Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

Located in the Praça XV square, in downtown Rio, the Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is an old Carmelite church which served as the city's cathedral (Sé) from around 1808 until 1976. During the 19th century, it was also used successively as the Royal and Imperial Chapel by the Portuguese royal family and the Brazilian imperial family, respectively. It is one of the most important historical buildings in the city.

Apart from being of exceptional historical value for the city and the country, this former cathedral has one of the most harmonious interior decorations among the churches in Rio. The walls, chapels and ceiling are covered with ornate Rococo (late Baroque) woodwork showing lightness and unity in style. The decoration was executed after 1785, mainly by one of Rio's best Rococo wood carvers of the period, Inácio Ferreira Pinto, who was also responsible for the main altarpiece. The upper walls of the one-aisled nave have a series of balconies and oval paintings of the Apostles by painter José Leandro de Carvalho. Later reforms did not substantially alter the inner decoration, but the façades were almost completely remodeled in the early 20th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Whilst this church might seem a bit simple from the outside, entry into it reveals a beautifully restored interior.
Decoration includes fine painted ceilings and ornate gilt work balanced by areas of plain white wall.
The overall effect is quite beautifully elegant.

Tip:
There are a number of other things to see in the complex, including an archaeological dig.
Not all of them are open all the time; the most important is the Third Order church immediately adjacent to the Old Cathedral.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7:30am-4pm; Sat: 9:30am-12pm; Sun: 9am-12pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rio de Janeiro. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro on Map

Sight Name: Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
Sight Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (See walking tours in Rio de Janeiro)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Rio's Top Religious Sites

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