Catedral de Brasília
One of Niemeyer’s undisputed masterpieces is the Catedral Metropolitana de Nossa Senhora da Aparecida (Eixo Monumental, tel. 61/3224-4073, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon., 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun.). Built on the spot where Brasília was inaugurated, the cathedral’s graceful hourglass structure consists of 16 reinforced concrete columns whose thorny tips thrust skywards. The columns provide support for the immense panes of stained glass designed by Marianne Peretti that make the subterranean church seem bathed in heavenly light.
The cathedral seems small from the outside. However, once inside you’ll be amazed by the soaring spaciousness enhanced by the clean lines and use of white marble.
Paintings by Athos Bulcão and a panel depicting the Way of the Cross by modernist painter Emiliano Di Cavalcanti are on display, but the most striking contribution is the three floating angels suspended in the air. They are the work of Alfredo Ceschiatti, who also designed the statues of the four apostles near the entrance.
Try to contain any oohs and ahs—the acoustics are such that a word muttered in a low voice can be clearly heard from 25 meters (82 feet) away.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition