Telles Arch, or Arco de Teles, is a colonial gateway and quasi time portal to 19th century Rio.
Leading from open Praça Quinze to narrow Travessa do Comércio, the arch is a funnel from modern day Rio to the charm of its old town past. While arches were originally common in Rio, all have either succumbed to decay or have been replaced by modern development. Telles Arch is all that remains of the city’s colonial arches, and the pedestrian alleyway it frames today is lined with bars, restaurants and cafés that make you question if you’re still in Brazil or wandering down European cobbles.
Though the arch itself only requires a couple of minutes for viewing, it’s the way the colonial past is fused with modern city charm.
I have spent here a couple of hours after sunrise just watching the coming and going of people arriving at the city for another day of work. It certainly became one of my favorite places in downtown Rio.