Salvador has some of the most beautiful churches in Brazil, including the famous São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador (Convento e Igreja de São Francisco)which is located in the historical center and was built between 1708 and 1723. Most decoration of the church and convent were finished by 1755. The main façade, which faces a large rectangular square with a large stone cross (above), shows influences of Mannerist architecture.
The most important and magnificent characteristic of this church is its exuberant inner decoration. All surfaces inside – walls, pillars, vaults and ceilings are covered by golden sculptured gilt woodwork and paintings. You are almost caught off guard by how beautiful it is when you enter.
The altarpieces display the typical Solomonic columns and concentric arches decorated with golden foliage, angels and birds, while the vaults of the aisles are covered by wooden panels with paintings. The lower parts of the walls in the main chapel and outdoor areas are covered with blue and white tile(azulejo) panels, by Bartolomeu Antunes de Jesus which were imported from Lisbon. They are beautiful and depict scenes of the life of St Francis of Assisi.
With art on the walls, ceilings and floors wherever you turn there is something striking to see. The decoration of the church is considered one of the most complete and imposing in Portuguese-Brazilian Baroque gilt woodwork art (talha dourada), being a perfect example of the “golden church” (igreja dourada).