Sunday, August 19, 2012

Portuguese Language Museum

Museu da Língua Portuguesa [Portuguese Language Museum] is  one of my favorite places in São Paulo. I’ve gone there several times – in general with friends to present it to them – and I always see something new, a detail, an angle, a word, beyond the exhibitions on the first floor that change from time to time. In 2007 it hosted a really beautiful exhibition on Clarice Lispector – one of my favorite Brazilian writers, maybe my favorite one. I remember there were some ‘furniture’ with drawers that could be open (sometimes you needed a ladder to reach these drawers) and then you could see hand-written texts or personal letters. The last exhibition I saw there was Oswald de Andrade’s – comparing to other exhibitions it was not so good.

Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese poet), temporary exhibition, 2010

The museum was inaugurated in March of 2006 and is placed in the building of Luz [Subway/Train] Station, built in 1867, remodeled in 1901 and restored along the last century. It presents a British architecture of the beginning of the 20th century, so the similarity between its clock tower and the Clock Tower [which people call ‘Big Ben’] in London is not a coincidence. As the subway/train station still works, the best way to get to Museu da Língua Portuguesa using public transportation is taking the subway train to Estação da Luz (Luz Station – blue line).

Luz Train Station

As you leave the elevator on the second floor (the first one are dedicated to temporary exhibitions), you can see and hear projections of people speaking about Brazilian culture in Portuguese – these images are projected along a 106-meter [348-feet] screen on the wall. On this floor you can also play with words in Beco das Palavras [Words Alley] – if you and other players are able to join syllables projected on a table and form a word you can read/hear its meaning and curiosities; there are several syllables ‘swimming’ on the table. Another great thing to see is an area where you can hear different accents spoken in Brazil and in other Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique.

Entrance of the 2nd floor 

Beco das Palavras [Words Alley], 2nd floor

On the third floor, the most amazing experience of the museum: Praça da Língua [Language Square], where famous artists read Brazilian and Portuguese poems and small texts while words, sounds and images related to the text being read are projected on the ceiling and walls – as the room is dark, it seems you’re looking at a wonderful night sky full of shining stars-words. At the end of the projection these poems and texts can be seen/read on the floor. Even if you don’t speak Portuguese this is an amazing experience.

Praça da Língua [Language Square]

We can only live near another one,
and know another person without fearing hate,
if we have love.

Any love is already a
little of health,
a rest in the crazyness.

~João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (1908-1967)

The museum is in a central area of São Paulo and other interesting nearby places to visit are: Pinacoteca (Art Museum in front of the Portuguese Language Museum) and Estação Pinacoteca (Art Museum Station). Next to Pinacoteca there’s a garden/park with sculptures but nowadays there are prostitutes working there.

Tip: the central area is not the safest place of the city, so avoid carrying great amounts of cash, credit cards, jewelry and expensive belongings.


Museu da Língua Portuguesa
Praça da Luz, Centro
São Paulo,SP - Brasil

Opening Hours
Ticket office: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed: On Mondays throughout the year (including holidays); January 1st; Carnival Tuesday; December 24th, 25th and December 31st.

Ticket Sales/Admissions

Payment can be made only in cash.
Full price: R$ 6,00 (around US$ 3)
Half-price: R$ 3,00 (around US$ 1.50)
On Saturdays admissions are free.

1 comment:

  1. I was outside the Luz station and forgot to enter. Maybe next time in SP.