Monday, June 13, 2011

St John Marcos park – Rescue of the ruins of a time and place

The coordinator of the Park, Luiz Felipe Younes, says that there are legends associated with the destruction of the ancient city: The man who imploded the main church stood hump.The people say that after the city submerged, appeared certain trees in the city that are known as mulungus and give red flowers. Local people believe that is the blood of residents unhappy with the end of the place. Photo: Ruins of the church.

RIO DE JANEIRO state/BRAZIL – At the Parnaiba river valley region, Rio de Janeiro state, the colonial ghost city of São João Marcos that, for 70 years, has been half submerged, since the build of a dam, and half in ruins covered by atlantic forest is being brought back to life through the action of SPHAN (Serviço de Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional - National Service of Artistic and Historical Patrimony), that created in the local the first Urban-park-Archaeological and Enviromental of Brazil.

Today, the new Park area belongs to the city of Rio Claro (RJ). In the past, it was the city of São João Marcos. Founded by colonial explorers, the called "bandeirantes" (flaggers) in 1733, the place developed quickly. It was a center of coffee agriculture. Reached to produce two million kilos per year. It was the richest town in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In the eighteenth century it had theater, school, police, roads. Slaves and Barons and had their own churches. Artists and actors and singers of artistics companies visited St João Marcos.

In the nineteenth century was the most populous county in the state. It was the first architectural ensemble of the country listed by the Instituto Estadual do Patrimônio Cultural (State Institute of Cultural Patrimony, Inepac) in 1990. Still, in 1940, under the government of President Getúlio Vargas, the city was doomed to be swallowed by the waters in the name of progress: the expansion work of the dam of Lajes. Because the state needed more energy to grow

More than 70 farms were submerged. What escaped of the flood was quickly demolished by the authorities. The initiative to create the park was of the same company that was, a once, responsible for building the dam that destroyed the place. The Light, which invested 5 million and 800 thousand of reais in the recovery of the ruins

During four years, the work of archaeologists, historians, museum curators, architects, landscapers recovered, in 930 thousand square meters, buildings and structures, as the ossuary's Church, the base theater Tibiriça, stretches of the old Imperial Road, stone bridges in addition to about two thousand pieces discovered in excavations such as potteries, coins, personal objects, porcelains and more.

The Park's facilities also include forest area, water mirror, a Memory Center, an exhibition of historical and archaeological pieces, a model, miniature of the original city, a permanent display of historical and cultural elements, portraits of epoch, an amphitheater and a cafeteria.

Estado do Rio ganha o primeiro sítio arqueológico do país.
IN Jornal do Brasil, published in 08/06/2011
SALME, Flavia. Submersa há 70 anos, cidade histórica do Rio volta à tona.
IN Último Segundo, published in 08/06/2011

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