Imperio da Tijuca Samba School

GRESE Império da Tijuca Profile, History and Photos


Império da Tijuca is one of the oldest samba-schools in Rio, the first to use the word “Império”; Empire, on its name, which later became a tradition.  On this profile of the GRESE Império da Tijuca, you will learn bit about their history, find out about their parades and struggles to maintain in the elite Carnival groups in Rio, see photos of their recent parades, and watch videos of some of their revelers.  You will also gain knowledge of their symbol, flag, colors and important personalities that are associated with the historic district of Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro.   Join us on this discovery!

Below Vivian Dourado, lawyer and Carnival Diva for Império da Tijuca at the 2011 Carnival Parade!

carnaval diva brazil Vivian Dourado

History and Origins

G.R.E.S. Império da Tijuca was founded on December 8th, 1940, in the midst of World War II, as many Samba –school in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.   Having as their main colors green and white, the samba school was founded at the traditional street “Rua Conde de Bonfim, 1286” of the Tijuca district in Rio– close to the “Morro da Formiga” or “Ant Hill”.  The official name adopted by the new samba school was then Gremio Recreativo Escola de Samba Educativa Império.  (The word “Império” , Empire, was due to an educational center close to its site, which had Empire in its own name. )   Because of this educational center nearby,  Imperio da Tijuca was the first samba school in Brazil to use the word “Império”, an interesting choice.   Today, there are dozens of samba-schools which use the word “Império” ( Empire ) as part of their name.   

For this reason, “Imperio da Tijuca” decided to have as it main symbol a crown, definitely a symbol of nobility, in his flag  In its official flag, it is also worth mentioning that the tobacco and coffee leaves, symbolizing the wealth of the region, are  also represented ( not per coincidence, both the tobacco and coffee leaves were also present at crest of the Brazilian Empire ).  Since the early days at the “Morro da Formiga”, Ant Hill, there were educational community experiments, initiated by Jose do Patrocinio, a Boy Scouts troop leader.  Later, a formal literacy school for children was founded. 

Below we see the Flag-Bearer and samba-host of Império da Tijuca at the 2012 carnival parade in Rio

Imperio da Tijuca Samba School Photo

Photo Credit: Rodrigo Gorosito/G1


Founding Members

 The original founding members of Imperio da Tijuca were the following:  Joaquim Augusto de Oliveira (Quincas), Rodolfo Augusto de Oliveira Pinto Rabaça Celestina, Fernando Matos, Jorge Domingos da Silva, John Clerk, Mario Pereira, Manuel Queiroz, Aylton dos Santos, Emilio Marcatte, Manuel Pinto, among others.   Among the most famous samba personalities of the school, were Sinval Silva (one of the favorite composers of Carmen Miranda) and Mario Pereira.

Carnival parades of Império da Tijuca

 The first parade of the Império da Tijuca came in 1946 with the theme in homage to Brazilian soldiers who fought at World War II: "To the Heroes of Monte Castelo."   Their first carnival championship came in 1964 with the theme "The Imperial Splendor of Rio de Janeiro", styled by Carnival Art Director Jorge Melodia, at Carnival “Access Group 2”.  The victory gave them the right to ascent to the so-called Carnival “Access Group 1”.  Império da Tijuca was not able to maintain the same level of that parade and they were relegated.  

Below a video of Vivian Dourado, Muse for Imperio da Tijuca at the 2010 parade;

1970´s Parades

In 1970, however, the school made a comeback, again with Jorge Melodia, author of the parade-plot "Secrets and Charms of Bahia", which contributed to another conquest, another championship.  But that was not enough, still with wobbly legs, Império da Tijuca  were again downgraded to Access Group 2, where they remained until 1975.  One year later, on 1976,   thanks in part to the brilliant collaboration legendary Carnival Art Designer Joãosinho Trinta, which helped with the floats and his creativity.  The “Imperials” won then their third championship with the unforgettable parade-plot "Warriors of Alagoas."

Unfortunately, the “imperial green-and-white” could not maintain again because of the high costs the high quality of parades, and from then on, experienced a difficult times. In 1977, the samba-school was relegated again to the “Access Group 2” and, in the following year, a serious blow decline, falling to “Access Group 2-A.”   The samba-school trailed tough days and many turnarounds, but only returned to the Carnival “Access Group 1-B”, at the end of the 1970´s, with the parade-plot called title "The three women in Rio."


