Jardim do Valongo undergoes restoration process
With the construction of access ramps and improvements for residents, region areas will become a tourist point once again
The revitalization of the Rio Port Zone is not limited to a widening of streets, construction of tunnels and new transportation routes. One of the region’s most beautiful points, Jardim do Valongo, built in 1906 by then Mayor Pereira Passos as part of the widening of former Valongo Street, today’s Camerino Street, will be delivered to Rio, fully recovered, during the second semester of this year.
Created to be a cliff containment work on the west axis of Morro da Conceição, Jardim, following the engineering style of the time, underwent an urban embellishment process, becoming a place where society at the time would spend their late afternoons. The recovery was carried out following the same construction technique used at the time it was designed, called rocaille, and which consists of reproducing elements of nature, like rocks, waterfalls, trees and trunks, with concrete.
“This is a very specialized restoration, with a chain of knowledge that involves sciences, botany and historical investigation,” explains the undersecretary of Historical Heritage, Washington Fajardo. So, in order to recreate this landscape, iconographic, historical photos were used based on the recognition of these species of plants that could be identified from these photos.
Besides the replanting of various plant species, Jardim will also get back four statues of Greco-Roman divinities, Mercury, Minerva, Ceres and Mars, which were part of the Imperatriz Wharf, built in the 19th Century to receive Empress Teresa Cristina, who was arriving to marry D. Pedro II. The original pieces are at the City Palace today and four replicas will be sent to Jardim do Valongo. The Public Restroom building, one of the first constructed in the city, and the Guard House, are also undergoing renovation.
“When this containment work was built, a public restroom was created; a space where men could relieve themselves. It is a delicate and well-done architectural restoration. For us today, before urinating in the streets, seeing how our grandparents were already concerned about this,” said Fajardo.
The restoration works also include the requalification of accesses to Morro do Valongo, with the recovery of the historical pavement, all built using the technique known as ‘peanut brittle’ and the inclusion of access ramps. A resident at the site since the age of 11, Maria Cristina Peixoto Leite says she is enthusiastic about the works at the site.
“This was an abandoned place, dirty, with no security at all. But after the works began, a lot has changed. The lighting is better, easier access. With the ramps, it is now easier for residents to go up and we have several who come here just to take pictures and enjoy the sights,” she said. “Today, I am proud to live here.”