In my weekly outing to show the gringos how much more there is to Rio than beaches and bundas and to remind the Cariocas how much their city has to offer, I went to the Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura.
The library was built in 1887, and contains over 350,000 volumes of books in Portuguese, including a copy of "Os Lusidias" from 1572. They also have a bunch of books and documents featured from the emperor's court to celebrate the bicentennial of the Portuguese court's arrival in Rio. The library's naturally lit with a spectacular stained glass skylight, and is three stories high. It's the most beautiful library I've ever seen.
Then I wandered into a church down the street which I later found out was Igreja de Sao Francisco, built in 1801, which isn't as spectacular as Candelaria, but had the most exquisitely ornate carvings all over the whole interior that was the most intricate thing I've seen in a church this side of the Atlantic.
I love Centro.