Aparecida is a city in the state of São Paulo and is located 168km northeast of São Paulo City and 240km southwest of Rio de Janeiro.
The city is located in the fertile valley of the River Paraíba do Sul on the southern (right) bank.
is located 168km northeast of São Paulo and 240km southwest of Rio de Janeiro.
It is home to and named after the Basílica de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, declared so by Pope Pius XI in 1929. Pope Benedict XVI delivered a speech here in May, 2007.
Aparecida receives more than 7 million tourists a year making it the most popular religious pilgrimage site in Latin America. These pilgrims come to visit the Basilica containing the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida. This statue, thought to have been found in the Paraíba River in October 1717, is made of clay and measures 40 centimenters in height. The dark colour was produced by the years of exposure to candles and lamps around the altar. In 1978 it was attacked and reduced to hundreds of fragments which were meticulously put back together by specialists from the Museum of Sacred Art of São Paulo.
A visit to the new Basilica is a must-see if only for the vastness of its dimensions. The ex-voto room is especially interesting as it is lined from floor to ceiling with every possible wax representation of the human body conceivable. A room filled with pictures showing how people were cured or survived accidents with the Virgin's intercession is also worth seeing.
The city has other attractions besides the religious buildings such as a theme park, aquarium, and museums.
Among the local events are the Festa de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, on 12 October, which attracts more than 100,000 faithful, and the Festa de São Benedito, which has performances by several folkloric groups.