The Terreiro de Jesus, officially called Praca 15 de Novembro is a historic site of religious celebrations with four churches surrounding the square. Besides churches the square is flanked by shops and street cafes and a large fountain centers the square.
This church is a "focal point of religious festivals that attract thousands from all over Brasil" (Rough Guides). If there is a point that has great meaning to catholics in Brazil, this is most definately one of them. This church although very beautiful and ornate isn't even the most beautiful one in the city.
Beautiful from the outside yes, but step inside and be sure to spend a good amount of time observing the ceiling of the room that you first enter.
It would be good if someone that works there helps you a bit, but the ceiling features a magical mural. Depending upon where in the room you are standing, images within the mural change- it's fascinating really.
Once you've paid to enter step out into the courtyard, if you're not totally awed by the beautiful blue and white porteguese tile work about you, something's wrong with you! :-)
Each panel (and there are several!) of the courtyard depicts tales of faith, death, friendship and 'the world' depending upon what exists just beyond that wall- the wall of faith has the church itself on the other side. the wall of death has the cemetery beyond it, the wall of friendship has the monkhood behind it and lastly the wall of the world has the streets of Pelourinho behind it.
OK, now.... go into the actual church and marvel at the mass quantities of gold EVERYwhere you look. This place is gilded to the hilt in high-baroque fashion. It practically glows gold. You'll just have to see for yourself...
Literally translated as Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks, this church was built during the 18th century by and for the slaves of Salvador. Even to this day, the congregation is largely of African descent and during services drums are used more than the organ. You'll also notice famous paintings such as the passion of Christ depicted with black characters.
I've seen it called other names, but this is what it said on the map I picked up in Salvador. It might also be referred to as simply Sacramento da Rua Passo. As I was walking up Ladeira do Carmo in the wrong direction from Pelourinho, I noticed these stairs leading up to Rua Passo above and this church.
When I reached the top of Ladeira do Carmo, I walked to the left to this church which is only a few meters down the road, but it wasn't open to visitors. Then I went to the right at the top of Ladeira do Carmo and walked to the end of that street in an area that seemed much more typical and less touristy. There were a couple pension style accommodations, but otherwise, most of the buildings were simple and sometimes dilapidated one-storey homes. The few people that I saw seemed a little surprised to see me there . . . I wonder if I looked like a tourist?
Just how much money did these guys make? The sugar barons of the early 1700s were apparently just showing off when they decided to announce to the world that their small colony had officially arrived by building the Igreja de Sao Francisco. They completed the church in 1723 and when it was done, they had used over 100kg of gold.
Religion at Salvador da Bahia is a palpable presence. There are a lot of catholic churchs, but is candomblé, the african-brazilian religion, which rules. This religion was brought by African slaves; catholic conquerors tried to eliminate it, but could not do it; there is a syncretism between both religions.
There are some popular rituals, like celebration of Senhor do Bonfim, or Iemanjá (sea godess).
La religión en Salvador de Bahia es una presencia palpable. Hay muchísimas iglesias católicas, pero es el candomblém la religión afro-brasileña, la que predomina. Esta religión fue traída por los esclavos africanos; los conquistadores católicos trataron de eliminarla, pero no lo lograron; se da un sincretismo entre ambas religiones.
Hay varios ritos populares, como la fiesta del Senhor do Bomfim, o la de Iemanjá, la diosa del mar.
Sao Francisco's Church has a beautiful atrium; its walls are coverd by painted tiles, brought from Portugal.
La Iglesia de San Francisco tiene un hermoso atrio; sus paredes están recubiertas de azulejos decorados, traídos de Portugal.
Igreja da (Nossa Senhora da) Conceicao da Praia - Church of Our Lady of the Conception of the Beach
Dazzling beautiful and where all the famous people get married - either here or at Vitoria church or Bomfim. The building was pre-made in Portugal and shipped in pieces to Brazil. The picture in the roof creates an illusion. (1739-1773). Irma Dulce, candidate of becoming the second brazilian saint in History, is burried in this church.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos - Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black
Very beautiful church, maybe the most ecumenical of them all, competing only with Bomfim and Sao Lazaro. Check the statues, the masses (the only ones I have the patience to attend! A lot of drums and happiness, not a glimpse of the atmosphere of guilt!)
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