clients have here. Rua Claudino dos Santos, 63 | (41) 3223-2585.

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Jokers Pub – since more than 10 years this bar and restaurant presents music and different performances. It is located in an older building from the beginning of the 20th century. There are also options for lunch. Rua São Francisco, 164 | (41) 3324-2351.

Teatro Lala Schneider – if you speak Portuguese and like Comedy, you will like this theater. There are always good plays with local actors. Take a look in their website for further details. Rua Treze de Maio, 629 | (41) 3232 4499.

Quintal do Monge – for those who like craft beer, this is an excellent place, right beside Igreja de Ordem. There are different kinds of local beer brands, snacks and sandwiches. There are tables inside and outside. Tip: our clients have a special advantage there! Get more information about the advantages and discounts that only our clients have here. Rua Claudino dos Santos, 24 | (41) 3232 5679.

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Bossa Nova – considered a piece of Rio de Janeiro in Curitiba, the bar hosts music shows with samba-rock, a nice combination! It is a place for dancing and to have fun with local Brazilian music. Rua Senador Xavier da Silva, 120 | (41) 3528-6467.

The Peppers Bar – popular among younger people. It has cover bands of rock bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, besides Brazilian rock and electro indie rock. There are snacks and some promotions. Rua Inácio Lustosa, 496 | (41) 3044-1726.

Café Catedral – located on the side of the Cathedral, it is perfect for stop for a coffee or a fast meal. There are different coffee sorts, local beer, pastries, cakes and some dishes. Decoration is very nice and the service is good. Tip: our clients have a special advantage there! Get more information about the advantages and discounts that only our clients have here. Rua Barão do Serro Azul, 81 | (41) 3022-1443.

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O Torto Bar – the small pub is meeting point for many young people in the area of São Francisco neighborhood. The pub is honors a former soccer idol: Garrincha. It has beer and snacks, such as the famous “bolinho de carne”, a recipe kept in secret by the owner. Rua Paula Gomes, 354 | (41) 3027-6458.

Brooklyn Coffee Shop – it is a nice café with specialties from USA in the menu. A good option to meet friends, chat, study, work or simply relax, drink and eat something. Rua Trajano Reis, 389 | (41) 3618-0388.

Oriente Árabe – this nice Arab restaurant is in a strategical location, with view to Praça Garibaldi. There are few tables on the terrace and other in the inner rooms.  It serves delicious Arab food and there are some unexpensive combos for lunch during the week. Tip: our clients have a special advantage there! Get more information about the advantages and discounts that only our clients have here. Rua Kellers, 95 | (41) 3224-2061.

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Nonna Giovanna – traditional restaurant famous for its “Bife à parmegiana”. Very good for budget travelers and very beloved by locals! Rua São Francisco, 134 | (41) 3022-4653 ou 3152-4600.

Madero Burger & Grill – present in different locations  in Curitiba and a very famous restaurant, there is one at Largo da Ordem. The menu has delicious burgers, steaks and pasta. Pleasant athmosphere. Rua Kellers, 63 | (41) 3151-0101. 

Find more information about Curitiba in our guide – download it for free now!

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* All information and phone numbers are subject to change without further notice. Please call before to confirm opening times before going.