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Best Religious Sites in Rio de Janeiro

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Catedral Metropolitana

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.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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São Bento Monastery

Igreja e Mosteiro de São Bento was built in the early 17th-century by Benedictine monks as a place for worship and study. he façade is simple yet pleasant, while the baroque interior abounds with gold and silver, from the wood carvings of the altar to the spiral columns. This old church offers everything for the visitor: interesting history, colonial architecture and a richly decorated interior.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência

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.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Convento de Santo Antônio

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.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Igreja da Candelária

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.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Christ The Redeemer Statue

In order to bolster faith during the turbulent years following World War I, the Cristo Redentor, or Christ The Redeemer, was built as a watchful symbol over Mount Corcovado. The Statue stands atop a pedestal, a symbol of spiritual re-awakening that gazes onto the city below. The brainchild of Heitor da Silva Costa and French sculptor Paul Landowski, the statue soars over city limits at a height of 38 meters (125 feet), including its pedestal. The magnificent figurine is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and features a quiet chapel at the base. With its outstretched arms, the Christ The Redeemer Statue denotes a convergence of olden depictions of Christ (symbolizing the cross), and more modern interpretations that believe it to be a symbol of peace.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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