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With its imposing façade and baroque style, Nossa Senhora da Candelária or Igreja da Candelária in Praça Pio X is impossible to ignore. It took almost ninety years to build and was finally completed in 1898, and is Rio's largest church. Just as impressive, the interior is a colourful mixture of marble sculpted columns, altars and statues. Also, the dome features impressive paintings by João Zeferino da Costa depicting the Christian virtues.
Located downtown in the Largo de São Francisco, Igreja de São Francisco de Paula has an interesting history. It was the site of many imperial events, including the 1822 mass dedicated to the country's conversion from colony to kingdom and the mass celebrating Brazil's adoption of its first constitution in 1831. Pope Pius X dedicated one of the chapels to the defeat of the Turks by Christian forces in the 16th century. Visitors will find its colonial exterior and ornate interior fascinating.
Among the oldest church in Rio, Convento de Santo Antônio was finished in 1620, and was one of the most powerful religious centres in colonial times. It is known as "Saint Anthony of the rich," as opposed to "Saint Anthony of the poor," in another part of town. It consists of the convent itself and two churches. Inside the church of the Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência, the wood nave and ceiling frescos depict the glorification of St. Francis. Inside St. Anthony's, the marble and tile sacristy pictures the miracles he performed.
Constructed in the 17th Century, Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência is a striking example of the city's breathtaking colonial architecture. The church is a part of the beautiful Convento Santo Antonio, and is one of the oldest religious edifices in the city. A prominent feature of this church is the stunning Baroque-style artwork on the roof; a rare feature among the city's historic churches.
The Presbyterian Cathedral is a beautiful building in the middle of Rio de Janeiro's downtown. It has a notable architecture, neo-Gothic style. It was the first Presbyterian church in Brazil, founded in 1862.
Resembling a huge, futuristic Mayan pyramid, it is impossible not to be amazed by this architectural downtown wonder. Inaugurated in 1976, while still incomplete, Catedral Metropolitana has a capacity of over 20,000 people. Conical shaped with no supporting columns and a granite rock that forms the altar, its four huge stained glass windows will rivet your attention. The underground houses the sacred arts museum.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio De Janerio. It is a seat of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. Reflecting the Mayan architectural style of pyramids, the structure was designed by Edgar Fonseca in 1964. The internal diameter of the church is 315 feet (96 meters) with a 347 feet (106 meters) external diameter. The cathedral rises to a staggering height of 246 feet (75 meters) with four rectilinear stained-glass windows of 210 feet (64 meters) soaring from the floor to the ceiling. The church still conducts regular masses and weddings and is open to tourist visits everyday from 7a to 5p.
Convento de Santa Teresa is an austere building with a history that dates back to the 18th-century. It was the pioneer woman convent in the country. The nuns belonged to the order of Saint Clara, but in 1777 adopted the severe rules of the Teresianas which calls for a life of seclusion. Only their superior is allowed to communicate through an ingenious device on the wall of the vestibule. One cannot visit the closure, but in the vestibule there is a fine work in Portuguese tiles, depicting biblical scenes. Access to the church is strictly limited to moments during the religious services.