Mooca (district of São Paulo)

Mooca (district of São Paulo)
Location in the city of São Paulo
A typical scenery in Mooca: houses first built by laborers in early 1900s are home to many still today.
Country Brazil
State São Paulo
City São Paulo
 - Type Subprefecture
 - Subprefect Rubens Casado
 - Total 7.7 km2 (3 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 - Total 63,133
 - Density 81.99/km2 (212.4/sq mi)
HDI 0.909 –high
Website Subprefecture of Mooca

Mooca (Portuguese pronunciation: [muˈɔka]) from tupi mo-oka, meaning to build houses, is a district in the subprefecture of the same name in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Mooca today is about to reach the mark of 65,000 inhabitants, spread in 7.7 square kilometres (3.0 sq mi). It is also considered one of the fastest growing districts in the city, experiencing over the last years a boom in the construction industry. Mooca's economy consists of small businesses, some large industries and in the near future, big shopping centres as its ongoing economic growth is becoming more attractive to investors.[1]



The plains where Mooca lies were first settled by ancient Native American communities, such as the Tupi-Guarani. São Paulo, known in the 16th century as São Paulo de Piratininga, arose from a Jesuit mission, founded in 1554 to convert indigenous populations, and its history is often confused with that of Mooca. In 1567, Portuguese Bandeirantes, or pathfinders, based in the village of São Paulo de Piratininga moved eastwards in their expeditions and that was probably when the region was first explored. Over the centuries, Mooca became an important rural area, containing a number of farms and cottages, dependent on the work of enslaved African-Brazilians. In the 1890s the area was divided into large plots that were put on sale in order to encourage Mooca's development. The district eventually became an important industrial area as the farms gave way to factories and industries towards the beginning of the 20th century. One of the first working-class sections is Vila Maria Zélia in the northern district of Belém. Many of the industrial installations eventually moved out of the city or closed down (even though a number of them are still active) and, much of the industrial zones became residential.

Italian settlement

Cotonifício Crespi textile industry, sold to Extra Hipermercados supermarket chain.

In the early 1900s, many industries settled in Mooca's quiet plains, an isolated area back then. Because labour at that time was in high demand, many immigrants from Italy, most of them coming from the city of Naples, fled to São Paulo to take up jobs at local industries. Indeed, much of Mooca's development was an outcome of this strong Italian immigrant influence. Thus, by 1910, two out of three of its inhabitants were Italian, making it a stronghold in the Paulistan capital.

Amácio Mazzaropi museum, named after a famous Brazilian comedian born to an Italian father, is a site of interest that preserves some of Mooca's immigration golden age memories. Perhaps the biggest and most important collection on the history of immigration in Brazil can be found at Memorial do Imigrante [2], a government funded museum that offers a very interesting database of immigrant vynil records. Another site of interest that is strongly related to Mooca's Italian roots is Juventus Stadium (cap. 2000), a second-division soccer club stadium.

A great number of the working-class families from Mooca found prosperity and as São Paulo was gradually changing from an industrial city into a business centre, many of those families started their own businesses (such as the Lorenzetti and Matarazzo families). Many of the more affluent families now reside in Tatuapé.

The local Italian community holds traditional religious celebrations and festivities all year round, being the most famous that of San Vito, Our Lady of Casaluce, San Gennaro (patron saint of Naples) and Our Lady Achiropita in the district of Bela Vista. These celebrations take place on the streets, where, aside from the true markets offering typical dishes, handicrafts and wine, stages for dance presentations and live traditional music are set up. [3]

Cultural influences

A large number of Mooca's inhabitants have an Italian background although over the last century, Mooca embraced other communities from other parts of the world and the country. Some representative communities that have contributed to Mooca's ethnic diversity are the Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Croatian, Lithuanian, Syrian, Lebanese and more recently the Bolivian and Peruvian, besides Brazilians migrants from the Northeast. [4]

Urban development

High rises, Alto da Mooca
Residential area, Mooca
Hospital u.c.
Shopping Capital mall
Shopping Mooca project u.c.
Shopping Mooca project u.c.

