Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is one of the few and the most significant remaining example of Rio’s civil colonial architecture.


Opened in 1743 as the place of work and residence of the governors of the captaincies of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, the building also housed the Court of Appeal and the headquarters of Posts and Telegraphs. In 1763 the place became the political and administrative seat of colonial Brazil (Royal Palace) and in 1822 of the imperial Brazil (Imperial Palace), losing this function only in 1889 with the proclamation of the Republic.


After restoration work in 1985, the Imperial Palace recovered its architectural features from the early nineteenth century. Structural and compositional elements visible in its facades refer to the style employed in Portugal at that time. Among these elements stand out the masonry corners (corners in stone) and the rhythmic sequence of openings (single windows on the ground floor and balconies at the upper floor level) marked by curved lintels. The relative uniformity of the exterior of the building is however not reflected on its inside. A sequence of rooms is developed around two inner courtyards and the most noble wings are the ones facing the Bay and the Square.


Currently, the Palace Imperial houses a cultural center with temporary exhibition spaces and the Paulo Santos library, with its specialized collection in history of art, architecture and urbanism and in Rio de Janeiro.


José Fernandes Pinto Alpoim

Project Birth Year/Construction Year

Meados do século XVIII / 1743 (Inauguração)


Praça XV de Novembro n°48, Centro

Info & Details



Institucional | Cultural




+55(21) 2215 2622
+55(21) 2215 2093
Visit: Tuesday-Sunday 12am-6pm

What you cannot miss

Archers' Room, Inner Courtyards

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Imperial Palace
José Fernandes Pinto Alpoim
Centro Meados do século XVIII

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