Among the attractions are the exhibition of military equipment and vessels, such as the Museum Ship “Bauru”, and a tour around Guanabara Bay
By First-Lieutenant (RM2-T) Tássia Camila Navarro dos Santos – Brasília, DF
Have you ever thought of taking advantage of the vacation period to get to know a submarine, a fighter plane, and a warship up close? Did you know that it is possible to visit all of these in the same place? The Espaço Cultural da Marinha (ECM), located in the Central Zone of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), brings together several attractions, such as musealized war equipment, like the Navio-Museu “Bauru”, an escort destroyer that took part in World War II.
Managed by the Directorate of Historical Heritage and Documentation of the Navy (DPHDM), this site houses an important part of the Navy’s historical collection. The ECM is part of the Navy’s Cultural Complex, which also includes Ilha Fiscal and a Promenade, attractions that can be visited from the site, as well as the Naval Museum, the Navy Library, and the Navy Archives.
Every year thousands of people visit the ECM’s facilities to experience its history-laden attractions: the “Riachuelo” Submarine-Museum, which has accounted for some 18,000 immersion hours in two decades in active service; the AF-1 “Skyhawk” Fighter Plane, used in the First Gulf War in the 1990s; the “Sea King” Helicopter-Museum, used in search and rescue operations, and anti-submarine warfare exercises; The “Nau dos Descobrimentos”, a replica of a vessel used during the Age of Great Navigations; and the Fighting Cars “Cascavel” and “SK-105”, used by the Marines in missions; and the already mentioned Museum Ship “Bauru”.
According to the DPHDM Visitation Manager, Frigate Captain José Marques da Silva Filho, this type of tourism helps preserve the country’s history. “In visitation, the dissemination of history is a way to keep alive the legacy of the actions performed by the Navy over time. We contribute, therefore, to transmit to the population the need to have an armed force equipped to defend the national heritage, stimulating the development of a maritime and defense mentality in our society,” he points out.
The most popular attractions, according to Frigate Captain Marques, are Ilha Fiscal and the Guanabara Bay Maritime Tour, in which passengers can visit several tourist and historical sites aboard the 112-year-old tugboat “Laurindo Pitta”. “The ECM is an entertainment area whose attractions are military equipment, that is, a segment of military tourism. It attracts visitors with several profiles, among them those who are passionate about the military, those who like history, several researchers, curious people, foreign tourists passing through Rio, and young people and children, in general. The demand from schools has been growing more and more as a pedagogical complement”, he highlights.
Where is it?
With an exhibition area of about 1.1 thousand m², on the Orla Conde waterfront between Largo da Candelária and Praça XV, the ECM was built in 1995, on the pier owned by Companhia de Navegação Lloyd Brasileiro (which acquired that area from the former Docas da Alfândega) and inaugurated on January 20th, 1996.
- In 2022, around 110,000 people visited the Navy’s Cultural Complex, 54,000 of them in the ECM alone. The number exceeds the visitation in 2021 (66,577) and 2020 (56,915), with attractions open with restrictions at the time because of the pandemic.
- The average attendance of the complex, from 2016 to 2022, is approximately 154,000 visitors, with peak visitation in 2016, with more than 277,000 people, and 2019, receiving about 205,000.
Tugboat-Museum “Laurindo Pitta
Built in England, in 1910, by order of the Government of Brazil, the “Laurindo Pitta” is the only remaining Brazilian ship from the First World War, in which it participated in support tasks, in 1918, as part of the Naval Division in War Operations (DNOG), created to participate in the conflict. This seagoing tugboat is 39 meters long, 8 meters wide, 4.5 meters of draft, 514 tons of displacement, and a maximum speed of 11 knots (about 20 km/h). She served as a tugboat for the Navy Arsenal of Rio de Janeiro and the Naval Base of Rio de Janeiro until the 1990s.
With the support of the League of Friends of the Naval Museum, it was restored in 1998, receiving seats for 90 passengers. It was integrated to the Navy Documentation Service, now DPHDM, in October 1999. Converted into a museum ship, one of its compartments was adapted to receive the permanent exhibition “The Navy’s Participation in World War I”. Since then, it has been used for the Maritime Tours around Guanabara Bay.
On the Maritime Tour, the “Laurindo Pitta” passes off the Cobras, Fiscal, and Enxadas Islands. Visitors will learn about the history of each island and its use by the Navy. Other tourist attractions such as the Sugar Loaf and Urca hills, as well as the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC), in the city of Niterói, can also be seen during the trip.
The Espaço Cultural da Marinha is an entertainment and leisure area whose attractions are exposed to the weather, subject to climate and tide variations. In case of rain, for safety reasons, some attractions may be closed to avoid accidents.
“Visiting the ECM is very calm, but some care is needed, especially with the elderly and children. Most of the attractions maintain their construction characteristics and require, to enter and move around inside them, the use of boards, ladders and, in some cases, crouching, as inside the submarine,” explains Frigate Captain José Marques da Silva Filho, Visitation Manager.
The ECM has special services for visitors with special needs and their companions. The opening hours are from 9:30am to 11am, always on Sundays, before the opening to the general public. The visitation for this segment must be booked in advance, is free, is made by a qualified professional, and lasts 1.5 hours. The person responsible for the disabled person must be aware of the limitations of the attractions, because, for this group, visits can only be made on land, without entering the means of transport. To schedule visits for people with disabilities, send an e-mail with the subject “Scheduling exclusive service” to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday through Sunday and holidays: 11am to 5pm, with the last access at 4:30pm.
The Cultural Space of the Navy does not open to the public on the following days:
- Ash Wednesday;
- December 24th and 25th (Christmas);
- December 31 (New Year’s Eve);
- January 1st (New Year’s Eve);
Ticket prices for the ECM:
- Full price: R$ 14,00;
- Half-price ticket: R$ 7,00.
Ticket values for the Maritime Stroll (including visit to the ECM)
- Full price: R$ 42,00;
- Half-fare: R$ 21,00.
Tickets can be purchased through the website of the company Ingresso Com Desconto (ICD). It is necessary to validate the ticket at the ECM box office.
For safety reasons the ECM will be closed in case of heavy rain. For more information about the Navy Cultural Space visit the DPHDM website.
Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***