The Sao Francisco (Saint Francis) Church and Convent is one of Salvador’s most popular tourist attractions. This 18th century complex, located in the town’s historic centre, is a magnificent example of Portuguese colonial wealth and religious power. Apparently the church took 800kg of gold to decorate.
Woman wearing traditional Salvadoran costume in front of Sao Francisco Church
Sao Francisco Church is surrounded by old buildings in Salvador’s historic centre
This inscription outlines the church history in Portuguese and English
Blue and white tile facades illustrating sayings
Tiles depicting the saying “the fruit of labour is glory”, Sao Francisco Convent
Cloisters surrounding the convent courtyard are covered in blue and white tile scenes illustrating sayings written in Latin at the top. Translated into English, the sayings included:
- Nothing is more useful than silence
- The virtue is impertubable
- Money permits everything
- At first care for the soul
- In every situation of life it is possible to philosophise
- The times change and we change with them
For a R$0.50 donation one can light an electric candle in Sao Francisco Church
The church’s wooden panel ceiling is decorated with paintings
Supporting pillars covered in gold leaf must be hard work, Sao Francisco Church
The church’s interior is outrageously decorated
The closest I’ve been to gold for a while, Sao Francisco Church
Entrance hall wall and ceiling painting, Sao Francisco Church and Convent
For philatelists, the Sao Francisco complex also has a stamp exhibition in an adjoining hall. The exhibition includes stamps from Portuguese colonial times.
Entry to the church and convent is only R$5, including a leaflet, and I highly recommend a visit for anyone visiting Salvador.