At first sight one might think of a theater, but the building was born to be a public market. It was built over three decades,since the late nineteenth century and the architecture therefore shows an eclectic mix of various styles.
The central pavilion with columns made in cast iron came from Scotland and the entrance reminds us of Italian buildings. "The facade was inspired by the first shopping center in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan," says historian Liciana Gil.
The original blueprints dated as far back as1881 were found two years ago by chance, in a used bookstore in Rio de Janeiro and supplied valuable information to historians. In every market there is much more history than one can think of. The cast iron spiral staircase structures, for instance, are not only beautiful to see - a closer look shows that there are hidden signs, markings of a time.
Moreover, acanthus and oak leaves, lillies are reckoned as European codes which are camouflaged in the semi-circular gate, showing how great the English influence was on the nineteenth-century Manaus; side pavilions for selling meat and fish are embellished with stained glass and iron cast lacelike lattice.
The roof is covered with zinc scale tiles, the same material used on the roof of the newest of the pavilions from 1909, in which turtle meat used to be sold. "Here almost anything was sold: from drugs, to witchcraft stuff, meat, fish, turtle, and tin handcraft" says scholar Alfredo Loureiro, a member of the Center for Mustered Studies.
One hundred and eighty stallholders, some of them working there as long as half a century have started to return after the revamp. Marketer Adelaide Perente sells pink peppercorns, crabwood, all-in-one healing plants.