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 NowHours This Week:
- Monday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Thursday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Sunday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address: Av. Chile, 245 - Centro - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-170, Brazil
Phone: (21) 2240-2669
Official Website: Metropolitan CathedralMap of nearby accommodations:
|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.
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Ratedout of 5
An interesting cathedral built in style of Mayan architecture. Worth seeing if you are nearby, but also if you miss it, no harm done.
Dubravko Kovacevic - 8 days ago
Definitely one of a kind! Unattractive on the outside (and could use a wash) but extraordinary and impressive on the inside.
Dan Gazit - 13 days ago
The New or Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is a unique huge concrete structure, an example of the Brutalism style. It was completed in 1975 and is beautiful in its ugliness. On the inside, the effect of the four huge glass-in-concrete windows united in a translucent cross in the ceiling is very powerful. The equally ugly naked concrete bell tower is separate and its shape is reflected in the glass office tower behind it. The Cathedral can hold as many as 20,000 believers standing up.
Hermes van Amstel - 15 days ago
A great construction, but it felt it a little bit "cold" (not in the weather meaning)
Fabricio E. Rambaldi - 16 days ago
Don't let you fooled by the way it looks on the outside. The dark spots are only caused by the type of material the building is made of. The architecture is based of Mexican Mayan Chichen Itza; however, instead of a pyramid shape, the church is a closer to a cone. Stepping inside and you will be blown away by its four tall stained glasses and how natural light penetrates through the windows. This is definitely worth a visit.
Fabrice Marcelin - 1 month ago