Madureira Tour, visting the heart of Northern Rio
Coonsidered Northern Rio busiest and most representative area, Madureira has inspired many songs by several Brazilian artists. Known as one the bithplaces of samba, in these once almost rural neighborhoods blossomed two of the most traditional samba schools – Portela and Império Serrano. This region is culturally multidiverse, bringing together people from many different rhythms and arts. Festivals, fairs, funk and charm: there is space for most anything in this legendary place, which carries the true spirit of the suburbian Rio de Janeiro, which in Brazil corresponds to the city area where the poor working class chose to live, away from the Morros and Favelas.
Check out the following exploratory itinerary to know the most important attractions:
Rua Soares Caldeira, 115 – Behind Shopping Madureira
Tuesday to Sunday, 5am – Midnight – Free entry
Open in 2012, the park, one of the main cultural hotspots in Rio’s North Zone, is a source of great pride for Madureira’s residents. With modern skating rinks, , courts for many sports and arena for concerts, the place is also the third largest green area of the city. Check the official page.
Mercadão de Madureira
Avenida Ministro Edgar Romero, 239
Mondays to Saturdays, 7am – 7pm / Sundays and Holidays, 7am-Noon
A centenary popular market awards to Madureira the title of largest commercial hub of the region. With more than 580 stores featuring everything, it is possible to find herbs, candy, toys, clothes and accessories. It has been declareded a Cultural Heritage Site. Mercadão is a must-see point.
Avenida Edgar Romero, 114
Madureira’s green and white samba school is one of the most traditional in the city. Created in 1947, the school has strong ties with an old dance practised by former slaves, called “jongo”. It has 9 championships, gave to Carnival some of their best songs and its drum section has a very peculiar sound. See the cultural program on the school website.
Rua Clara Nunes, 81
Portela is one of the pioneer samba schools. Its colors are blue and white, and the eagle is its symbol, which opens all parades. Holding the current record, it’s the greatest champion of Rio Carnival, with 21 titles. Also known as “Majesty of Samba”, Portela was the first to have a Front Commission, who carry the responsibility of giving the first impression to the judges and the public. Access the event calendar here.
Casa do Jongo
Rua Silas de Oliveira, 101
Daily, 9am- 5pm – Free entry
The House of Jongo is the new headquarters of the Jongo da Serrinha Cultural Group, who has the goal of preserving the history of African dance. The house has a space for permanent exhibitions, music studios and dance hall. Learn more at the project website.
Baile Charme do Viaduto de Madureira
Rua Carvalho de Souza, S/n (under Viaduto Negrão de Lima)
Saturdays 10pm – Tickets: R$ 5 – R$ 10
The charm, R&B and hip hop also have a place in Madureira. For 24 years the neighborhood overpass has been a reference for events that promote black culture through dance. Threre are amazing dancers fighting for space in the dance floor. Check out the attractions here.
Feira das Yabás
Praça Paulo da Portela, s/n – Oswaldo Cruz
Every second Sunday of each month, 1pm – Free entry
Oswaldo Cruz, a neighborhood near to Madureira, hosts a great fair for food and music lovers. Yabás, or aunts, welcome people from all Rio. There are 16 stalls featuring typical Brazilian delicacies with African touches. You can enjoy the musical attractions while drinking a cold beer with a “feijoada” or “rabada”. Learn more here.
How to get there:
– By train
To get to Parque Madureira, Mercadão de Madureira or to Império Serrano samba school hall, take the Belford Roxo train ahd get off at Mercadão de Madureira station.
To get to Portela samba school hall, take Deodoro, Santa cruz or Japeri trains and exit at Madureira Station.
To get to Feira das Yabás, take the Deodoro train to Oswaldo Cruz station.
– By taxi
The most convient way to get to Viaduto de Madureira is to take a cab. Expect to pay around R$ 100 from Rio’s South Zone. The price is almost the same for the others places mentioned in this article.