Churches of Centro
· Gaze at the ornate interior of the Mosteiro de São Bento
· Learn about the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Candelaria’s role in Rio’s history
· Appreciate the work of Mestre Valentim at the Old Cathedral
· Take yourself back in time at the Igreja da Veneravel e Arquiepiscopal Ordem Terceira
Brazil has historically had a strong Catholic influence and nowhere is this starker than in its old capital: Rio. This walking tour, in the company of your personal guide, will show the varieties of religious art and architecture in the city’s Centro neighbourhood as you investigate its striking colonial churches.
You will be taken around the Mosteiro de São Bento. Founded in 1590, this Benedictine monastery was added to throughout the 16th century and has an opulent interior, with some truly exquisite carvings, that is at odds with its plain white façade. Your guide will also take you to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Candelaria. This colonial church, which was completed in 1811 on a site of a small 17th century chapel, has an interior which has received both baroque and renaissance influences. The area around the church has also been connected with many important moments of Brazilian history, such as protests against the military dictatorship in 1984, as well as – tragically – the site of a massacre in 1993 where street children were murdered by policemen.
Pews for Emperors
Your guide will also take you to the Old Cathedral. This has, as its name suggests, an illustrious history being the site of coronations during the Empire. The history of the church predates Brazilian independence, dating back to 1761, and the interior is definitely worth perusing. If you find yourself at a loss for what to see first, your guide will be happy to show you the carvings in the church by the important 18th century Brazilian sculptor Mestre Valentim, who was coincidentally also a major urban planner of Rio. Next door lies the Igreja da Veneravel e Arquiepiscopal Ordem Terceira. While it lacks the Imperial history of its neighbour, it too possesses a luscious baroque interior and colonial history.