Saint Catherine’s Mount

Top photo: Tadeu Nascimento


Saint Catherine’s Mount marks the foundation of Santos – knowing the exact spot of its foundation is a privilege that few cities in the world enjoy.  This small mount bears the name of the chapel that existed at the foot of this small hill, built in 1532.


In 1591, English pirate Thomas Cavendish sacked the city, destroyed the chapel and threw the statue of Saint Catherine of Alexandria into the sea. After 72 years, while fishing with a net, Jesuit slaves happened to take the statue out of the water by chance.


The first Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital in Brazil was installed next to the chapel in 1543. For years the mount supplied stones for the paving of the roads and extension of the port. 

Mario Gruber

Viewed from afar, the mural looks like an abstract painting. But close up the apparent blotches are in fact stylized faces of various sizes, on each of the  1452 tiles that cover the wall, which is 48 meters long and 4.8 meters high. The 230m² mural by local artist Mário Gruber represents the identification of strangers in the middle of a multitude.

Painted by hand, the pieces in black and white sandstone, honor the writer, dramatist and poet Clay Gama de Carvalho, who became anonymous when the military government confiscated the manuscript for his work ‘American Literature in Exile’. The same art was in an exhibition at the United Nations for the democratization of South Africa.  
Photo: Marcelo Martins