Pilgrimage Church of Congonhas

Pilgrimage Church of Congonhas (World Heritage)

The pilgrimage church built in 1758 above the city of Congonhas is considered a masterpiece of the Brazilian Baroque and Rococo. According to pharmacylib, the twelve life-size statues of the prophets in front of the church and the cloister consisting of six chapels are outstanding.

Sanctuary of Congonhas: facts

Official title: Pilgrimage church “Good Jesus” by Congonhas
Cultural monument: »Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matozinhos«, pilgrimage church with a beautiful portal design by 12 life-size prophets made of soapstone (soapstone), six Passion Stations on the pilgrimage route, including the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus by Antônio Francisco Lisboa, called »Aleijadinho«
Continent: America
Country: Brazil
Location: Congonhas do Campo, south of Belo Horizonte
Appointment: 1985
Meaning: a masterpiece of the Brazilian Baroque and Rococo

Sanctuary of Congonhas: history

1757-71 Construction of the pilgrimage church
1796-1805 Creation of the figures of the passion story
1808-18 Construction of 6 chapels for the characters from the passion story

The hour of the prophets

To the south of the sooty mining metropolis Belo Horizonte you drive through a curved, green meadow and mountain landscape, in whose valleys the settlements are thrown into cubes. One of them is Congonhas do Campo, a town that hardly differs from the rest of the towns with its poor huts and bare concrete buildings. And yet it houses an incomparable treasure trove of baroque art – the pilgrimage church “Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matozinhos”.

Every year pious believers make a pilgrimage to the “Good Jesus” of Congonhas; but this place is equally a destination for art lovers. The pilgrimage church was donated by the Portuguese Feliciano Mendes in gratitude for a wonderful rescue and was built in the second half of the 18th century on a mountain slope above the village. Year after year, countless pilgrims climb stairs to the church. You pass in awe of six chapels, in which the stations of the Passion of Jesus Christ are portrayed – noble pieces of jewelry made of cedar wood and a truly masterful sculptural work from the late baroque era.

But it is less the details that fascinate the visitor at first sight than the entire closed ensemble of the complex with the six (instead of originally seven planned) chapels, the stairs and finally the church on the hill, in front of which there is a wide terrace that looks like a gigantic open-air altar. This terrace, called »Adro«, with the symmetrically staggered, life-size figures of the twelve ancient biblical prophets exudes an elegant severity and piety that no visitor can escape.

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Michäas, Nahum, Habakuk, Sophonias, Aggäus, Zacharias and Malachias, the twelve prophets cut from soapstone, each with their own unmistakable facial features, facial expressions, position and garb: They are masterpieces that go far go beyond the putti and doll-like representation of human figures from the baroque era. They are the last creations of the ingenious Antônio Francisco Lisboa, called “Aleijadinho”, called “Krüppelchen”, who mostly lived in Ouro Preto, where he built numerous churches and created sculptural masterpieces.

Aleijadinho was, so to speak, Balthasar Neumann and Tilman Riemenschneider in one person; he, who had never left the Portuguese colony at the time and who came from a connection with a black house slave, learned his trade from his father, a respected builder, and continued his self-didactic training in later years. In his prime, leprosy destroyed his body and ate his bones. But the insidious disease did not break his creativity; Finally, he had the assistants tie the tools to the stumps and worked feverishly day and night on the completion of the figures of Congonhas.

The twelve stone prophets and the remaining 52 sculptures of the Stations of the Cross are the legacy of this “cripple”, a genius of baroque art, who was superior to all other artists of the time. Aleijadinho knew better than anyone else how to harmonize sculpture and architecture. The ensemble around the pilgrimage church “Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matozinhos” rightly belongs to the special cultural heritage of humanity. Anyone who leaves this magical place through the ordinary city of Congonhas and the busy expressway returns to the valley of tears from here and now.

Pilgrimage Church of Congonhas

Central Amazon protected area (World Heritage)

The Jaú National Park in the Amazon region encompasses the entire course of the Jaú up to its confluence with the Río Negro. Like the Río Negro, the Jaú is a so-called black water river. The national park is one of the most species-rich areas on earth and is the habitat of numerous endangered animals. In 2003 the world heritage was expanded to an area of ​​more than 6 million hectares.

Central Amazon Protected Area: Facts

Official title: Central Amazon Protected Area
Natural monument: With a total area of ​​over 60,000 km², it is the largest protected area in the Amazon basin; Jaú National Park with 22,000 km², largest national park in the Amazon basin; one of the most biodiverse areas on earth
Continent: America
Country: Brazil
Location: located on the Rio Negro
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Extremely diverse vegetation and fauna; outstanding testimony to a black water ecosystem