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Catedral Metropolitana

With its futuristic Mayan pyramid-inspired design, this modern 20,000-capacity cathedral is a striking feature in the Rio de Janeiro cityscape.

The immense Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro) looks markedly different to most other Catholic cathedrals. Marvel at the mammoth pyramid-shaped structure from the outside and enter the interior to see the fabulous floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows, which are particularly stunning when the sun shines in through them.

The cathedral was the brainchild of architect Edgar Fonseca, who took inspiration from the design of ancient Mayan temples. Construction on the cathedral began in the late 1960s and lasted for 12 years.

Although the concrete, glass and steel conical form of the cathedral is eye-catching from the outside, the real eye-popping features are to be found inside. Enter the cathedral to get a real sense of its scale. Measuring 75 meters (246 feet) in height and with an internal diameter of 96 meters (315 feet), the cathedral can host 5,000 seated worshippers and a whopping 20,000 standing.

Examine the four floor-to-ceiling strips of colorful stained-glass windows, which ascend up the edges of the cathedral’s walls. Note how they join at the top to form a cross-shaped skylight through which the sun’s rays often pour through to great effect. The church also features several other murals and sculptures, though these tend to be overshadowed by the vivid stained glass. In stark contrast to the modern style of the building itself, the wooden pews are traditional in style.

Descend into the basement level of the cathedral to access the Museu de Arte Sacra. Browse the religious-themed objects on show here, including a baptismal font that was used in a royal christening and the throne of Dom Pedro II, the last ruler of the Empire of Brazil. A statue of Mother Teresa can also be seen outside the front of the cathedral.

Find the Catedral Metropolitana in central Rio, not far from Bonde Station. The cathedral is open daily, from early morning until evening. The museum has limited opening hours on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday only. Entrance to the cathedral is free. Pay a small fee to enter the basement museum.

Popular Activities at Catedral Metropolitana

Like to make your stop at Catedral Metropolitana even more special? Don't miss the chance to try one or two of these things to do:

For many more activities, take a look at our Centro things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Catedral Metropolitana


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Lodging Near Catedral Metropolitana

See all 2,171 Properties near Catedral Metropolitana
Hotel Atlântico Prime $35
Reviewed on May 22, 2019
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Hotel Atlântico Prime

Hotel Atlântico Prime

Rua do Resende 87, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
     
    4.2 of 5
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Asistan & atention was amaizin i will recoment with my friens

    Américas Granada Hotel $42
    Reviewed on Apr 6, 2019
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    Américas Granada Hotel

    Américas Granada Hotel

    Avenida Gomes Freire, 530 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
       
      4.2 of 5
      3.5 out of 5.0

      The hotel was lovely and clean, the beds were amazing, beautiful views from the roof top. Breakfast was great with plenty of choice. We would definitely stay here again

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro $30
      Reviewed on Mar 26, 2019
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      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Rua Senador Dantas, 25, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
         
        4.1 of 5
        3.5 out of 5.0

        Ótimo atendimento. Por parte dos funcionários. Atendeu o que eu procurava.

        Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro $35
        Reviewed on May 6, 2019
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        Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

        Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

        Rua Visc. de Maranguape, 9 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro
           
          3.7 of 5
          2.5 out of 5.0

          It was a hostel with hotel standards but still had a great hostel vibe. The staff were super friendly and helpful and all the facilities were great additions

          Windsor Florida Hotel $61
          Reviewed on May 22, 2019
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          Windsor Florida Hotel

          Windsor Florida Hotel

          Rua Ferreira Viana, 81, Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
             
            4.4 of 5
            3.5 out of 5.0

            A well located business hotel. The initial room was a twin rather than a double. On asking for a double we were moved and the room was of better quality. Excellent bathroom. Good breakfast. Good location. Good place to stay. Easy to get to / from.

            Casa Nova Hotel $35
            Reviewed on Feb 12, 2019
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            Casa Nova Hotel

            Casa Nova Hotel

            Rua do Riachuelo,105, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
               
              4.4 of 5
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Perfect location, very nice room and value. To turn on the power in the room you need to put your keycard in the reader, so when you leave, anything you wanted to charge will not charge.

              CaipiHostel 373
              Reviewed on Feb 8, 2019
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              CaipiHostel 373

              CaipiHostel 373

              Av. Gomes Freire, 373, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
                 
                3.6 of 5
                2.0 out of 5.0

                Eu adorei a estadia, o pessoal do hostel é maravilhoso e super atenciosos. voltarei 1 milhão de vezes .

                Windsor Asturias Hotel $56
                Reviewed on Apr 15, 2019
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                Windsor Asturias Hotel

                Windsor Asturias Hotel

                Rua Senador Dantas 14-Cinelandia, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                   
                  4.2 of 5
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Good location to downtown, value for money. Food options have potential for improvement.