Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Church, Sao Luis, State of Maranhao, Brazil

Shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios from one of the central avenues in Lamego (Avenida Dr. Alfredo de Sousa), climb to the top of the hill up an imposing baroque staircase with 686 steps ending in a shrine built in the rocaille style in the mid-eighteenth century for the worship of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, although it was not completely finished until 1905.

The steepness of the terrain accentuates the grandeur of the church and staircase in their setting, enveloped in the mystical atmosphere of the dense woodland forming the Parque de Santo Estevão, a very pleasant place to visit because of the many paths that wind amidst its carefully tended gardens.

The same Nicolau Nasoni who painted the cathedral ceilings designed some of the baroque works that decorate this monument, in particular a very beautiful granite fountain next to the shrine itself. Various landings enrich the monumental staircase with interesting sculptures, making the long climb of the pilgrims less arduous.

On the first landing, the highlight is the Pelican fountain, with two huge basins of different proportions; on the second is a small octagonal chapel built in the sixteenth century in honour of the Virgin Mary at the orders of the bishop D. Manuel de Noronha, which replaced the ruins of a small chapel devoted to St Stephen. This is followed by another landing with eighteen statues representing kings and patriarchs from Judaea, with a 22-metre high obelisk, decorated and supported by mythical atlantes, rising up from the middle of a monumental basin.

Finally, the shrine is reached: this is the epitome of the whole monument and is dedicated to the patron saint. The tomb of the founder, canon José Teixeira Pinto, who died in 1784, can be seen at the entrance to the nave.

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