The intricately detailed church was built with a Baroque façade while the interior is a combination of the Neoclassical and Neo-Renaissance styles.
Although very dark, the interior of the church is one of the most stunning I’ve seen in Brazil and perhaps all of South America.
The history of the church is very interesting. According to legend (but very possibly true), a ship called the Candelária almost sank in a storm in the early 17th century. A group of Spanish sailors aboard the ship built a chapel upon arrival in Rio to honor a promise they made during the storm. The chapel was built in 1609. Construction on the current church began in 1775 and it wasn’t completed until 1877.
A notorious incident in Brazilian history occurred outside of the church. On July 23, 1993, eight street children were killed and several others wounded by a group of men, some policemen, in retaliation for throwing stones at police cars the day before. The incident became known as the Candelária Massacre.
Across the plaza from the church is Casa França Brasil. It was originally a customs house opened in 1820 and is now a cultural center.
Note: The only time you should visit this area is during the weekdays. Nights and weekends are absolutely off limits. Nobody lives in this area and it is not safe to be there alone. You should also be aware of your surroundings and be very careful with valuables.