Explore the fascinating Historical Center of São Luís in a row of churches in the city, true secular treasures that testify to the grandeur of history and faith that shape the Maranhense capital.
Open to visits throughout the entire year, we invite you to embark on this religious experience to the secular churches of São Luís, where sacred beauty, architecture and history meet, inviting visitors to discover the soul of Brazil’s unique destination.
Igreja da Sé (cathedral)
Also known as the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Vitória, godfather of São Luís, the Igreja da Sé (@catedraldasesaoluisma) houses the Arcebispado do Maranhão. Located in Praça Pedro II in the Historic Center, this church is a unique example of the architecture of the Brazilian Colony, despite the countless reforms that have passed.
Its initial building was inaugurated in 1622. The Cathedral is named after the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) and has as a highlight the altar-mor, of the 18th century, which is considered a treasure of Brazilian Baroque art.
Nossa Senhora do Carmo Church
This church was founded by Carmelite fathers and is part of the Carmo Convent, whose construction dates back to 1627. Located in the Center of São Luís, it has a long history that was the stage for important events in the city in different contexts for two centuries. Currently, Largo do Carmo together with the Church (@igrejadocarmoslz) integrates two more beautiful cartões postais from the capital.
After depredations by Dutch invaders in 1640, the Convento da Igreja do Carmo sheltered various organizations, including the Corpo de Artilharia and the Corpo de Polícia. It operates in the regular classrooms of primary and secondary education, the first public library of Maranhão and the first headquarters of the Liceu Maranhense.
A possui baroque style church, with a symmetrical façade. It has two side towers with simple lines and between them, a classic triangular front. In the center of the facade, there are three doors with a balcony and below them, at the main entrance of the church.
São José do Desterro Church
The São José do Desterro Church (@igrejadodesterroslzma) is one of the oldest in São Luís and has traces of Byzantine and neoclassical style architecture, with its first construction dating back to around 1618.
In 1641 it was looted by the Dutch army, taking with it sacred pieces of gold and silver. Over the centuries it underwent several works and reconstructions. It is in the Desterro neighborhood, in the Historic Center, close to the old Convento das Mercês.
Church of Saint Anthony
Considered one of the main religious buildings in the city, the Church (@igrejasantoantonio_slz) is part of a historic complex of the Convent of Santo Antônio, and is located in Praça Antônio Lobo, in the Historic Center of São Luís.
The Church and its convent have in their history their participation in several historical moments in the capital, having already served as a shelter for politically persecuted people and even as a political barracks.
The building has a chapel and a main altar in neoclassical styles. It has a square outside where a festival is set up every year in June. The Church and its convent have a history of participating in several historical moments in the capital, having already served as a shelter for politically persecuted people and even as a police barracks.
Our Lady of Remedies Church
The Remédios Church is the only one in São Luís built in the neo-Gothic style. It has a single bell tower, in the center, with a quadrangular base and two openings on each side. At the top of the tower there is an octagonal pyramid on which an iron cross rises. The side facades are topped by iron crosses flanked by statues of the evangelists: Luke, John, Matthew and Mark positioned since 1907. The stained glass windows that adorn the church are German, from the 20th century. The interior has three altars, the main one being made of marble.
Located in front of Praça Gonçalves Dias (Largo dos Amores) and close to Praça Maria Aragão, the Igreja dos Remédios holds an annual celebration in honor of Nossa Senhora do Remédios, considered the patron saint of merchants.
St. John’s Church
Located at the intersection between Rua de São João and Rua da Paz, in the center of São Luís, the Church of São João (@paroquiasaojoaobatistaslz) was built in 1665.
Predominantly neoclassical in style, this church has in its architecture inscriptions and forms resulting from the repeated renovations it has undergone over the last few centuries. It housed the tomb of Joaquim Silvério dos Reis, a traitor to the Inconfidência Mineira who died in 1819.
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks
Having its construction started in the middle of the 18th century, the Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos Church is part of a group of Brazilian churches built by brotherhoods that sought the inclusion of black people in society, since they could not at that time attend some religious spaces.
Located on Rua do Egypt, in the Historic Center, this is a building listed as a heritage site by IPHAN. In Baroque style, it has a facade made up of two towers. Inside, there are oratories and walls covered in Portuguese tiles.
Saint Pantaleon Church
Located on Rua São Pantaleão, this church had its foundation stone laid in 1780. In 1817 it was opened to the faithful. In 1829, he embraced a social project aimed at welcoming newborns born to single mothers who were unable to raise them.
With a simple and symmetrical facade, the church has three central windows and two side towers. The altar consists of a curtain with a concrete table and a metal tabernacle topped by a wooden cross. The choir is made of wood and protected by an iron grille. The internal walls are covered with industrial tiles.
Located on Rua de Santana, between Antônio Rayol and da Cruz streets in the center of São Luís, this church began to be built in 1784.
Its architecture features neoclassical and baroque decorative elements. It has tile panels identical to those in the Church of Our Lady of Flowers in Italy.
Chapel of São José das Laranjeiras
It was built at the beginning of the 19th century by the Portuguese José Gonçalves da Silva, owner of Quinta das Laranjeiras and one of the most prosperous traders of the colonial period in São Luís.
Located on Rua Grande in the Historic Center, the chapel keeps in its internal structure the marks of economic opulence of Maranhão in the 19th century, mixing neoclassical and rococo style elements.