After the famous Carandiru prison was closed and demolished in 2002, 10 years after the massacre of 111 inmates by police in a space of 30 minutes which is currently a major news story, the area was turned into a large recreational space -Parque da Juventude (Youth Park) . The film Carandiru is also an excellent Brazilian film, which I remember watching in the cinema in London, and shows the story of the notoriously dangerous prison as well, well worth watching before visiting the location in question.
Located right next to Carandiru metro station, it makes it possibly the only large park in Sao Paulo that is easily accessible by train. This is a big park and amazingly well equipped for sports, with a number of tennis courts, football pitches, a huge concrete bowl for skateboarding, basketball courts, all in good condition and usable for free. There is also a large grassy area, and areas with trees, as well as areas of the old prison which have been preserved and are quite fascinating.
It was a nice touch to turn the site of a prison and the location of one of Brazil’s most controversial moments into a park and also a library. Coming from the Carandiru station, the entrance of the park hosts the Sao Paulo library which I didn’t enter but also looks interesting. (Information on the architecture here). The park has also retained some features of the prison, some walls and lookout towers, which means you don’t forget the significance of the sight, but you do get a great sense that something positive has been made out of a really rather terrible situation.
So, not only is there a huge library and an extremely well equipped and spacious park to enjoy, the park is a great spot to see some street art, in particular there are a lot of Cranio and Presto pieces, but also great work by Alex Senna, FéTo (right), Sipros, Primat and many more. If you want a street art packed day then I recommend you visit the MAAU (Museum Aberto de Arte Urbano) which runs from Santana Station to Carandiru station and beyond, and is basically adjoined to the park.
I walked from Santana station, walked along the MAAU (read about that here) and went and discovered Parque de Juventude as well. The park is quite big, and the day I went was extremely hot and sunny, so I still have areas of the park to go back and explore another day.
Check out a selection of my pictures taken from the park, click on an image to open a scroll-able gallery.
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