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São Francisco Church and Convent

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Attractions in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
São Francisco Church and Convent
Patricia Ribeiro

October 2012

One of the most sought-after attractions in Salvador sightseeing, the São Francisco Church in Pelourinho had its construction started in 1708 and finished in 1723. In utter contrast with the frugality and humbleness exemplified by St. Francis, the building's interior is lined with some of the most overwhelming amount of gilt woodwork art found in Brazil's Baroque churches. It also has beautiful blue and white tile murals.

In the square in front of the church is a stone cross (cruzeiro), which lends its name to this largo (square) off Terreiro de Jesus.

The adjoining convent, closed to visitors, has more treasures, such as a series of over 30 tile murals depicting edifying scenes and with quotes in Latin by Horace.

Next door is another Salvador treasure: Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco. The full group - Convent and Ordem Terceira - was voted as one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World.

The church doesn't stay open nearly as much as some other Catholic churches in Brazil. When it is open for Mass (Tuesdays at 6 p.m.), note that photos are forbidden beyond the ropes put up around the pews.

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