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“extraordinary church in elavated isolation in city centre”

Sao Bento Monastery
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$97.00*
and up
Rio Half-Day Tour: São Bento Monastery, Santa Teresa District and Hippie Market...
Ranked #19 of 710 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Gregorian chants are performed on Sundays at this Benedictine complex, which was completed in 1641 and contains a spectacular church altar.
London
Level Contributor
187 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“extraordinary church in elavated isolation in city centre”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2014

I chided myself for not spotting the advantages of visiting on a Sunday when (I understand) you can also visit the monastery itself. So I compensated by obtaining information of the Mosteiro da Virgem in Petropolis and went there instead the following day for my monastic fix (and that was well worth it too). The church is a baroque feast which seems diametrically opposed to the simplicity of monastic life - but a treat to observe nonetheless. There is a little bookshop close by with information (mainly in portuguese) but also CDs of the monks making music.

Visited February 2014
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3 Thank LesFlamantsRoses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
87 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2014

Amazing. The church itself is wonderful. Don't miss the Gregorian Choir on Sunday mornings mass. There's a free parking lot.

Visited December 2013
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1 Thank Lu_Rio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
342 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 345 helpful votes
“Sunday Mass”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2014

I came by taxi from Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana to attend Sunday Mass . I had been cautioned by many that Centro was not safe during the weekends, because there are not very many people around, so I had the taxi wait for me. The return trip cost cien (100) reais and was worth it.

The 10 a.m. Sunday Mass featured Gregorian chants, I arrived a few minutes after 10 and there were no seats available, so I stood in the back of the church. The Mass was printed on a two page handout, so although it was in Portuguese, I was still able to follow along. I imagine it would not have been valuable to someone who is not familiar with Catholic Mass. Because the Mass includes Gregorian chants, it lasts about an hour. After Mass, I took photos of the church and when I was finished, I found the taxi driver waiting patiently for me by the front door of the church.

As other reviews have stated and the photos show, the interior of the monastery is very ornate. I alternated between gawking at the decor and trying to understand the Portuguese missal. It certainly made time pass. Mosteiro Sao Bento is located at the top of a hill and unlike many tourist attractions, there are no taxis waiting outside the church. I cannot speak for taxi availability at the bottom of the hill. I am glad I was able to get one that agreed to wait for me.

I recommend a visit here but plan ahead for how you are arriving and leaving. Also, if you plan on attending Mass, come early to get a seat.

Visited January 2014
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1 Thank CCC_wanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Extremely Intricate and Gorgeous”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

What a find! It is a bit hard to find (up a hill) and a bit small, but it is amazingly beautiful. The pictures do not do it justice. There is a great little gift shop as well. Must visit this when in Rio.

Visited January 2014
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3 Thank nateb2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jesup, GA
Level Contributor
231 reviews
124 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Small but impressive!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2014

We were toured the monastery on Sunday and enjoyed the beauty of the sanctuary filled with people celebrating mass...just wish we could have understood the language! It really is a jewel tucked into an unlikely exterior! Definitely worth a stop.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank paharlen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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