Praça Pedro Ramos
Bananal’s main square is the charming, tree-shaded Praça Pedro Ramos. Perched upon the square, the early 19th-century Igreja de Matriz (tel. 12/3116-5153, 7–11 a.m. and 1–5 p.m. Wed.–Sun.) is simple, but quite lovely. Nearby, the Pharmácia Popular (Rua Manuel de Aguiar 156, tel. 12/3116-1218) lays claim to being Brazil’s oldest pharmacy still in operation. Inside, little has changed since it was inaugurated in 1830 by a French chemist. The polished pine shelves and cabinets are stuffed with wonderful old porcelain and glass vials containing bromides, remedies, powdered blood, and morphine.
Jarringly out of place is the European-style Estaçao de Estrada de Ferro (Praça Dona Domiciana), an abandoned train station that now houses the municipal library. Built in 1889, the mustard-hued steel plates covering the exterior were manufactured in Belgium according to specific instructions given by Bananal’s coffee barons. Beside the station is a mildly rusting steam train from the same era.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition