The so called marvelous city, Rio de Janeiro, is well known for its beautiful landscapes, for the nature that inhabits close to the urban life, for its beaches, sports activities and so on.
But Rio is also about so much more! The city holds a large collection of historic and cultural buildings and monuments, many as a legacy left by the time when the city was the Imperial capital!
Thinking of this, I selected five churches I think it should not be missed!
This monument of colonial art is located downtown city, on the hill of St. Benedict. It was founded by Benedictine monks coming from Bahia in 1590. The building was built along the seventeenth century. The facade follows the Mannerist aesthetic while the interior goes from baroque to rococo. The feeling is of utter fascination when you enter the temple, all lined with gilt. There are guided tours in the church and there is Gregorian chant in every Sunday Mass! A must for lovers of baroque’s exuberance!
Open daily from 7am to 6pm.
Mass on Sundays at 10am.
Address: Access via ramp: Rua Dom Gerardo, 68 – Centro – Rio de Janeiro / Access by elevator: Rua Dom Gerardo, 40, 5th floor
Phone: 55 21 2206-8100
The church of Candelaria soon stands out for its importance in history and its greatness amid the bustle of downtown, almost bordering Guanabara bay. Its origin dates back to the early seventeenth century when a storm nearly caused a ship called Candlemas sink. A couple of Spaniards was traveling on this ship and made the promise of building a chapel if they got to save themselves. And so it happened. This story can be seen in the murals inside the church, decorated in a mixed neoclassical and eclectic.
The visitation hours are: Mon-Fri, 7.30am-4pm – Sat, 8am-12pm – Sat 9am-1pm
Address: Pio X Square – Center
Phone: 55 21 2233-2324
Behind a plain façade lies a Baroque church considered one of the most important in the country. The interior is eccentric in style. The gilded altars and walls cover the entire available surface and the painting on the wooden ceiling, which depicts the glorification of St. Francis, is in illusionist baroque style. It is located at Largo da Carioca, in Morro de Santo Antonio, in a set that also includes the Convent of St. Anthony. Also, the church today functions as the Museum of Sacred Art. It’s worth to phone them before leaving to go there because it happens to be closed very often.
Visitation Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm
Address: Largo da Carioca, 5 – Center
Phone: 55 21 2262-0197
It’s worth planning a day to visit this church that so many people get to view over the Glória hill when passing through the Flamengo Park. You can get over there going up the steps or taking their slant car. Besides providing a beautiful view of downtown, of Glória neighborhood and the Guanabara Bay, this church charms with its monumental pillars, vaulted ceilings and tiles. Inaugurated in 1739, became the favorite of the Portuguese royal family. And soon there were baptized many members of the imperial family, including Dom Pedro II and Princess Elizabeth.
Address: Praça Nossa Senhora da Glória, 135/204
Phones: 55 21 2225-2869
55 21 2557-4600
And finally the little church that graces a charming street in the alley of Ouvidor Street, between Mercado and Primeiro de Março streets. The interior is decorated in rococo style. Looking at its ceiling I remember one of those well-decorated cakes! It originated in 1743 when merchants and area residents raised a small oratory. Inside the church you can see a statue that was hit by a shot during the Second Revolt of the Brazilian Army and despite having fallen from 25m high, has not suffered much damage.
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-2pm
Ouvidor Street, 35 – Center
Phone: 55 21 2509-2339