Parish Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
Pirenópolis, Meia Ponte, Goiás, Brazil
The work on the church began in the same year as the occupation of the territory of Meia Ponte, i.e. in 1728. It was built in several stages. Its final appearance consisted of two towers flanking the main body, which was surmounted by a triangular pediment with a central oculus. According to Jayme, the Portuguese Alexandre Pinto Lobo de Sá was mainly responsible for its construction, along with the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament. The richly carved woodwork, the ceiling of the chancel attributed to the meiapontense (native of Meia Ponte) Inácio Pereira Leal and the monumental scale of the building expressed in simple lines were recognised as national heritage in the 1940s. This example of the baroque style in Goiás has reached our present time in the form of an integral whole. The building underwent a series of alterations over the years. The work completed in 1999 was considered to be the most important for revealing some artistic features that had lain concealed for years. The richest religious monument in Goiás was burnt to the ground early one morning in 2002. Work on a new church soon began and three years later its main monument was returned to the city. The architecture was restored, but the special artistic features had been lost forever. The solution was a contemporary intervention which made use of local memory: the high altar of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People, unused since the mid-20th century, was placed in the chancel. Located on the highest ground in the centre, the parish church can be seen from various points around the city. Its square, where the Cavalhadas (jousts) were once staged, has been mutilated by large buildings that are out of harmony with the interpretation of the area. From the forecourt of the parish church, Saint Hilaire saw what he considered to be the most beautiful view during all his journeys across Brazil.