A City of Literature. Poetry, Calango, Choro, Encounter, Cooperation. “Set in huge mountains, like a brilliant royal crown, Mendes, Mendes, wake up if you sleep, because you are the owner of yourself after all.” (Mendes anthem)
Mendes is a lovely gentle city in Vale do Café, with friendly and surprising people who cultivate encounters, poetry and the literary arts.
Calango, an ancestral cultural tradition, challenging with rhymes in a fun conversation, a kind of improvised poetry, lives here. In the first half of the 20th century, Mendes housed an unparalleled group of writers who worked in newspapers and radio in Rio de Janeiro.
The renowned Fogaça – Francisco Ladeira de Viveiros; Luiz Teixeira Netto writer, journalist and poet; Chico Veiga, who enchanted with his fine daily chronicles on Tupi radio (40s / 50s), Alberto Paiva, Luiz G. Costa correspondent of “O Estado” Newspaper. Othon Moacyr Garcia, author of a landmark book adopted until today in many universities in Brazil: “Communication in Modern Prose” and Sérgio Confort, poet nominated for the Jabuti and Oceanos 2020 awards, continue to highlight Mendes’ writing in the 21st century.
Three mythical female figures, poets, D. Umbelina, Maria Nami and Nely Nepomuceno, rooted the love of poetry in the city. D. Umbelina, without knowing how to read or write, walked with a pen and paper asking those she met to write her poetry for her. The Art of the word has deep roots in Mendes.
As if that were not enough, every Sunday uninterruptedly, for 16 years, you can spend the day in the square of the city center, and listen to Choro. Choro has a peculiar cadence, with profiled, explained notes, and refers to the rhythm of the words spoken in Portuguese.
The harmony of literature and Choro in this city generates cooperation, solidarity, encounter. Surrounded by summer sites and farms, many of its inhabitants work in Rio de Janeiro. The city is loved by those who live there. Porcelain and ceramics are part of the meeting of grandparents and grandchildren, mothers and children, on family weekends and the traditional coffee offered to those arriving. A charming toy hospital retrieves toys for children. The 1st Cooperative of Rio de Janeiro, operating for 91 years, was founded in the city by Marechal Rondon and friends in 1929: “Sociedade Cooperativa de Responsabilidade Limitada”.
Cycling is strong in Mendes. The three-time Brazilian Mountain Bike champion, Robson Ferreira, was born in the city. Cycling pedals happen especially in Cinco Lagos, a charming neighborhood that has streets with names of flowers and fruits. Cyclists try to reach Pedra do Índio, on the edge of the neighborhood with the forest, a local icon.
The beautiful chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with stained glass and frescoes, at Fazenda São José das Paineiras, is worth visiting. The Foyer de Charité, present in 40 countries, has a single unit in Brazil, in Mendes. Numerous spiritual retreats are scheduled during the year, open to those interested.
A city of extraordinary welcome and friendliness!