Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares is a neo-Gothic style church

Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares in Salvador
Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares in Salvador

The Church of Our Lady of the Seas or Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares is the only church in Bahia built in the Neo-Gothic style, characterised by verticality, a pyramid-shaped roof, pointed towers and a predominance of windows and rose windows.

The Carmelites built a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Seas (Nossa Senhora dos Mares) in 1749.

The chapel was more or less in the centre of the square in front of the present church, and it was only in 1871 that Captain Manuel da Costa Araújo and a group of faithful built the parish.

Its fourth vicar, Monsignor Anísio Ayres Esteves took office in 1927, when the old parish showed signs of not resisting time, in this period it was broken into by an ambitious young man from a respected family, where the tabernacle was violated and its solid gold ambula stolen, having its wafers thrown to the bush on the ground in front of the church, where in 1930 the foundation stone of the new matrix was laid, dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and the Secular Clergy.

Worship only began in 1937 with the transfer of the images and the procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the old to the new church. The works were still in progress, and despite the problems there was a good visitation, on average 180 baptisms were performed per Sunday, in addition to many weddings.

Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares em Salvador

Later the old parish was demolished and in its place built the current square Manoel da Natividade Maria.


Being the architecture taken from a catalogue of French works and following the influences of the Gothic Radiant period, reinforced concrete was used replacing stone in its construction of the parish.

On its exterior, we can emphasise its verticality and symmetry.

It is rhythmic with its buttresses that extend into pinnacles at its top and are interspersed with lacy and iron windows in the shape of ogival arches and its coloured stained glass windows with rose windows, which give a cheerful and special lighting to its interior, as well as decorated platbands.

It has a single tower, being slender and located in the centre of the main façade, it measures a little more than fifty metres high, with sequences of windows and pointed gablets decorated with cogulhos under the main entrance span and rising under the entire tower, including the slender coruchéu, where it has at the top a cross replacing the needle. Its main door is made of cushioned wood in the shape of an ogival arch.

Another important fact is the absence of botanical arches and a central rose window.

The church or Igreja Nossa Senhora dos Mares has a main entrance and two side entrances, and its hall-like plan includes a main nave, side aisles with marble altars dedicated to the saints Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lord Good Jesus of the Navigators, Saint Joseph the Worker and Our Lady of Sorrows, the main altar dedicated to Our Lady of the Seas, the ambulatory, where the confessional and the door to the sacristy are located, and a stone altar with the tombs of the church’s first priests: Monsignor Manuel da Natividade Maria, Monsignor Anysio Ayres Esteves, and Monsignor Vitalino de Munford.

To the right of the main entrance is a staircase leading up to the choir. The granite floor, The ceiling is covered in cross and star vaults, with chain-link ogives, supported by fasciculated pillars. On the roof are also carved six angels with hands placed around the coat of arms of the first national Eucharistic congress.

Tourism and Travel Guide to Salvador, Bahia and the North-East

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