International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Brazil

Brazilian society and culture are marked by complexity, diversity, and expressiveness. With a history of colonialism and resistance to it, cultural dynamics as diverse as dialogue, mix, syncretism, conflict, endurance, are fundamental aspects for understanding the richness and the challenges facing the protection and promotion of culture and memory in Brazil. Culture is considered a major asset to face and confront social inequality, promote sustainable development and through which Brazil can contribute to the international community with innovative approaches regarding heritage protection.

Brazil has been a pioneer on the debates and institutionalization of intangible cultural heritage, fomented by a necessity to properly value, promote and protect the richness and diversity of its forms of expression, notably in music, dance, celebrations, festivals, culinary, handcraft. Brazil also stands out for the historical cities inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, such as Ouro Preto (1980), Salvador de Bahia (1985), and Diamantina (1999).

More recently, in 2012, the City of Rio de Janeiro was the first site ever declared World Heritage in the category of Cultural Landscape, a recognition that represents an advancement in the comprehension of heritage, with an emphasis over the relation between environment and living culture, with its exceptional urban setting encompassing key natural elements that have shaped and inspired the development of the city. In 2017, the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site was included on the World Heritage List, as the most significant remains of a landing point of enslaved Africans in the Americas, carrying, therefore, enormous importance as a sensitive site of memory to Brazil and humanity.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

IPHAN (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional - Historic and Artistic National Heritage Institute) was created in 1937, and since then it has been the federal institution directly responsible for heritage conservation, protection, safeguarding and promotion in Brazil. It has shared competencies in this matter with the other levels of public administration, namely states and municipalities.

Also, IPHAN has a decentralized structure, spread all over the national territory, with 27 superintendencies (one in each federal unit), 5 special centers and 28 technical offices. The earliest legal basis for the protection of national cultural heritage was the Decree-Law n. 25, approved in the same year of IPHAN’s creation, 1937, and it remains the basis of the national system of heritage protection.

Decree-Law 25 establishes the juridical and administrative instrument called “tombamento”, designed to protect tangible cultural heritage. In order to be protected, a property goes through an administrative process, which includes the analysis of its exceptional value regarding its binding to memorable historic events, as well as its meaningful archaeological, bibliographic, ethnological or artistic attributes. Property become recognized as national cultural heritage once it is included in one of the four “Livros do Tombo” (Books of Registry), created by Decree-Law 25, those of Archaeology, Ethnography and Landscape, of History, of Fine Arts and of Applied Arts. After being recognized and registered as national cultural heritage, the property enters a system of protection that includes restrictions and conditions of usage, renovation, occupation, transportation, alienation, promotion, etc.

IPHAN is accountable for the supervision and application of the duties derived from the Decree-Law, and all the cultural heritage legal framework that has evolved from it since 1937. Brazilian Constitution of 1988 recognizes a broader meaning of cultural heritage, giving special attention to the intangible dimension, so as defined by article 216: “Brazilian cultural heritage are properties, of tangible and intangible nature, taken individually or in association, that bear references to the identity, action, memory of the many different constitutive groups of Brazilian society”. The 1988 Chart sets the basis for the development of a national framework for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, which came into force in 2000, by the Decree n. 3551, that institutes the Registry of Cultural Assets of Intangible Nature that are part of the Brazilian cultural heritage and establishes The National Program for Intangible Heritage. The pioneering action of Brazil in this matter has been a great impulse to the approval of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, that applies to representations, expressions, knowledge, skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.

International cultural conventions are a fundamental part of Brazilian’s legal framework on cultural heritage protection, remarkably the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation (Summary)

  • Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil (1988)
  • Decree-Law n. 25/1937 - Concerning the protection of the national historical and artistic heritage
  • Law n. 3.924/1961 - Concerning archaeological and prehistorical sites
  • Decree n. 3.551/2000 - Institutes the Registry of Cultural Assets of Intangible Nature that are part of the Brazilian cultural heritage, establishes The National Program for Intangible Heritage
  • Law n. 11.483/2007 - On the revitalization of the railway transport heritage

Adhesion to ICCROM

Brazil is a Member State of ICCROM since 21/08/1964


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 1967-1969: M. Soeiro
  • 1984-1990: Augusto C. Telles da Silva
  • 2008-2015: Luiz Antonio Cruz Souza

ICCROM Staff since 1959: 1

Involvement of Brazilian Nationals

Activities in/with Brazil since 2002

Activities details

Activities details

  • 2002 - 1 Course(s), 6 Mission(s), 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2003 - 1 Course(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2004 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2005 - 1 Course(s), 4 Mission(s), 4 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2006 - 2 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2007 - 1 Course(s), 4 Mission(s), 10 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2008 - 3 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2009 - 2 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2012 - 2 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2013 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2014 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2017 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2018 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2020 - 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2022 - 1 Course(s), 3 Partnership(s)

External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions

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