Don Bosco Sanctuary (Santuario Dom Bosco) in Brasilia pays tribute to the Italian saint who dreamed of a utopian city in 1883. The modern capital city of Brazil was begotten by this dream. The shrine is particularly impressive, with its interior bathed in heavenly blue light emanating from the walls and windows.
It all started with a dream and… a wish upon a star Don Bosco made in 1883, envisioning a utopian city of the future. He thought of and described it as a capital city governed by justice and catering to all the needs of a great nation. Notably, the saint said the city would be located in the New World, between the 15th and the 20th parallels. These were the beginnings of Brasilia as we know it today. Honouring Don Bosco and his aspirational dream, Don Bosco Sanctuary was built on the 15th parallel.
At a first glance from the outside, the sanctuary doesn’t look like much, although the floor-to-ceiling lancet window openings may call for a closer look. But the moment you enter the shrine, you are taken by the pervading blue light filtering through the windows, which cover almost all the walls, measuring 2,200 sqm altogether.
The windows are made of small stained glass squares in 12 different shades of blue and sprinkled with dots of white, following the design created by Claudio Naves and produced by Belgian artist Hubert Van Doome. Some of the windows swivel for ventilation.
The golden chandelier made of no less than 7,400 pieces of Murano glass, designed by architect Alvimar Moreira dominates the shrine and creates a stunning spectacle of light during nighttime.
Of course, the life-size statues of Don Bosco and Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora (Our Lady of Help) made of Carrara marble warmly guard the shrine inviting you in for a prayer at the massive altar made of a 10-ton marble block. Above the altar, a large Crucifix carved from a whole cedar tree offers you a sense of safety, peace and protection.