Mooca's atmosphere has always been that of an industrial suburb. Buildings, homes and warehouses façades preserve traces of the Italian legacy and it is not unusual to find old preserved vilas operárias, narrow cobbled residential streets in big abandoned industries surroundings, where the Italians and other immigrant laborers first settled.

However, this scenery is quickly changing as in the last decades industries have been moving out of São Paulo for it has become increasingly expensive. As a result of this phenomenon, many warehouses were simply abandoned, creating perfect conditions for real estate speculation to turn Mooca into one of the fastest growing districts in Brazil's largest city.

Real estate speculation not only is taking place in residential areas, but also in major business areas all over the district. Office towers have been built recently, mainly along Avenida Paes de Barros and a shopping mall, Shopping Capital, known to be Mooca's first shopping centre, was inaugurated in 2007. BRMalls, a shopping centre management company, is currently carrying out a sustainable shopping mall project. Shopping Mooca [5] will contain as many as 200 stores in 112.000m² and will function as a green area too.

Due to Mooca’s industrial nature, there is a lack of green spaces in the district. The local government holds a tree plantation program through which residents may have trees planted in their sidewalks at no cost. It is quite evident, when visiting some parts of Mooca, that there is a need for green areas and locals have long claimed it. Over the past years, the attempts of the government to increase the amount of green spaces in Mooca, along with the launch of residential condiminiums projects that adopt a “green” concept have indeed changed much of Mooca’s gray landscape.

Mooca is split into four sections (known as bairros), although these are often confused as they are very integrated and locals refer to them simply as Mooca:

Mooca: central area
Hipódromo: northwest, along the railway and Avenida Alcântara Machado, known as Radial Leste
Parque da Mooca: south, along Avenida Paes de Barros
Alto da Mooca: northeast, along Rua Siqueira Bueno stretching to Rua da Mooca


Paes de Barros Avenue


Mooca is served by several bus and trolleybus lines that connect it to the city centre, neighbouring districts (such as Tatuapé, Belém, Brás and Água Rasa) and also other cities within Greater São Paulo area (e.g. São Caetano do Sul). Some of the most important avenues, such as Avenida Paes de Barros, offer express lanes designed for buses only.


São Paulo metro system plays an important role in Mooca's transport network as it counts on three stations, named Brás, Bresser-Mooca and Belém, to service the district and its surrounding areas. This short surface segment of the Line 3-Red of the city's subway system was first built in the 70's along Avenida Alcântara Machado (Radial Leste), an eight-lane highway which is one of the main gateways to eastern parts of São Paulo.

Suburban trains

A western part of Mooca which lies along the border with Brás district, is serviced by CPTM's (Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos) (English: Metropolitan Trains of São Paulo) Line 9-Turquoise from Mooca station and by Line 11-Coral from Brás station, connecting with subway Line 3-Red.


Memorial do Imigrante Museum
Anhembi Morumbi theatre

The three universities, fifteen public schools (which include infant schools, primary schools, high schools and technical high schools), along with a number of private institutions offer a wide range of education options for students in Mooca. Some public schools are funded by the state of São Paulo while others are funded by the municipality of São Paulo. Also, the district offers at least three theatres, a public library (Biblioteca Affonso Taunay), and the well known museum Memorial do Imigrante.[6]


Teatro Arthur Azevedo
Teatro Anhembi Morumbi (Attached to Universidade Anhembi Morumbi)
Espaço Cultural (Attached to English school Cultura Inglesa)

