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Church of Our Lady of Candelaria

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Once the tallest structure in all of Rio de Janeiro, the Church of Our Lady of Candelaria, with its striking combination of Baroque, Neoclassical, and Neo-Renaissance design styles, has a marred history. In modern times, the cathedral is best known for the cold-blooded shootings by the police of a group of homeless children sleeping just outside the doors of the church in 1993. A decade earlier, the church played host to the funeral mass of teenager Edson Luis de Lima Souto, killed by police action during a peaceful protest against Brazil’s military dictatorship (which ruled the country from 1964-1985). Contemporary tragedies aside, the church holds a central place in the history of Rio and the hearts of its citizens.

First established by a group of Spanish settlers in 1609, after the near-sinking of their ship Candelaria in a storm, the church began as a small chapel.

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