The city was founded June 19, 1856, by farmers coming from the southeast of São Paulo State in search of good climate and soil for coffee growing. The city was laid by a stream called Black Creek, and was named after it. Eventually the farmers’ choice revealed itself as very adequate and the fertile soil of the Ribeirão Preto region allowed the highest crop productivity in Brazil.
The rapid development of the coffee cultivation brought wealth and progress to the city, which by the 1880s had become the largest coffee producer in the world. Coffee, the “green gold” as it was called, was responsible for a kind of “gold rush” in the region, which attracted workers and adventurous people from several parts of the world. This movement was helped by the new Mogiana Railway, which linked Ribeirão Preto to São Paulo and to the port city of Santos, and by the abolition of slavery in Brazil, in 1888. The end of slavery created a strong demand for labor and the “coffee barons”, as the coffee farmers were called, stimulated European immigration - mostly from Italy but also from Portugal, Spain and Germany - to Ribeirão Preto. Later, after the stock market crash of 1929, several of these immigrants bought the farms from their indebted former employers. Ribeirão Preto underwent rapid growth during the 1980s and 90s due to a sugarcane boom, and now with a population of over 600,000 and a total metropolitan area of 1.4 million, it has become a lively and fun-loving city.
Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian (Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião), Praça das Bandeiras, ☎ (16) 3625-0007, .
The "Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian", rather than a religious temple, is an important artistic monument, located in the central area of the city of Ribeirão Preto.
The history of this temple began in the nineteenth century, from the donation of an asset by some farmers who inhabited these lands, with the goal of raising a chapel in honor of St. Sebastian, in the Palms neighborhood. The story reveals the tenacity of priests and bishops who, over the years, engaged in construction and beautification.
A second temple, broader, was built in the "15th November Square" and later demolished to make way for an urban redevelopment city. The third temple, which is the current cathedral was built in the early twentieth century in the Gothic Revival architectural style, widely used in Brazil for religious buildings of this period.
The cathedral exposes the set of wall paintings and canvases depicting the life of St. Sebastian, the patron saint of the city. The painter Benedicto Calixto de Jesus took six years (1916-1922) to complete the order received from Bishop José Alberto Gonçalves, who had been his student at the Episcopal Seminary of São Paulo.
Pedro II Theater (Theatro Pedro II), Rua Álvares Cabral, 370, ☎ (16) 3977-8111, . Monday to Friday, from 9am to 11am and 15pm to 17pm.
In the 20s Ribeirão Preto experienced the economic boom. The largest coffee production gave the city an air of Eldorado. At that time, exactly in 1928, the president of the "Brasserie Paulista Company", John Meira Jr., began the construction of a large opera house. The project was inspired by European designs.
The crack of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929 and the global economic crisis reflected in the construction of the theater. Several standards of workmanship have changed. Even so, the theater emerged as a symbol of power of the coffee company. On October 8, 1930 the "Pedro II Theater" opened with the presentation of the movie "The Love Parade".
The renovation, restoration and modernization transformed the "Pedro II Theater" ideal for symphonic concerts, concerts of popular and classical music, plays, performances by dance companies, performances of all kinds and, as its original purpose, great performances opera.
This opera house is the second largest (of available places) in Brazil and it is home to the "Ribeirão Preto Symphony Orchestra", one of the oldest in the country.
Seven Chapels Sanctuary (Santuário das Sete Capelas), Morro do São Bento, .
Was designed by the Benedictine monks (each dedicated to a patron saint) and the construction lasted for almost ten years. The first chapel of "Our Lady of Grace", was built in 1948, followed by "St. Jude" in 1951. The chapels of "Our Lady of the Apparition" and "Saint Therese" were built later in 1954 and the chapel of "St. George", in 1955, ended the construction of the sanctuary along with those of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" and "Chapel of Penance." The chapels are arranged in a semicircle and all are facing the center. Importantly, the chapels were built in a quarry excavation, whereupon the sanctuary garnished around the perimeter of rock.
The "Sanctuary of the Seven Chapels" is located in the "Morro do São Bento", next to the monastery which gave its name to the hill, and is the basis of the "Cultural Complex", which is formed by the "House of Culture", "Theatre Municipal "," Christ the Redeemer "," Arena Theatre "and" Shrine of the Seven Chapels ". The "Cultural Complex" also houses walkways, plazas, gazebo, "Home of Amateur Radio", "Service of Roads Communication São Bento", "São Bento Monastery" and "Botanical Garden".
Coffee Museum (Museu do Café), Av. do Café, ☎ (16) 3633 1986 , . Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 16:30pm/Saturday, from 13pm to 16:30pm/Sunday, from 9am to 16:30pm. edit
Historic Museum (Museu Histórico), (Av. do Café), ☎ (16) 3633-1986 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 16:30pm/Saturday, from 12:30pm to 16:30pm/Sunday, from 9am to 16:30pm. edit
Institute Figueiredo Ferraz (Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz), (Rua Maestro Ignácio Stábile, 200), ☎ (16) 3623-2261, . Tuesday to Saturday, from 14pm to 18pm. edit
Art Museum of Ribeirão Preto (Museu de Arte de Ribeirão Preto), (Rua Barão do Amazonas, 323), ☎ (16) 3635-2421 (email@example.com), . Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 18pm/Saturday and Sunday, from 12pm to 18pm. edit
An important moment for the city occurred in 1911 with the opening of its first factory, the Antarctica Brewery Company. It was Antarctica which built the Pedro II Theatre, and its new factory led to the opening of several beer houses in the city. One of them, named Pinguim (penguin in Portuguese, after the Antarctica logo), became particularly famous and made Ribeirão Preto nationally renowned for the quality of its draft beer (chope or chopp). Many people say that Pinguim has the best draft beer in Brazil, and it has become so important that it is now a symbol of the city; people say that coming to Ribeirão Preto and not visiting Pinguim is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. Many small "alambiques" exist in the region, each producing its own unique pinga, better known as cachaça. These pingas are often aged and are available in many flavors, while still maintaining their flair. Pinguim is not the only good beer house in town either — Ribeirão Preto has a hot climate, which leads people to go out in the evening to chat and enjoy cold draft beers in bars, so the city is teeming with bars, from the simple botequins or botecos that one can find on almost every corner, to the most sophisticated pub style bars, which rival their counterparts in São Paulo and Rio.
Cervejarium, Av. Independência, 3242, ☎ (16) 3911 4949, . This bar is run by Cervejaria Colorado, one of the first microbreweries in Brazil (The brewery is on Rua Minas.) In addition to the four varieties produced by Colorado, they offer around 150 other brews from around the world, in addition to some decent bar food.edit
Pinguim 1 and 2, Rua Gal Osório, 408 and 389 (Praça XV de Novembro), ☎ (16) 3625-0519 and 3610-8386. These two beer houses are the classic places to enjoy the local chope. Another two locations are also open at Santa Úrsula shopping center and Ribeirão Shopping.edit