How can a World Heritage city develop within the periphery of a Brazilian metropolis? This is the challenge for Olinda, near Recife. It is one of the first cities in Brazil, founded in 1535, and contains large historic monuments, such as convents. The location of Olinda on a hill next to the Atlantic Ocean, makes up a beautiful townscape, in particular seen from nearby Recife. No major historic city in Brazil offers such an extended landscape within the city itself. Olinda is an independent municipality with almost 370,000 inhabitants. The municipality has the characteristics of the typical periphery, with poverty, unemployment, lacking urban facilities and a precarious infrastructure. This is echoed in the historic centre, which suffers from deterioration, invasions of the green space, heavy traffic and a poorly developed tourist infrastructure. Still the centre makes up the image and pride of the city. The question is how the historic centre can contribute to revitalize Olinda and its economy.
Olinda was the first major Portuguese urban nucleus in the new lands of America. It was built to promote trade and to generate wealth, serving the aims of the Portuguese occupation of the New World. Mostly thanks to the production of sugar in the engenhos (sugar mills) of Pernambuco, Olinda became one of the most important trading centres of the Brazilian colony, rivalling the Portuguese Court in the late 16th century in luxury and ostentation, and raising the interest of other Europeans. This interest was such that in 1630, the Dutch West Indies Company conquered Olinda and dominated a good part of the Brazilian Northeast, until 1654.
Olinda was also the scene of historic events which were fundamental to the formation of the Brazilian nationality. Nevertheless, in 1827, the city lost forever its power struggle with Recife and ceased to be the capital of Pernambuco Province. Still, Olinda continued to be a cradle for the arts and culture. The cultural roots of the city blossomed through the religious processions, the liturgical manifestations, the Carnival parades, the folkloric expressions and the creations of its artists and popular handicraft makers, both native to the city and coming from outside – all of which contributed to further strengthening its tourist potential.
Olinda's historical centre has the largest concentration of the city's urban cultural heritage. There can be seen the original urban nucleus of the city, the records of which can be found in the citations of the 1537 Portuguese Regal Regulations and in 16th and 17th century maps. It consisted of buildings and green areas of an outstanding architectural, historical, archaeological, ethnographic, aesthetic and socio-cultural value. Its 16th century monuments, along with its architectural and urban setting, which bear witness to its 471 years of age, give Olinda the characteristics of a city which is alive and in a continuous evolutionary process. The historical site of Olinda covers the hills and the low areas adjacent to the sea, where the first settlements were established and where the monuments, the centuriesold houses and the narrow, steep and sinuous streets are to be found. Olinda is the most important tourist and cultural attraction of the Brazilian Northeast. Predominantly residential, it also has tourist shops and small-scale services, as well as cultural and leisure activities consistent with its identity as a historical urban centre.
In 1982, the Historical Site of Olinda was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, which raised national and international interest in our city. This has contributed to improving its opportunities and economic development, but most of all, to publicizing the immensely rich, diversified and creative cultural production of its inhabitants, revealing Olinda's hospitable and determined character, historically forged through the encounter and intermingling of peoples from the “four corners” of the world and in the libertarian struggles that occurred here.
Since it is one of the most diffused forms of degradation of materials in ancient buildings, interest in biodeterioration is growing. One of the reasons for this may be that in addition to its esthetical impact, many experts see biodeterioration as the first step to even more severe forms of technical degradation.
In this contribution, first the most common forms of degradation of materials in monuments are described. Special attention is paid to biodeterioration and favourable conditions leading to it. The situation of monuments in Olinda (Brazil), which are suffering from defacement due to biological growth is described. Finally an approach to dealing with biological growth is given.
Municipal authorities in the state of Pernambuco of Brazil are having serious problems due to coastal erosion. A number of artificial reefs have been built in the Ocean in front of the coast of Pernambuco and in front of Olinda as well. For a certain part of this coast, section 2, opposite Praça do Carmo, forte São Francisco and Farol de Olinda this paper shows how this area can be used for leisure. The idea behind this approach is to attrack tourists and businessmen for a longer stay in Olinda and to offer them more than the historic scene of Olinda. The paper shows further the actions to be taken such as the extension of the reef till the shore, thus forming a lagoon with a guaranteed healthy swimming water conditions, but also how the infrastructure has to be changed necessary for the erection of new hotels fulfilling a performance that fits to the historic city of Olinda.
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