Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most important historic buildings in the city

Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

What would a Latin city be without a cathedral? It would simply be incomplete. The Old Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro is the heart of the city as it is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This beautiful 19th century cathedral stands in homage to the rich history of Rio de Janeiro and is, in fact, the most important historic building in Rio. For those who love visiting places of historical interest you will not be disappointed with a trip to the old cathedral.

Steeped in history, the cathedral was once a Carmelite church. Back in 1590 the Carmelite Order arrived in the city of Rio de Janeiro. They used a chapel near Guanabara Bay as their base before later building a convent and then renovating the chapel. The Cathedral as it stands today was built about 1761.

After they built the convent next to the church, they built a second church on the other side of the already existing church called the Church of the Carmelite Third Order. The initial church, which now stood in the centre, was called Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo, which is Portuguese for the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of the Ancient See.

These three buildings formed the religious headquarters, so to speak, of the Carmelite order. The church was consecrated in 1770 but at the time of its consecration the front section of the building was not yet complete. The interior of the church is said to have the most harmonious interior decorations out of all the churches in Rio De Janeiro. The interior is of late Baroque style also known as Rococo. This style is characterized by beautiful woodwork, the fine carvings bring a lightness to the woodwork with its white walls and golden ornate interior of the church has a regal feel. Far from being stuffy, the ceilings have openings in them that allow light and air to filter through into the church, amplifying the ethereal nature of the beautiful Cathedral.

It is no surprise that it was used as the Royal Chapel by the Portuguese Royal family and then as the Imperial Chapel for the Brazilian Imperial family. Be sure that you make your way down to the cathedral to see what two royal families thought was good enough for them. You will surely find it good enough for you.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm

Address: Rua Primeiro de Março, s/n° – Centro, Rio de Janeiro

Accommodations near Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro:


Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or LIne 2 - GreenCarioca9 Minutes

How to get to Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro by Metro

Exit Carioca Station and walk straight ahead to the cross walk at the north end of the plaza and cross the street. Go to your right up Rua da Assembleia until you get to Av. Prsidente Antoinio Carlos and go left. The church is one block ahead on your left.

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Photo Gallery


This video shows some of the detail of the beautifully restored interior of the Old Cathedral
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