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 VisitFee: No
Open Now: NoHours 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
|Metro Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|Line 1 Orange or Line 2 Green||Carioca||8 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.
Map & Instant Route Finder
Click&Go Map and Route Finder with public transit, walking, driving or cycling directions. Get up-to-the-minute transit times for your route.
Ratedout of 5
This cathedral is incredible. You absolutely must visit it when near Zocalo. You can neatly taste the history as you step through the doors. Our trip to the city was quick, so we weren't able to enjoy the many tours it sounds like are available. I would love to return for those.
Gabrielle Totton - 27 days ago
To be honest, this massive cathedral is one of my favorite in Latin America. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I guess the sheer scale of the edifice puts me back in Rome among the countless Basilicas there. But that is high praise, as they are incredible--just as this national cathedral is incredible. The questionable theological implications of the Mexican flag amongst the crosses aside, it's a place of grandeur and respect... just ignore the gaudy trinket sales that are a little too much like Rome.
Dan Hoffman - 1 month ago
This massive cathedral is very beautiful and well worth a visit if you're in the centro historico. Also, if its open pay the 10 pesos to go to the sacristy to see amazing murals painted on the wall.
Andrew Hebert - 3 months ago
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 - 4 months ago
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 - 5 months ago