Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Royal Portuguese Reading Room)
This elegant building, Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, is home to the largest and most valuable Portuguese literature collection outside of Portugal. Constructed between 1880 and 1887, it holds more than 350,000 volumes, bringing together rare books from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Its incredible architectural beauty and its rich collection transport the visitor back to the 19th century. The reading room was built in a ‘neomanuelino’ style that evokes the exuberant Gothic Renaissance style from the Portuguese Discovery period. The façade, inspired by the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, was carved in limestone in Lisbon and brought to Rio by ship. The statues and medallions sculptured in the entrance portray distinguished Portuguese men, including Pedro Álvares Cabral, Luís de Camões and Vasco da Gama, as the eternal guardians of human knowledge and discovery.