This historic structure served as Guanabara Bay’s main coastal defense site during Brazil’s colonial period. Today, some 3,500 travelers make their way through the walls of Fortaleza de Santa Cruz da Barra every month, making it one of Rio’s top attractions.
Visitors will learn how the fort was renamed in 1612 and can see an impressive collection of military artifacts and memorabilia that include massive bronze bullets, battery canons and other weapons of war. A tour of the grounds includes an up-close look at the Chapel of Santa Barbara, watchtowers, dungeon cells (including the site where hangings took place), lighthouse and the famous sundial, which dates back to 1820.
The Fortress of Santa Cruz da Barra is located on the east side of Guanabara Bay in Niteroi. Guided tours take place every hour and last approximately 45 minutes.