Paraty seen by Jean-Paul Delfino
Halfway between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, its restless neighbours, Paraty stands as an exception, as a historical rarity, and even as a forgotten element in the race for progress that has overcome Brazil in the early nineteenth century. Founded in 1667, during the gold fever that shook the country as soon as the first gems were extracted from the red soil of the Minas Gerais, Paraty was at first a favourite haunt for pirates and Portuguese sailors who were entrusted with taking back to Lisbon the trunks loaded with gold and diamonds. In those days, Paraty and its galleons, inside the protected bay, was a city where one can imagine vessels unceasingly setting sail and returning loaded with slaves to work in the mines or pirates slashing around with their swords, fighting along the coast Brothers of different nationalities, weighing anchor with holds loaded with gold and gems.
But when Rio de Janeiro, then the capital city of Brazil, decided to use another port and give its preference to Guanabara Bay, Paraty died like the flame of a candle in a north-westerly wind. The inhabitants left the spot, leaving behind them colonial hostels, small palaces mostly influenced by Portuguese architecture, religious buildings such as Santa-Rita Church. And that put an end to the golden age of Paraty, to its legends and to its dreamlike world of precious stones and smugglers.
Until 1950, not a single paved road led to Paraty. The place was left as it was. The baroque buildings seemed to be frozen for eternity and the town could well be nicknamed Sleeping Beauty, just like what happened later to Manaus when the rubber quotation collapsed in the world stock markets.
Nowadays, Paraty has still not aged at all and, through the lapping sound of the waves on the harbour, if you listen carefully you can still hear wonderful stories about galleons and pirates, about mountains of gold coming down the hills covered with thick jungle, diving into the ocean and rising back to the surface to form a chain of paradisiacal islands…
Written by : © Jean-Paul Delfino (This text is subject to copyrights protection in accordance with existing laws)
Our description of Paraty is on this web page : https://terra-nordeste.com/en/destination/paraty-costa-verde-en/
Other texts by Jean-Paul Delfino are available here: Travel Diaries - Jean-Paul Delfino
Jean-Paul Delfino is a French writer and screenwriter so passionate about Brazil that he has taken on the writing of a major novel fresco entitled "Suite brésilienne" which covers three centuries of great Brazilian history.
Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Delfino