Lat: -29.905123003513000, Long: -51.758929000236000
General Câmara, Santo Amaro
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Historical Background and Urbanism
Santo Amaro is part of a series of 18th‐century settlements that were one of the first components of the colonisation of the southern part of Brazil. It was a river-based settlement that was marked by a sizeable presence of military engineers, a characteristic that played a leading role in the history of the state of Rio Grande do Sul through the establishment of villages and the use of rivers to penetrate further inland. As is the case with the churches of these places, little is known about those who designed the urban layouts, as the original documents have not yet been found. The town of Santo Amaro, in the municipality of General Câmara, stands on the River Jacuí, on a high, flat elevation. Food and ammunition stores were originally set up there in order to provide logistical support for the Portuguese on their way to the missions. Some Azorean couples were already living there in 1755, as can be seen in the records of the parish of Viamão, the ecclesiastic jurisdiction to which it belonged. Its urban layout, which is thought to be the original one, was based on a royal order of 1747, in accordance with a plan made by the military engineers for the towns that would receive Azorean couples. It has a large rectangular square, with the parish church standing in one of the side streets. The church opens onto the square as if it were the churchyard. On the other sides of the square stand semi-detached and terraced houses that are very similar to ones that were designed for the village of Taquari. The port, which was very busy in the past, stood on the river bank in the lower part of the town. The urban fabric, composed of thirteen buildings, the square and the parish church, has been classified as Brazilian national heritage since 1998. Some houses of the complex and the parish church have already been restored.