Metropolitan Cathedral

A striking modern design differentiates the Metropolitan Cathedral

Looking up at the towering Metropolitan Cathedral
Looking up at the towering Metropolitan Cathedral cc licensed photo by Edmund Gall

In stark contrast to the Old Cathedral, also known as the Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, stands the Metropolitan Cathedral at 75 metres in height. The shape and architecture of this Cathedral has nothing in common with the Old Cathedral which was created by the Carmelites in the 19th century. Unique in all ways the Metropolitan although new is steeped in symbolism and interesting aspects

The Metropolitan Cathedral, Catedral Metroplitana de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese, was built between the years 1964 and 1979. It was built in honour of the patron Saint of Rio, Saint Sebastian. The structure, although resembling and inspired by the Mayan pyramids in Mexico, is conical in its structure but does not reach a peak but is flat instead, like the tops of the Mayan pyramids. It is said that this shape is symbolic, representing the closeness of people to God.

Probably the most noticeable feature of the cathedral are the four stained glass windows that run like vertical columns from the ceiling stretching down to the floor. Only evident from the inside of the Cathedral you will note that there is a cross at the top of the ceiling that is made up of glass and covers the ceiling. Each arm of the cross has the vertical stain glass windows running down to the ground. So from the inside, when you look up what you will see is a cross with beams of light coming out from it and reaching down to you. It feels like you are being caressed by the rays of God, incubating you in a womb of multi-colours. I have no doubt that this is exactly the effect the architect, Edgar Oliveira, had in mind when designing this space.

Each panel of stained glass that comes down from above is rich with different colours and each panel represents something different. Each panel represents one of the four 'marks' of the Church; Holy, Once, Catholic and Apostolic. The way the light shines through the panels of stained glass creates a kaleidoscope of colours inside the cathedral.

The Metropolitan Cathedral has a seating capacity of 20,000 seated and 5,000 standing. Apart from visiting the Cathedral to join a mass or to see the architecture, visitors will also marvel at the pieces of art on display at the Sacred Art Museum in its basement. Be sure to put this historic monument on your list of wonders to visit when you are in Rio.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Open Now: Yes! Some attractions may restrict entry prior to their closing time.

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Phone: 01 55 5510 0440

Official Website: Metropolitan Cathedral

Directions

Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 Orange or Line 2 GreenCarioca8 Minutes

How to get to Metropolitan Cathedral by Metro

Exit the metro at Carioca Station to the south onto Av. Almirante Barroso and go right (east) along the sidewalk. Keep to the right hand sidewalk that goes up to the pedestrian overpass. Take the overpass across the road and go to your right on the far side continuing along the mosiac sidewalk toward the cathedral. Take the steps on your right just before the parking lot.

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Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5

5 Star Rating Toured and viewed when it was undergoing massive rehabilitation but it was stunning to see it nonetheless. So intricate and ornate with design. Beautiful.

Andrew Loizzo - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 10:30 - I and [my] Father are one. Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. John 20:28 - And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Anthony Pieri - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating The largest cathedral in the Americas does not disappoint. This is a massive church which has multiple alters all of which are unique and contain beautiful artwork and relics. The statue of the Black Christ is very imposing. It's a treat to visit this place when the choir is singing.

Michael Romero - 2 months ago

5 Star Rating One of the most ancient churches in the Americas, the Metropolitan Cathedral took almost 300 years to be completed! If you think its baroque facade looks amazing, just wait to see its massive interior! Dozens of small chapels dedicated to many saints flank the central nave supported by massive columns at least 70 feet high. The place's masterpiece is without a doubt the breathtaking Altar to the Three Magi completely coated in gold and precious stones. Tours to the bell towers and roof are available every half-hour or so, ask for tickets at the entrance.

David Manzanarez - 4 months ago

Video


Looking around the Metropolitan Cathedral in Rio

Photo Gallery

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