I chickened out of the long bus journey from Sao Luis to Olinda (having decided to miss out a heritage site that was vaguely on the way) and flew to the nearby city of Recife instead, from where Olinda is a short bus ride north up the coast.
This is another Portuguese colonial town founded in the sixteenth century, but having been burned down by the Dutch it was rebuilt in the eighteenth century and consequently has a lot of Baroque churches and monasteries.
The town’s wealth was built on slave-cultivated sugar cane and was the home of the aristocratic plantation owners. Recife meanwhile was a commercial centre, home to traders and craftsmen associated with maritime trade. Olinda was the regional capital until the nineteenth century, when it moved to Recife, and there was a great deal of rivalry between the two conurbations.
The first church, and associated monastic spaces, that I visited was also the most attractive internally. Along with gilt wood carvings and painted ceiling panels there are many tile panels depicting religious scenes.
Those in the cloister all included an instrument for the mortification of the flesh at the bottom of each panel:
The town has a steep hill to one side of the centre, from which the highrises of Recife can be seen.
Although not necessarily part of the town’s UNESCO listing, I liked the bold colours that many houses are painted.
For the Lego model I chose this monastery:
Which turned out like this: