Praça Pio X
20040-020 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
tel: +55 21 2233 2324
8a-4p M-F, 8a-noon Sa-Su
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Candalaria , or the church of our lady of Candalaria, to give it the English name, is without doubt Rio's most imposing church. The church has a long tradition of hosting events for high society Rio, and many celebrity weddings still take place here, with prestigious guests gathered in the marble interior. The church was built on the site of a chapel founded in 1610 by the Spaniard Antonio Martins Plam, who arrived in Rio after surviving a terrifying sea storm. He built the chapel in homage to Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, the patron saint of is home in the Canary Islands. The Church is modeled on the Basilica da Estrela in Lisbon, and indeed the tiles in the dome are from the Portuguese city. The marble is Italian, from Verona, and the heavy bronze doors were shipped from France. A snobbish attitude among high society meant that all these fine European finishings were shipped across at great expense in the late 18th Century, despite such materials being readily available in Brazil – at much lower prices. The church does not lie in a particularly illustrious location, however, standing on an island amid a sea of traffic, some 500 meters from Praca XV de Novembro.