Public Schools

EMEI Almirante Tamandaré (Municipal infant school)
EMEI Marcílio Dias (Municipal infant school)
EMPG Dr. Fábio da Silva Prado (Municipal primary school)
EMEDA Escola Municipal de 1º Grau (Municipal primary school)
EEPG Armando Araújo (State primary school)
EEPG Prof. José Freitas Carusi (State primary school)
EEPG Prof. Pandiá Calógeras (State primary school)
EEPG Prof. Theodoro de Moraes (State primary school)
EEPSG Antônio Firmino de Proença (State high school)
EEPSG MMDC (State high school)
EEPSG Oswaldo Cruz (State high school)
EEPSG Profa. Adelina Marzagão Alcover (State high school)
ETEC Prof. Camargo Aranha (State technical high school)
SENAI Morvan Figueiredo (Technical high school funded by the National Industry Association)
SENAI Felício Lanzara (Technical high school funded by the National Industry Association)

Private Schools

A great number of Mooca's private schools offers both primary and secondary school courses. There are several church-run private institutions, following Mooca's strong catholic traditions. Some of the most important independent schools, including those ran by the Catholic Church, are:

Colégio São Judas Tadeu [7]
Colégio Santa Catarina [8]
Colégio Ouro Preto [9]
Colégio Santa Amélia
Colégio Passo Seguro [10]
Colégio São Paulo (Anglo) [11]
Instituto Pedagógico Maria Montessori
Instituto de Educação Cruz de Malta [12]
Externato Nossa Senhora Menina [13]
Externato São Rafael [14]
Liceu Santa Cruz [15]

São Judas Tadeu University


Few districts in São Paulo contain as many higher education institutions as Mooca. Although there are no public universities, Mooca takes pride in its three private universities campuses:

Universidade São Judas Tadeu [16]
Universidade Anhembi Morumbi [17]
Centro Universitário Capital [18]


Juventus athletics club
Juventus stadium (cap.2000)

If Mooca lacks green spaces on the one hand, it does offer some good sport venues and nature in the 196.000 m² of its sports club, Clube da Mooca, and at the local athletics club, Clube Atlético Juventus, which has a namesake soccer team and a small stadium (Estádio Conde Rodolfo Crespi), as mentioned above. Juventus soccer team was formed in 1924 under the name of Cotonifício Rodolfo Crespi F.C. and was made up of players who worked at Cotonifício Crespi textile industry (see photo above). One year later, a piece of land at Rua Javari next to the industry grounds was given away by Crespi, owner of the textile industry, so there would be a proper sports venue for the community and for the recently formed team to play. Cotonifício Rodolfo Crespi F.C switched its name in 1930, a year after it won São Paulo state league. The name Clube Atlético Juventus was suggested by Crespi. Estádio Conde Rodolfo Crespi is said to have hosted in 1959 a match between Juventus and Santos F.C. in which Pelé scored the most beautiful goal in his career.[19] SESC Belenzinho - currently closed as it is undergoing renovations - is a cultural centre and sports venue and, although it is located just outside the district, is going to be an important site of interest in the area as it will provide Mooca's population with a variety of theatre plays, busy cultural agenda and sports training.

Cuisine and bars

Bar Mooca
Vilarejo São Paulo

Certainly the place with the largest number of pizza places per inhabitant in São Paulo, and perhaps in the entire Latin America, is Mooca. It has at least over 100 pizza shops and a huge number of Italian restaurants. Mooca is a top destination for people from other parts of the city who are after fine Italian food. Some of the most famous pizza places in Mooca include: Pizzaria São Pedro, Pizzaria do Angelo, Babbo Giovanni, Zio Pasquale, Bendita Maria, Emporio 167. Some of the local bars are traditionally famous in São Paulo particularly Elídio Bar, a soccer-themed bar, Vilarejo São Paulo, a square that concentrates a number of restaurants and bars and Bar Mooca [20]. There are no nightclubs in the district, although there used to be some, those that did not close down eventually became venues for events.


Coordinates: 23°33′33″S 46°35′53″W / 23.5591666767°S 46.5980555656°W / -23.5591666767; -46.5980555656

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