House of the Eleven Windows

House of the Eleven Windows

Belém, Pará, Brazil

Equipment and Infrastructures

This is the name by which the building of the former Royal Hospital (later the Military Hospital) is known in Belém do Pará. Located in the Cidade Velha (Old City), next to the Fort of Presépio, it has a long façade with eleven windows facing the Largo da Sé. The rear façade, displaying verandas with porticos in the seven openings on each of the two floors, overlooks the River Guamá. The building is now surrounded by a landscaped area and houses a museum. It is included in the monumental group of buildings known as “Feliz Lusitânia” and was recently restored to its original design. The later neo-classical additions were removed during this work, and several buildings located in the vicinity were demolished. The need for the building of a hospital, which became more urgent with the increase in population after the arrival of the Boundary Commission and its accompanying military force in 1753, is well documented in the letters exchanged between the various governors and the court from 1756 onwards. Several projects, each commissioned from António José Landi, followed on from one another. These ranged from the adaptation of the Capuchin Convent of Saint Bonaventure inhabited by friars from the Province of Conceição (later converted into an arsenal) to the construction of an entirely new building beside the Convent of Mount Carmel. The new hospital was eventually installed in a sobrado that Domingos da Costa Bacelar, a wealthy owner in Pará, was building in the city and had not finished for fear that it would be requisitioned by the State government. The adaptation was completed and the new hospital opened on 25th March, 1769, this being the date of the letter that the governor Ataíde Teive sent to the court, to which he attached the drawings signed by the Italian artist.

Isabel Mayer Godinho Mendonça