Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora D’Ajuda, Porto Seguro, State of Bahia, Brazil
The district of Arraial d ‘ Ajuda contemplates the first sanctuary of Brazil: the Church of Nossa Senhora d’ Ajuda. The image of the saint arrived in 1549, brought by the Portuguese Jesuits. The religious arrived in these lands in three ships: Conceição, Salvador and Ajuda, which soon after came naming the churches.
The construction of the sanctuary, which housed the image of Our Lady of Help, began around 1550. As was customary, the hermitages were built in a rather primitive way, with structures of straw. Each one had an altar of greeting to Our Lady with the movable altarpiece, to facilitate its removal.
Only in 1772 the great work of stone and lime was accomplished by the Ouvidor José Machado Monteiro. Since then the temple has undergone several interventions, the most important of which took place in 1999/2000, carried out by the Ministry of Culture and IPHAN – Institute of National Historical and Artistic Patrimony. Already in 2006, after heavy rains in the region, were made restructures in the surroundings and a new staircase was constructed.
Arraial d ‘ Ajuda is marked by a tradition of pilgrimages. On foot or on horseback, in the old days, entire families made their pilgrimages to the locality for the party, which takes place every August 15th. Behind the church, beyond the exuberant view, there is a source of pure water, considered miraculous by many.
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