Main façade of a modern church next to Lake Pampulha

Worship inside a modern church in Pampulha

Jean Pierre Contasti
Jean Pierre Contasti

As part of the UNESCO-designated Heritage Site around Lake Pampulha in the city of Belo Horizonte, you can find a modern work of art by well-known architect Oscar Niemeyer. In a certain way, you could say that this, an unusual Roman Catholic place of worship, is a sister to the capital city of Brasília. Certainly, its location by the lake, along with its curious design, has made it a true landmark of the Mineiro capital.

View over Lake Pampulha with its surrounding buildings.
Panoramic view of Lake Pampulha, featuring the Niemeyer chapel | Photo by André Borges Lopes

Surely, controversy has surrounded the building ever since it was opened in 1943, only being consecrated by the city’s Archbishopric in 1959. So, as you reach it, marvel at the four undulating concrete parabolas decorated with white-and-blue murals and surrounded by landscapes from Roberto Burle Marx.

Worship area at the chapel in Pampulha, with black leathered cushions and a mural that features St. Francis of Assisi.
Worship area inside the Igreja da Pampulha | Photo by Ian

Moreover, its design is not only unique on the outside, as its inner structure features a masterful approach to modernity by using reinforced concrete. In other words, what resembles a hangar becomes a quiet room where, in a silent environment, you can reach God in a closer way. Furthermore, behold the beauty of panels depicting the Stations of the Cross, before hearing Mass under a vaulted masterpiece.

In conclusion, visit this icon of Belo Horizonte and share your encounter with Niemeyer’s work here on #Tripsst!

Divine modernity, you’re up!

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