Sao Bento Church and Monastery, Rio de Janeiro

Sao Bento Church and Monastery, Rio de Janeiro (must see)

Mosteiro de São Bento (Monastery of Saint Benedict) is officially called the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat. This Benedictine abbey's history began in 1590 when the land was donated to the monks. Work began in 1633 and was completed in 1671. An annex was completed in 1755.

The abbey's design is a gorgeous example of Mannerist-style Portuguese colonial architecture. The facade features an edifice with three entrance archways and a triangular gable. Two towers with pyramidal spires surround the entryway. After passing through the archway, visitors will be welcome to a tiled porch with 19th-century iron gates.

The interior is embellished with elaborate gold leaf. Friar Ricardo do Pilar created beautiful hand-painted tiles depicting Benedictine saints between 1676 and 1684. These are on display in the main chapel. In the sacristy, visitors will admire a 1690 masterpiece by painter Friar Ricardo.

Friar Domingos da Conceição created statues of Saint Benedict, Saint Scholastica, and Our Lady of Mount Serrat. Artist Inácio Ferreira Pinto re-did the main chapel from 1787-1794. Master Valentim created the main chapel's stunning chandeliers in the 1780s. The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was embellished by Inácio Ferreira Pinto from 1795-1800.

Visitors will find seven interior chapels: Chapel of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Chapel of Saint Gertrude, Chapel of Our Lady of Pilar, Chapel of Saint Lawrence, Chapel of Saint Braz, Chapel of Saint Caetano, and Chapel of Saint Amaro.

Why You Should Visit:
The São Bento Church and Monastery has a simple exterior but an absolutely divine gilded baroque interior. Visitors will relish the hundreds of years of Brazillian history and stunning architectural details.


Take part in a traditional Sunday 10:00 am mass--complete with Gregorian chanting and organ music.

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 Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 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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Sao Bento Church and Monastery on Map

Sight Name: Sao Bento Church and Monastery
Sight Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (See walking tours in Rio de Janeiro)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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