Mon, Nov 30th 2009, 17:19
Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage City because it is one of the best preserved historic cities in Brazil. Founded in 1537, Olinda was originally the centre of colonial life in the Pernambuco.
Olinda earned UNESCO World Heritage status due to the impressive number of well preserved and grand colonial buildings, sitting harmoniously alongside gardens and an array of beautiful baroque churches.
Olinda was the heart of the Pernambuco captaincy in Portuguese Brazil, prospering as a centre for the sugar cane industry to become one of the richest cities in Brazil. The town was captured by the Dutch in 1630 and held by them for about 25 years. During this time the town was looted and a major upgrade and renewal took place once ownership was restored. During this period most of the now famous Olinda buildings were constructed. The city is noted for its ornate baroque churches, 20 in total, that were built during this era.
Recife, which lies 5 miles away from Olinda, began to overshadow its neighbour during the 1700's and eventually took over as the economic centre of Pernambuco. The modern buildings were erected in Recife rather than Olinda, which has allowed Olinda to retain its olde worlde charm.
These days Olinda is a cultural centre, a haven for local artists, musicians, crafters and dancers. Olinda also attracts a host of tourists curious to visit this UNESCO World Heritage city.