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Where was the palace of the famous Belle Époque character of Rio, Laurinda Santos Lobo, which was a bustling meeting place for intellectuals and artists in the early twentieth century. At present, the spirit of creativity and art goes on.
But, who was Laurinda Santos Lobo? Laurinda was a very famous character in her time, an intellectual, writer, a great patron of the arts and also very elegant, so much so that she was attributed the title of marechala da elegância (marshal of elegance).
Born into a wealthy family of entrepreneurs, niece and heiress of Joaquim Murtinho Nobre, Minister of Finance of the government of Campos Sales, Laurinda lived in the then known as the Mourtinho Nobre Palace, which was built at the beginning of the century and brought together members of Rio's high society, artists, intellectuals and public figures involved in its famous artistic evenings, such as Brazilian composer Heitor Vila Lobos, painter Tarsila do Amaral, writer Anatole France or the famous dancer Isadora Duncan.
Now, this is a recovered space that promotes cultural activities, a space devoted to the production and dissemination of different forms of artistic expression, such as visual arts, performing arts, music, dance and film.
The Ruins Park Cultural Centre is a public park and a cultural centre. With an award-winning design by architects Ernani Freire and Sonia Lopes, it was opened in 1997.
The name comes from the fact that, with the death of Laurinda in July 1946, without heirs, the palace was abandoned and completely ransacked. The house was in a dilapidated state until, half a century later, the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro decided to restore it.
Thus, the building was erected by partly taking advantage of the mansion's ruins and by integrating new parts like steel structures, which create paths and stairs, where you can walk inside the mansion, up high from one level to another until you reach the terrace-gazebo, where you have a gorgeous panoramic view of Guanabara Bay, on the one hand, and the centre of the city, on the other.
The space features a varied cultural programme. Its theatre, exhibition halls, outdoor stage, cafeteria, wide gardens, panoramic terraces and a gazebo with a privileged view of the Centre region, Lapa and all around Guanabara Bay, in addition to the site's historical and cultural value, are well worth your visit.
An important part of the programme is devoted to children, especially on weekends; thus, if you are travelling with children, this is an ideal place to go and see.
We are confident that Laurinda would have loved to know that the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro decided to restore the house and create the Ruins Park, hence turning it again into a meeting place for lovers of culture and art.
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