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

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: Cathedral House, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TQ, UK

Phone: 0151 709 9222

Official Website: Metropolitan Cathedral


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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Rated 4.5 out of 5Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Star Rating

4 Star Rating Impressive place, its outside is really exotic, however I think that the Liverpool Cathedral itself deserves far more the visit than this one. But if you have time, don't miss the opportunity to have a walk around It.

Iago Fernández - 18 hours ago

5 Star Rating This Cathedral is stunning - especially on a sunny day. The tower is magnificent - in my opinion better seen from half way around - to the right predominantly red glass, to the left predominantly blue glass. Each chapel has unique features eg the children's chapel has windows which resemble oranges and lemons whereas St Columbas chapel has bird box shaped windows. The wall hangings are amazing. The Crypt is equally amazing but completely different - huge and traditional.

Fran Lewis - 28 days ago

5 Star Rating Even more stunning than it was 30 years ago. So beautiful and spiritual reflecting both the agony of living and the essential goodness in man.

Hugh McMichael - 1 month ago

3 Star Rating Nice cathedral but my God it is cold even on a warm day and it often rains in the cathedral as the rood leaks so much. The cathedral orchestra are good but the Cantata choir need some work.

Tom Michael - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating The circular space makes this a lovely place to relax and feel at peace with everything. Awesome structure. Lights and shadows chase each other around the building, neither prevailing over the other. Overall great place to be.

Raingod Dancing - 4 months ago


Looking around the Metropolitan Cathedral in Rio

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