Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas

A masterpiece of the Baroque style reflecting in its architecture and ornamentation the transition period in which it was built

UNESCO World Heritage

A masterpiece by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

Anyone who visits the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos in Minas Gerais, Brazil, will be overwhelmed by its culture, Baroque architecture and the sensation it evokes of being transported back to the 18th Century.

The sanctuary consists of a church with a magnificent Rococo interior of Italian inspiration; an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets; and six chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, in which the polychrome sculptures by Aleijadinho are masterpieces of a highly original, moving, expressive form of Baroque art.

Antônio Francisco Lisboa by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The church, with a rococo style interior and walled churchyard, has an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the 12 prophets in soapstone. Additionally, there are six chapels arranged side by side on the slope in front of the temple, called Passos (Steps), illustrating the Via Crucis of Jesus Christ.

World Heritage site by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985. 

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage


The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos was conceived by creative genius, Antônio Francisco Lisboa, also known by his nickname “Aleijadinho”.

Twelve prophets by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage


Some of the most impressive and important features of the property are the well-preserved statues of the twelve prophets.

The Sanctuary by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The sanctuary dates from the second half of the 18th century and includes the Bom Jesus de Congonhas Church, the twelve sculptures by “Aleijadinho” and six chapels that portray the Steps of the Passion of Christ.

Inside the chapel by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage


Inside the chapel there are more than sixty wooden sculptures that describe the final moments of Jesus Christ.

Aleijadinho by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The soapstone statues together with the polychrome wooden sculptures depicting scenes of Christ’s Passion housed in the chapels stand as a crowning achievement of the creative genius of Francisco Antônio Lisboa, Aleijadinho, who bequeathed to humanity a truly impressive body of work. 

Feliciano Mendes by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The sanctuary was commissioned by Portuguese adventurer, Feliciano Mendes, in payment for a grace achieved.

A well preserved site by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The architectural and sculptural complex of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos represents a singular artistic achievement, a jewel of the human genius, reflecting the apex of Christian art in Latin America, as expressed in the work of Aleijadinho, a thoroughly original and expressive work of the Baroque style transported to the tropics. 

The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos in Congonhas marks a crossroads in the evolution of mid-17th century religious architecture in Portuguese America, more specifically Minas Gerais, as reflected in the basilica’s flame-like, slightly recessed towers and innovative rococo style façade which converge to form an important example of Baroque art in Latin America.

A major place of interest by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos stands out as one of the most important places for those interested in Baroque and Rococo.

Pilgrimage by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The site is enhanced by the devotion of the faithful who arrive on pilgrimage to the sanctuary.

Congonhas by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

In the Congonhas Museum, there is a modern collection of objects with more information and details. The museum is located in the nearby city of Congonhas which in itself is a place worth visiting together with the Cachoeira Park.

Outstanding Universal Value by Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do CongonhasUNESCO World Heritage

The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Congonhas remains in good condition. The material whole continues to express the full significance of the values attributed to the cultural property, representing a unique artistic achievement and outstanding example of 18th century Brazilian architecture.

Despite the changes brought on by the urban growth of Congonhas, the Sanctuary remains intact and survives to this day as a religious icon of the region. 

Take a tour of the site.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Embratur: www.embratur.gov.br
More on the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas and World Heritage: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/334
Photos: Embratur

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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