Being out of my plan, I visited Igarassu because, in my way to Itamaracá, the taxi driver suggested the detour. The surprise was very positive: History is Portuguese there, and they are doing a good work in recuperation.
It was a good idea, not exactly because of the announced highlight (the oldest church in Brazil) but because of saint Antonio church and its museum.
It’s a quick visit and, if you are passing nearby, I think you must also make the detour.
Santo Antonio Church
A little distant from the main attraction of Igarassu, this is a church that you must not skip.
It’s well recuperated and displays a beautiful baroque decoration, with a small museum.
The Cloister of Santo Antonio Convent
A good restoration job has been done in this baroque church, which allows a surprisingly interesting visit.
The church, built in 1588 and plundered by the Dutch, a few years later, was abandoned until being reconstructed in 1693. The small cloister, with big plants, is a cool centre of all the visitable points.
One excellent collection of Portuguese tiles fills the walls of Santo António church and corridors.
Some panels are already incomplete, but there are many in perfect condition after the recuperation work they suffered.
Included in Santo Antonio church there’s a small museum with 24 paintings, from the 16th to the 18th century.
Pictures of the display are forbidden, but not to the exterior… Easy to visit and deserving it.
S. Antonio Church choir
If you visit the church on your own, you will probably miss this part of it, which happens to be the best.
It’s closed, and the girl (or boy) that offers to lead you in, has the key. It’s cheap to pay the 2 Real they ask and accept the offer.
PS – The gentle young girl that lead us inside was so embarrassed and ashamed when I had to explain her WHO was St Anthony that the 2 Real became 5 to confirm that we did appreciate her effort and kindness.
My last tip about Santo Antonio church (promise!) is for the sacristy.
The harmony among tiles, roof and furniture is absolute, but that’s the place where more tiles are missing.
S. Cosme e Damião
They say that this is the oldest church in Brazil!
Ok. But they needed not to empty it, leaving only the main altar and nude walls.
Anyway, it keeps being Igarassu main attraction, and you may always proceed a little down to St Antonio church, where the display is very interesting
Waiting its turn
Close to S Cosme and Damião (one day I’ll check why do these two saints always share the same church and prayers) there’s a larger convent, seeming abandoned.
I know the budget is always short, but the church of Sagrado Coração de Jesus looks like deserving the same treatment gave to Santo Antonio.