Museu Histórico Nacional

Museum covering Brazil’s history from before the arrival of the Portuguese to the 19th century

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rio de Janeiro
Igreja da Veneravel e Arquiepiscopal Ordem Terceira
Baroque church with ornate interior next to the Old Cathedral
Old Cathedral
Former cathedral of Rio which hosted Imperial coronations
Praça XV
Historic hub of Rio where Portuguese king João VI chose to have his palace when he arrived in 1808
Paço Imperial
A former palace of both the Portuguese and Brazilian royal families
Chafariz do Mestre Valentim
Colonial drinking fountain built to give sailors fresh water
Palácio Tiradentes
Neoclassical building that housed the Brazilian Congress between 1926 and 1960

Related Tours

Short Meeting with Rio's Past
·        Walk around the historic Praça XV
·        Visit the old royal residence at the Paço Imperial
·        Lose yourself in Rio’s largest museum: the Museu Histórico Nacional

The centre of Rio has been of crucial importance in Brazilian history. It is where the Portuguese established a foothold in the south of the country, the location of the King Joao VI’s court, and the first capital of an independent Brazil. Join your personal guide as they take you on a trip to see this past first-hand. 

The First Palace

Close by where the Portuguese monarchy disembarked in 1808, your guide will tell you the story of how Rio developed from a colonial port to the capital of the Portuguese Empire. Telling you the tale of how the Portuguese overcame native resistance to found a major city, they will take you to see some of the most important colonial sites around the Praça XV, a square that was the historical heart of the city. After learning about its history, you will go into the Paço Imperial. This is where King João VI of Portugal settled when he arrived in 1808 and the building remained an important site for the royal family until their ousting in 1889, only one year after Princess Isabel announced the abolition of slavery from its balcony. 

An American Monarchy

 A short walk with your guide, as they tell you the curious episode of how Brazil declared independence from Portugal yet kept the Portuguese heir as its monarch, will take you to the Museu Histórico Nacional. Housed within the old colonial arsenal, this museum covers the history of Brazil from before the arrival of European explorers to the 19th century. It is easy to get lost among the exhibits but your guide will be there to help and it is definitely worth asking them to show you Emperor Pedro II’s throne and the royal carriages. You might also want to look at some of the Museum’s other curiosities, from the blind-friendly Patio of Cannons, to its monumental coin collection.  


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