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Obelisk of São Paulo


São Paulo Historical Attractions and Landmarks
Obelisk of São Paulo
Dornicke/Wikimedia Commons

July 9, 2012

Updated on May 23, 2014

One of São Paulo's most easily recognizable monuments and one you're likely to drive by as you explore the Itaim/Vila Nova Conceição/Jardins neighborhoods, the Obelisk at Ibirapuera Park is a mausoleum containing the remains of MMDC (Martins, Miragaia, Dráusio and Camargo) and 713 other fighters in the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932.

Mário Martins de Almeida, Euclides Miragaia, Dráusio Marcondes de Sousa and Antônio Camargo de Andrade died during a rebellion on May 23, 1932. The Revolution started in earnest on July 9.

MMDC are also commemorated in the Steel Book of National Heroes at the Nation's Pantheon in Brasília.

The Revolution, a reaction of São Paulo State elite and middle class with support from the working class against dictator Getúlio Vargas, lasted about three months and left 900 dead in the paulista forces.

The monument was inaugurated on July 9, 1955, one year after the inauguration of Ibirapuera Park and on the anniversary of the start of the Revolution, but construction was only concluded in 1970. Designed by Italian sculptor Galileo Ugo Emendabili in Travertine marble, the monument is inscribed with a poem by Guilherme de Almeida, who also wrote the words by the monument's chapel entrance: "Viveram pouco para morrer bem - Morreram jovens para viver sempre" ("They lived little to die well - They died young to live forever").

Several Obelisk features carry a relation to the numbers in the Revolution's magna data, or most important date. For example, the monument is 72 meters high from base to top (7+2=9); the crypt is 32 meters wide.

On July 9, 2012, SP governor Geraldo Alckmin signed a restoration project for the obelisk. The plan is to open it again to the public, perhaps in 2014. The monument has been closed to the public at large since 2002. Water infiltration is one of the problems to be tackled by the restoration.

A full visitor's program will allow access to treasures such as walls lined with tiles representing religious and historical motifs and the Statue to the Unknown Soldier.

See photos of the Obelisk's interior on Flickr by ARTExplorer.

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