Catete Palace

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Coordinates: 22°55′33.15″S 43°10′34.31″W / 22.9258750°S 43.1761972°W / -22.9258750; -43.1761972

Catete Palace
Palácio do Catete
Museu da República 01.jpg
Former Presidential Palace, now Republic Museum
General information
Status museum
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Rio de Janeiro
Address Rua do Catete, 153
Town or city Rio de Janeiro
Country Brazil
Current tenants Ministry of Culture (Museu da República)
Construction started 1854
Completed 1867
Renovated 1883
Client António Clemente Pinto, Baron of Nova Friburgo
Owner Brazilian government
Technical details
Floor count 3
Design and construction
Architect Carl Friedrich Gustav Waehneldt

The Catete Palace (Portuguese: Palácio do Catete, IPA: [paˈlasju du kaˈtetʃi]) is an urban mansion in Rio de Janeiro's Catete neighborhood. The property stretches from Rua do Catete (Catete Street) to Praia do Flamengo (Flamengo Beach). Construction began in 1858 and ended in 1867. From 1894 to 1960, it was Brazil's presidential palace and the site of Getúlio Vargas' suicide. It now houses the Museu da República (Republic Museum) and a theatre. The Catete underground rail station is adjacent.


Baron and Baroness of Nova Friburgo with a model of the Catete Palace in the background, 19th century.

The building was built as the residence of family of the Portuguese-born Brazilian coffee grower António Clemente Pinto, Baron of Nova Friburgo, in the then capital of the Empire of Brazil. It was called the Palace of Largo Valdetaro and Palace of Nova Friburgo.

With the design of the German architect Carl Friedrich Gustav Waehneldt, dated 1858, the work began with the demolition of the old house at 150 Catete Street. The construction officially ended in 1866, but the finishing works still continued for over a decade.

After the death of the Baron and Baroness, the son, Antônio Clemente Pinto Filho, the Count of São Clemente, sold the property in 1889, shortly before the Proclamation of the Republic of Brazil, for a group of investors, who founded the Companhia Grande Hotel Internacional (Grande Hotel Internacional Company). This development, however, did not succeed in turning the palace into a luxury hotel. Due to the economic crisis at the turn of the 19th century to the 20th century (The Encilhamento), the venture went bankrupt, and their titles acquired by the counselor Francisco de Paula Mayrink, who, five years later, paid off debts with the Bank of Republic of Brazil.

The seat of the executive branch of Brazil was the Itamaraty Palace in Rio de Janeiro. In 1897, President Prudente de Morais became ill and the Vice President Manuel Vitorino took office, which acquired the Catete Palace and there installed the seat of government. Officially, the palace was the seat of the Federal Government from 1897 until 1960 when the capital and the Federal District were transferred to Brasília.

Various historical events happened in the palace halls, such as the death of President Afonso Pena, 1909; the signing of the declaration of war against German Empire in 1917, during the World War I; and hosting the visit of Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, in 1934; the declaration of war against the Axis in the World War II, in 1942; suicide of President Getúlio Vargas in 1954, with a shot in the heart, in his bedroom on the third floor of the palace, among others.


See also[edit]