Igreja da Sé Nossa Senhora da Vitória in São Luís
Destination São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.
Historical center in São Luís: Igreja da Sé Nossa Senhora da Vitória.
São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão – like Vitória in Espírito Santo and Florianópolis in Santa Catarina – is located on an island. The city was not founded by the Portuguese, but by French colonists. In honor of their king Louis XIII, they named the settlement Saint Louis. The French didn’t stay for long, they were expelled by the Portuguese, who already possessed the major part of what is now Brazil. In turn, the Portuguese were outed by the Dutch, who expanded their colony westward from Pernambuco. Also the Dutch didn’t stay long. The Portuguese reconquered Maranhão and São Luís. Obviously, there are hardly any traces of the French and Dutch occupations. Only a few street names and regional names remind of the foreign rulers. The Portuguese had destroyed everything of what was French or Dutch, after their victories. Due to prolonged economic malaise in São Luís, most buildings from the 17th and 18th century still exist. In 1997, the historical center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, as a well-conserved example of the Portuguese colonial style in Brazil.
Inside the cathedral, where preparations were
made for a marriage later that day.
Igreja da Sé
One of the striking historical buildings in São Luís is undoubtedly the cathedral. The full name is Igreja da Sé Nossa Senhora da Vitória, but is also known as Catedral Metropolitana. De cathedral, which construction was ordered by Diogo Machado da Costa, the third capitão of Maranhão, was already inaugurated in 1619, and had undergone various reforms since then. In 1687, the church underwent the first reform, which was concluded only three years later. It took more tha nseventy years fro another reform. This reform was not concluded. The actual church has the architectonic characteristics since the most recent reform in 1922.
Research about this cathedral was somewhat confusing, since many pictures show the cathedral painted in pink. Only recently the cathedral was repainted in beige.
The cathedral is not open during the entire day for visitors. Often, the tourist will be confronted with a locked door. I was lucky to visit the cathedral in the morning. I was allowed to take pictures, but without flash. It was strictly forbidden to take pictures or to film a chapel that was richly decorated with gold leaf. One of the most obvious decorations in the cathedral was the colorful painting on the ceiling: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The cathedral bears many baroque decorations and statues. I hardly had left the church, when I noticed that the gate was being locked again…
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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