The Imperial Palace, or Paço Imperial, is a historic building located in the center of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paço is Portuguese for mansion. Paço Imperial was built in the seventeen hundreds and functioned as a luxurious residence for the governors of colonial Brazil. In 1808 the Imperial palace was used by King John VI of Portugal as an official royal residence and was also used by King John when he took the throne as King of Brazil. In 1822 the Imperial Palace became the Rio de Janeiro home of Pedro I and Pedro II, the kings of the Brazilian Empire who both lived and worked in Paço Imperial. The historic monument was a primary political center of Brazil for almost 150 years until 1889.
The Imperial Palace is situated in the Praça XV in Rio centro. Due to both its architectural and historical significance,the Imperial Palace serves as an important cultural center and is listed as a national architectural treasure by the National Artistic and Historical Heritage Institute (IPHAN).
In 1980 the Imperial Palace underwent a major renovation and restoration that returned the building to the appearance it had around the year 1818, when the Palace was in its heyday.Since 1984 the Paço Imperial has been an important cultural center, hosting temporary art exhibitions of painting, sculpture, cinema, music, etc. It also houses the Paulo Santos Library, specializing in art, architecture and engineering, and also containing several rare books from the 16th to the 18th centuries.