Chapel of the Sant’Ana Sugar Mill
Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil
The extremely beautiful chapel of Sant’Ana is one of the most unusual examples of 16th-century rural chapels. It is located on the bucolic shores of the River Engenho, surrounded by trees and with a small cross in front. The lands of the Sant’Ana plantation belonging to Mem de Sá (who had received them from the donatory of the Ilhéus captaincy, Jorge de Figueiredo) were donated in 1563 by his daughter the Countess of Linhares to the Jesuits of Saint Antony’s College in Lisbon, who established two estates here: Inês and Sant’Ana. After that order was expelled from the region, the plantation passed into the hands of the Crown and subsequently in 1810 to Felisberto Caldeira Brandt, the future Viscount of Barbacena. Spix and Martius lodged here during their 19th-century visit to Ilhéus. The chapel’s incomplete T-shaped floor plan is limited to a nave, a chancel and a sacristy. At the front is a churchyard, and the façade has a broad porch and bell gable, a common feature of Jesuit chapels. The stone and mortar construction has a gable façade with an oculus in the axis of the composition. It was listed by IPHAN in 1984.
Ana Maria Lacerda