Since its founding, São Luís has been affectionately nicknamed with different names, including Brazilian Athens. This title is not only pompous, but a tribute to the city full of writers and poets, who immortalize it through their words.

The nickname Brazilian Athens refers to ancient Athens, the cradle of classical Greek civilization and a center of culture, philosophy and knowledge. A comparison that comes to life on every corner, in every colonial tile facade and in every note of music that echoes through the streets of São Luís.

In this place where past and present intertwine in a continuous celebration of culture, knowledge and diversity, visitors have the opportunity to explore monuments that pay homage to great names in literature and art, as well as places that served as inspiration for them. .

Meet some of our notable writers and poets

Maria Firmina dos Reis

The professor from Maranhão is considered the first Brazilian novelist. Born in São Luís, Maria Firmina dos Reis (1822 – 1917) has as her most famous work the novel entitled Úrsula (1859), which criticizes slavery.

Aluísio Azevedo

Author of “O Mulato”, which denounced racism in Maranhão society in 1881, Aluísio de Azevedo was a writer, caricaturist, journalist and diplomat (1857 – 1913). He is a founding member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

Josué Montello

Josué Montello (1917- 2006) is considered one of the great writers of the 20th century in Maranhão, author of a vast work, including “Cais da Sagração” and “Os Tambores de São Luís”.

Nauro Machado 

Considered the owner of an intense and hermetic work, the poet is recognized as one of the most important poets in Brazil in the 20th century.

Bandeira Tribuzi

Born in São Luís, Bandeira Tribuzzi (1927 – 1977) was a journalist, teacher, economist, philosopher, musician and composer. He is the author of the São Luís hymn and is known for having started Modernism in Maranhão with the poetry book ‘Some Existence’. Currently one of the most important bridges in the city is named Bandeira Tribuzzi.

Ferreira Gullar

Poet, playwright, translator and visual arts critic, Ferreira Gullar (1930 – 2016) is the author of works marked by different phases of aesthetic research, from experimentalism and lyricism to cordel poetry. He was one of the founders of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, and is also considered one of the founders of concretism and neoconcretism in Brazil.

Graça Aranha

Considered a pre-modernist author in Brazil, Graça Aranha (1868-1931) was one of the organizers of the 1922 Modern Art Week and one of the founders of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.