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Old Sé Cathedral.

Dive into the story of São Paulo Cathedral, a landmark that kicked off in 1589 when folks decided São Paulo de Piratininga needed a main church right in the village’s heart. This church, which stood where the Anchieta Monument is today, was finished around 1616.

In 1745, they tore it down to make room for a new church, right when São Paulo became a diocese seat. The new baroque-style church was located in the Sé square and wrapped up around 1764.

It was a typical colonial building, with a simple facade and a Portuguese royal coat of arms at the entrance. Inside, it was a showcase of period architecture, complete with gilded woodwork. The main chapel was the highlight, with tribunes, dressing rooms, and a cool altar featuring a painting of Nossa Senhora da Conceição flanked by São Pedro and São Paulo.

The church’s interior was a spectacle, with the ceiling painted by Almeida Junior and various altars dedicated to assorted saints. There was even a luxurious chapel of the Blessed Sacrament with a panel of the Divine Trinity.

But, as nothing lasts forever, this church was demolished in 1911 to make way for today’s Sé Square. In its place, we now have the Anchieta Statue. The new cathedral, which started going up in 1913, was inaugurated in 1954, even though it wasn’t quite finished.

And the old Sé Church? Well, in its place, we have a statue honoring José de Anchieta, crafted by Italian sculptor Heitor Usai and unveiled in 1954. A fine tribute to an important slice of our history!

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