Between the ministries and the downtown rodoviária, and within walking distance of either, the Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida is one of Brasília’s most striking edifices. Marking the spot where the city of Brasília was inaugurated in 1960, it is built in the form of an inverted chalice and crown of thorns; its sunken nave puts most of the interior floor below ground level. Some of the glass roof panels in the interior reflect rippling water from outside, adding to the sense of airiness in the cathedral, while the statues of St Peter and the angels suspended from the ceiling (the inspired gravity-defying creations of Brazilian sculptor Bruno Ceschiatti) help to highlight the feeling of elevation. Nevertheless, although some 40m in height and with a capacity of two thousand, the cathedral seems surprisingly small inside.

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