The Sao Bento Monastery is a great place to visit in downtown Rio even if you’re not into religious sites. If you’re religious or into meditation or spirituality, then this is the place for you. Traditional Sunday mass begins at 10:00 am and is celebrated with organ music and Gregorian chanting. Unfortunately, São Bento has become part of sightseeing tours so it can get crowded, but it is possible to avoid the crowds. Read on.
Sao Bento Monastery Details
Sunday mass at 10:00 AM is the most popular, but if you are willing to wake up early, the monks also sing during the 7:30 mass Monday-Friday and 8:00 on Saturdays. This may not be so bad, since it would allow you to check out other cool places nearby before it gets too hot. Also, mass during the week is almost empty so the experience is a little more intimate.
Don't forget that this is a place of worship. Do not use flash when taking pictures and be respectful of the people attending the mass.
It's very easy to get there with public transit. Check out this video.
You can can also ask a taxi/Uber/Cabify to drop you off at "Rua Dom Gerardo, 40".
Summary: Founded in 1590. The abbey's official name is Our Lady of Monserrat, but it's called Sao Bento because of the hill where it was built. It is also an all-boys school where many famous and powerful Brazilians have studied, and also a seminary. For full details check out the Wikipedia entry, which is pretty comprehensive.
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