The Hotel Catharina Paraguaçu, is installed in an ancient residence, known as” Palacete dos Gonzaga”- which dates back to the beginning of the XIX century. In 1990, under the dedicated direction of the well known architect and landscapist Arilda Cardoso Souza, began the restoration of this property. The reform was concluded in 1993, when the Hotel was inaugurated.
The name Catharina Paraguaçu dates back to the history of the colonization of Bahia, during the XVI century. Around 1510 Diogo Alvares “ Caramuru”, knight of the Royal House of Portugal, having survived a shipwreck, was discovered by the Indians on the coral reefs of the Rio Vermelho beach. He was found by the Indians Tupinambás, nude and covered with seaweed resembling an eel 'caramuru', typical of these rocky shores. During many years, Caramuru lived with the Tupinambas and met the lovely Indian maiden Paraguacu. She was a young woman of strong personality and became a respected leader of her people.
Accompanied by Paraguacu, Caramuru decides to go to France in 1526. There she was baptized with the name of Catharina of Brazil and then marries Diogo Alvares during a catholic ceremony assuming the name of Catharina Alvares Paraguacu. After a prophetic dream, during her return voyage to Brazil, she ordered the construction of Nossa Senhora da Graca (Our Lady of Grace) chapel.
Expert in native tradition, Caramuru was a great mediator between Indians, traders and European navigators. Catharina as a great leader supported interracial marriages between Europeans and Indians, as the only means to save her people from extinction. She raises her children and educates her grandchildren to assume their places in this new social, religious, administrative hierarchy of Bahia. Thus giving birth to one of the most important aristocratic families of this region.
Paraguaçu dies in 1583, becoming a legendary figure and the most admired, feminine personality of the first century of Brazil's history, being considered, the biological mother of great part of the Brazilian nation.