Sao Francisco Church and Convent, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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.

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Woman wearing traditional Salvadoran costume in front of Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Sao Francisco Church is surrounded by old buildings in Salvador’s historic centre

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

This inscription outlines the church history in Portuguese and English

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Blue and white tile facades illustrating sayings

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

For a R$0.50 donation one can light an electric candle in Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The church’s wooden panel ceiling is decorated with paintings

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Supporting pillars covered in gold leaf must be hard work, Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The church’s interior is outrageously decorated

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The closest I’ve been to gold for a while, Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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.