1990´s Parades

On the eighties, new emotions were again reserved for the “imperials from Tijuca”.  The Império da Tijuca ascended to a Carnival “Group-A” in 1980 by winning the second place, however, the eleventh place in the 1981 parade, lead them back to a Group-B.   The restless “green and white” did not give up, with another second place ascended to Group 1-A, where they remained until 1987, with consistent parades.  

Another trademark for Imperio da Tijuca are their beautiful divas and muses: Here we see Alessandra Mattos with the crest of the samba-school literally painted in her heart. (check her exclusive profile ) 

Alessandra Mattos Imperio da Tijuca

Photo Credit: Thyago Andrade Photo Rio News

1990´s Parades

A new carnival title however, would take a little longer to arrive:  It finally arrived with the parade-theme "Canaan, the promised land Brazil," in 1991.   With the actor, theatre director, carnival Art Designer Miguel Falabella, the school obtained in 1994, an honorable fourth place, to the newly called “Access Group A”, with the theme "Nelson Rodrigues, a kiss at the Sapucaí."   Miguel Falabella was even more fortunate on the following year, when the samba-school obtained a heroic second place, winning finally the right to parade in the coveted “Special Group”, the most competitive Carnival parade in Brazil.  It was a great deed for the samba-school which didn´t have the same financial resources and structures of elite team in Rio.

Unfortunately, “Império da Tijuca” could not remain on the Special Group of Rio's Carnival.   With parade plot entitled "The United Kingdom Independent North East", the samba school obtained only the 17th place, and again was demoted to the “Access Group A” , in which it paraded until 2002, when it suffered further decline for “Access Group B”.

A new Era: The Re-structuring of Império

2000´s Parades

In 2003, Império da Tijuca finally gets its act together with the arrival of a new commander and innovator, Antonio Marcos Teles, a.k.a.; Tê.  On his first year of hard work, he helped the samba school obtain an honorable third place in the 2004 Carnival parade.  The plot that enabled the successful outcome of that parade was signed by Carnival Art Director Jack Vasconcelos, who opted to show the cultural changes brought about by the sugarcane and was entitled "The Empire of Tijuca is sweet, but ain´t soft."

In 2005, the “green and white from Tijuca” paid a homage to legendary Brazilian “mulata and passista expert and discoverer” Sargentelli, but the outcome was not as expected and they obtained the  seventh place.   With another show of force, through another carnival championship, in 2006 the samba-school would be promoted once again to “Access Group A”.  The President Te proved it was worth investing in new talent, as the doors opened for the young Carnival Art Director Sandro Gomes.  He would also sign the parade in 2007, with a honorable 5th place ( out of 14 samba-schools) , with the theme-plot called "The Brave Holy Warrior"; in Portuguese, “O Intrépido Santo Guerreiro”, which was highly praised especially by the general public.

With a Carnival plot entitled “O Mundo em Carnaval - Um Olhar sobre a cultura dos povos”  in  2011, Império da Tijuca, presented a view of Carnival celebrations in other parts of the world.   It was the first parade signed by “Carnavalesco” ( Carnival Art Director ) Severe Luzardo.  The parade yielded an amazing show and a competitive 6th position on the carnival contest. 

On the 2012 Rio parade, the traditional school of the Tijuca neighborhood got a surprising third place, with the theme-plot "Utopias - travel to the ends of the imagination", which was a surprise since many of the other schools like Cubango, Viradouro, Santa Cruz and Império Serrano presented luxurious parades. The parade-plot was signed by Carnival Art Director Severo Luzardo.

G.R.E.S.E Império da Tijuca Important Awards:

"Estandarte De Ouro" - "Golden Banner"

2007 Best Samba-School Access Group A

2007 Best Samba-theme song Access Group A

2010  Best Samba-theme song Access Group A

2011  Best Samba-School Access Groupo A

Flag Samba School Imperio da Tijuca


Technical Profile of Império da Tijuca:


Founded:                   December 8th, 1940

Colors:                       Green and White

Symbols:                    Crown 

District:                     Tijuca

President:                  Antônio Marcos Teles (Tê)

Carnival Designer:        Juninho Pernambucano

Official Singer:            Pixulé

Carnival Director:        João Luis e Marcos Funa

Harmony Director:      João Luis e Marcos Funa

Drums Master:           Mestre Riquinho

Queen of Drums:        Laynara Telles

Samba Host:              Peixinho

Flag-Beaer:               Jaçana Ribeiro

Choreography:           Junior Scarpin


Imperio Crown


Bookmark and Share