Photo by Els Slots.

Ver-o-Peso is part of the Tentative list of Brazil in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Ver-o-Peso is an open air market in Belém, where goods are traded from the surrounding Amazonian communities. It has existed since the 17th century when a tax collection station was established here. Products are delivered by boat. A gothic structure at the quay houses the Fish Market.

Map of Ver-o-Peso

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Els Slots

The Netherlands - 01-Dec-22 -

Ver-o-Peso (T) by Els Slots

Ver-o-Peso is the reason you’d want to come all the way to Belém. It’s the sprawling regional market that has been held at the same riverside location for over 300 years. You might have seen it in one of the more memorable episodes of ‘No Reservations’ by Anthony Bourdain – somehow a hot and sweaty atmosphere always comes across well in that show.

I walked there from the city center in the early morning and wandered around on my own for an hour or so. The area didn’t feel unsafe and there also is some visible police presence. The ‘complex’ consists of a number of specialized markets; I visited them in the following order:

  • Semi-covered market stalls: here they sell mainly vegetables and fruits, including local favourites such as the yellow tucupi sauce made out of the root of manioc, and tapioca flour. Intriguing small bottles hold medicinal herbs and perfumes made from native plants.
  • The Iron Market a.k.a. the Fish Market, it is the iconic neogothic structure with its four towers; inside only fish is sold, and here I saw the gigantic pirarucu, that had been jumping up and down in front of my cabin in Mamiraua, dead on the counter.
  • Directly behind it are the docks, where the fishes are unloaded from boats and also are sold fresh directly on the streets.
  • The Clock Square has an iron-cast clock tower from England and a row of colourful colonial buildings.
  • The Açaí Fair (pictured): this one is in the open air, merchants sell açaí berries from wicker baskets; they are mainly used by the ubiquituos local açaí juice shops and restaurants.
  • Turning back again, the Solar da Beira space: an impressive neoclassical building but with not much inside except from some handicraft sellers, and
  • The Mercado Municipal a.k.a. the Meat Market: its modest entrance is across the street from Solar da Beira, but inside it has a wonderful Art Nouveau design with iron-cast stairs and cubicles made just right for the butchering and sale of meat.

I think I managed to see the main Amazon specialties on sale here well, even without a guide. However, for the real vibe I may have arrived a bit too late. I had read that the best hours are between 7 and 10 a.m., and I was there at 7.30. However, the action from the boats was long done and workers were already busy spraying the docks clean. I knew that the Açaí Fair starts particularly early (around 5 a.m.), but I guess it is about the same for all other fresh products arriving by boat such as the fish.

Read more from Els Slots here.

Michael Novins

United States - 08-Sep-18 -

Ver-o-Peso (T) by Michael Novins

In August 2018, I visited Belém, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pará.  I stayed in the city center, a short walk to the Ver-o-peso market, where enormous freshwater fish from the Amazon are sold. In the outdoor areas surrounding the gothic fish market, shopkeepers offer açaí berries, fruits and vegetables, and Brazil nuts, and at least one resplendent vendor was peddling love potions and get-rich-quick elixirs.


Brazil - 11-Mar-18 -

Ver-o-Peso (T) by Rafabram

Ver-o-Peso is a market complex, and it's the major tourist attraction of Belém, a city in North region of Brazil. It is located in the historic centre of the city (Campina district), on the banks of Guajará bay, so it's very easy to find. I visited this site in january 2018. 

For me the most important when going to Ver-o-Peso is to understand it is a mix of open air spaces and buildings, like a small district. I don't know which exactly is the proposed heritage area for this tentative site, but the protected area by the Brazilian Institute of Heritage (IPHAN) comprises Boulevard Castilhos França, the dock, the Fish Market (also known as Iron Market), the Municipal Market (also known as Meat Market), the Açaí market, the Clock Square, the Dom Pedro II Square, and Ladeira do Castelo street.

It's a big area, and I didn't visit the Dom Pedro II square, and the açaí market, an open air space for selling only a very popular local fruit named açaí. The major fair area is along Boulevard Castilhos França, in an open space with a tensile fabric roof, and there you can find things like fruits, spices, sauces, general food, some small animals alive, essences and natural medicines. The diversity of products there is impressive. I have to say the fabric roof is not very appealing, and I think they could find a better solution for protecting the area. I don't know how old this structure is, but it seems new, just dirty.  In the middle of this fair, you can see the Solar da Beira, a nice and colorful colonial building but with a poor state of conservation. Now it has no use, you can just use the bathrooms there.  

In the end of Boulevard Castilhos França, by the side of the dock, stands the Fish Market, the best well know building of Ver-o-Peso. It's a metallic structure, built in 1901. It sells fish, so don´t expect a good smell inside. Go there early in the morning if you have any interest in checking the local kind of fishes. For me the nicest place was the Municipal Market, in front of Solar da Beira, the other side of the Boulevard. It's a big colonial building of XIX century, with a courtyard where was built iron pavilions, in 1908. They have a delicate decorative iron work, unexpected for a place that sells meat. The Clock Square, or Siqueira Campos Square, is near the dock, but it has no open air fair, so I don´t understand much why it's a part of Ver-o-Peso. It's a nice square, with a colorful row of colonial buildings surrounding it, but I didn't feel it's a very safe place.  

My general impression is that Ver-o-Peso, despite being the major attraction of the city, isn't a very touristic place. I saw a lot of people there, but local people, in their everyday life. I was happy to see there's no gentrification of the area, but it needs a better conservation. Also the whole place seems to be not very safe, as I was warned by one of the sellers of the open air fair to keep my camera in my bag. But I did take some pics and I had no problems there. About the value of the site as WHS, it makes more sense to me as a landscape, and it´s interesting to see, in the nomination file, that there's no mention of historical or artistic importance of specific buildings in the justification. The main focus of the nomination is the cultural importance of the fairs, the trade of Amazon products and the relation with the river, what I think it's very peculiar there, but I can't see how the squares, for example, are related to it, so I have a concern with the possible proposed heritage area. The places along the bay and the Boulevard Castilhos França seem to have much more value, as they are a more understandable complex, with a stronger relation with the fair purpose.                




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Human activity - Transport and Trade
2014 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Ver-o-Peso

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