You may ask, "if you disdain religion so much, why visit churches?" there are several reasons:
1. Artistically they are amazing
2. Architecturally they are amazing as well
3. I like climbing massive amounts of stairs to the top of a tower (seriously - no sarcasm here) the views from the top are amazing!
4. In the hot season, they are usually quite cool and refreshing.
In Brazil many of the cathedrals we tried to visit were closed. This was a bit surprising..... But in the town of Penedo, one was open: Nossa Senhora Concente Church. (the name is in Portuguese, it pretty much mean our lady of something - the virgin Mary I assume).
Walking in the church, which was plain and unassuming from the outside, I was struck by it's beauty on the inside.
But that is not why I dedicate a whole blog post just to this church. Take a look at this next photo and notice that there appears to be a door or part of the wall with a not quite flush board.
This was a door to freedom. When opened, we saw a space between the wall. Just wide enough for people. Before slavery was abolished in Brazil, this church was part of their underground railroad. Escaped slaves would hide in this opening during the day and at night could roam freely in the church. The town is on the San Francisco River which leads to the ocean. The slaves would hide until passage on a ship to freedom (away from Brazil) could be arranged.
This is one church whose actions I not only approve of, but find quite admirable!
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