• Great place!
  • Nice place!
  • Ok place.

Conception Hill

Female opinion

Going uphill to the top of Morro da Conceicao, you will feel like being in another city. It has nothing to do with the kind of Rio de Janeiro that you used to see spending time in Ipanema or Copacabana. And if you manage to ignore the cars, skillfully parked on narrow, hilly streets of Morro da Conceicao, you might even imagine yourself being back in time, several centuries ago. In a way Morro da Conceicao reminds me of Santa Teresa neighborhood: romantic old houses, colorful graffiti walls and numerous art studios.

Male opinion

Some of the oldest cobble-stone streets of Rio de Janeiro can be found up the hill of Conceição, Saúde. It is an historic neighborhood with old houses, numerous artist home galleries, some nice views, and a small park with hanging gardens. The buildings are in bad condition, but this gives the place an interesting rustic look. You will find Palácio Episcopal - former episcopal residence of the city, Jardins Suspensos do Valongo – an oasis garden with exotic plants and ancient gods' statues, Pedra do Sal – the birthplace of urban Cariocan samba.

Morro da Conceição (Conception Hill) is located in Saúde neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro and is a part of the port area of Rio. The history of Morro da Conceicao dates back to 1590, when a small church dedicated to Our Lady of Conception was built here, passing its name to the whole district. Many of the houses on Morro da Conceicao are example of typical Portuguese architecture of the time, as a result of the Portuguese settlement.

Important historical and cultural highlights of Conception Hill area:

  • Palácio Episcopal (Episcopalian Palace) - former residence of bishops of Rio de Janeiro between 1702 and 1905, is now Cartographic Museum, which preserves some of the oldest maps of the country.
  • Fortaleza da Conceição (Conception Fort) - became one of the most important defense points of the city in 18th century, after the French invasion. Today it houses the Army Geographical Service, forming a group with Palacio Episcopal.
  • Jardim Suspenso do Valongo (Hanging Garden of Valongo) - is a large recreation area built in 1906, with 4 marble statues representing Roman gods: Minerva, Mercury, Ceres and Mars.
  • Pedra do Sal (Salt Rock) - a granite formation at the base of the Morro do Conceicao, often called the "testimony of Africanity", being a symbol of afro-Brazilian traditions, such as samba, capoeira and candomble religion. Pedra do Sal was one of the main docking sites of slave ships in Rio during 17th and 18th centuries. African and Bahian slaves worked on the rock, unloading salt from ships - that's how it got its name.

Morro da Conceicao also offers various views over the port area of the city, as well as over Guanabara bay and Centro neighborhood. From one of the viewpoints you are able to see the largest graffiti of Rio de Janeiro – a huge painting on a side of a building on Rua Coelho e Castro. Painted by Tomaz Viana in 2013, the artwork is 30 meters high and 70 meters wide and is a mix of different images of children, animals and balloons.

Tips for Conception Hill

  • Better to go with a group of people.
  • Pedra do Sal hosts a weekly vibrant samba party on Monday evenings, from 19 until about midnight.

Morro da Conceição, Saúde safety

It is not the safest neighborhood, so take care. The streets are empty, there is no police presence and it has some sketchy youngsters hanging around. Do not bring valuable things with you, nor flash around with your camera when alone. It is better to visit Morro da Conceicao with a bigger group.

Quick facts

Type: neighbourhood
Touristic: no
Getting there: fairly easy
Minimal transport: metro + walk
Difficulty: easy
Cost: free
Other names: Morro da Conceição, Morro da Conceicao, Conception hill
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How to get there

Address: Morro da Conceição

Hood: Saúde

From Ipanema, General Osorio: 
1. Take metro to Carioca station.
2. Walk left on Av. Rio Branco until you reach a big open square (Praça Mauá) with Museum of Tomorrow.
3. Turn left into a small street Travessa do Liceu.
4. Go up the small stairs more or less midway on the street.
5. Now you are on the Conception Hill, explore it.

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