6. The Metropolitan Cathedral
This cathedral serves as the seat of the archbishop of Rio and honors Saint Sebastian, the city's patron saint. In 1979, it replaced a number of old, smaller churches that had served as cathedrals since 1676. Its conical design is significant for a few reasons and was inspired by the Mayan pyramids. However, it differs in its circular shape, which signifies the proximity of believers to God, and is reminiscent of the miter worn by bishops. The four stained-glass windows that stretch floor to ceiling meet at the top to form a transparent cross. They symbolize not only God descending down to mankind, but also the four characteristics of the Church: one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. The large structure fits 20,000 standing worshipers or 5,000 seated, and houses the Sacred Art Museum in its basement.