The original Palacio Rio Branco has nothing to do with the current building. This site was home to the first palace, built by Tome de Sousa, Bahia’s first governor. This palace was home to the Portuguese queen and the prince regent until 1808, when the entire Portuguese court moved to Rio de Janeiro to escape Napoleon’s invasion.
The Palácio Rio Branco building survived until 1900, when it was demolished and rebuilt in Renaissance style. The building’s eclectic appearance was reaffirmed by Julio Conti in 1912 after a fire. Until 1979, it was an office building of the government.
The Centro Memoria da Bahia was established in 1986 to rededicate the Palacio Rio Branco. The former reception hall, located on the ground floor, tells Bahia’s history through the 40 governors through paintings, historical documents, and personal belongings.
Its fine interior features a mixture of Rococo plasterwork, frescoes, and Rococo plasterwork. The large dome and magnificent views from the belvedere on the wing looking out onto the sea are of particular note, along with the iron and crystal staircase and Tome de Souza sculpture.
Address: Praça Tomé de Souza, S/N – Centro, Salvador – BA, 40020-000, Brazil
Phone #: (71) 3116-6928
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 10am to 12pm, and from 1pm to 5pm.
Important: second floor visitation is not allowed.
Accessibility: there are some steps to access the central door, with no ramp. The entire ground floor has wide circulation, without steps or unevenness. There is an accessible route from Pelourinho.