Churches of Latin America: São Francisco in Salvador, Brazil

Continuing with our consideration of some of the churches of Latin America, today we turn to the Franciscan church of São Francisco in Salvador, Brazil. With the approval of Pope Sixtus V, the first church and monastery on this site was built by the Franciscans in 1587, but this would be destroyed during invasions by other colonial powers, resulting in the destruction of the first structures. The present building saw construction begin in 1686 and was completed by 1723. 

Facade of the church, made of local sandstone

The interior of the church is impressive to say the least, characterized by the sort of ornamentality we have come to expect of baroque in this region of the world, as well as Spain and Portugal. The interior of the church is covered with carved and gilt woodwork, decorating the interior like a jewel box.  

Like many of the great churches of Rome, the altars include Solomonic columns.  Being of colonial Portugese descent, the church also includes the classic, blue and white azulejo tiles on the lower portions of the church's decorative scheme, not to mention the cloisters of the monastery.

The High Altar

The high altar has impressive dimensions, built for the rites and ceremonies of the Solemn High Mass. Located above is a Franciscan crucifix showing St. Francis of Assisi embracing the crucified Christ. 

Equally impressive is the ornamental coffered ceiling, replete with various painted scenes.

Finally, we must leave with a view of the impressive sacristy of the church, which not only includes Portugese tiles, but elaborately carved baroque woodwork.  

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