The imposing church perched high above Complexo Alemão
The Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Penha de França, commonly known as Igreja da Penha, sits proudly atop of a 69 metre-high rock, providing breathtaking views of zona norte. At night the church is a sight to behold, a glowing beacon visible for miles around that draws intrigued glares from anyone arriving at Galeão airport. It is also famous for its main staircase of 382 steps, a challenge regularly undertaken by dedicated pilgrims making vows as they climbed the stairs, sometimes even on their knees. For those not so light on their feet (or knees) their church is also served by a recently renovated cable car, a free service with the capacity to transport 500 people per hour. The wimps.