Built in 1654 and designated as a National Historic Landmark, the “Convento das Mercês” is a place with a fascinating history that deserves to be explored and appreciated by all who visit São Luís.
The “Convento das Mercês” was originally erected under the invocation of Our Lady of the Assumption, although the local people knew it by other names. Its construction began in 1654 when the Mercedarians, coming from Belém, joined the friars to build the first structure of the convent with wattle and daub covered with thatch.
The following year, a new phase of construction began with the building of the main chapel in stone and lime, which is now one of the most notable attractions of the site. The Convent of Mercês witnessed the Independence of Brazil in 1822. In the 19th century, the convent underwent interventions that transformed it into the headquarters of the Minor Seminary.
In 1905, the site was transformed into the barracks for the Military Police and Fire Department, which remained there until the 1980s. Between 1987 and 1990, original elements of the structure were restored, revealing the original arches and the well. It was during this restoration that the foundations of the demolished church were discovered
With approximately four thousand works of art, including paintings, sculptures, decorative objects, and pieces of religious art, visitors can immerse themselves in the cultural richness of the region. The Father Antônio Vieira Library, part of the Brazilian Republican Memory Foundation, boasts an incredible bibliographic collection with 23,733 volumes, including 3,217 rare works, with a special emphasis on the texts of Father Antônio Vieira.
When visiting the Convent of Mercy, tourists have the opportunity to explore the richness of Maranhão and Brazilian history while admiring one of the most beautiful colonial architectures in the region. Come and discover and be enchanted by the glorious past of this Maranhão treasure.