Important shelter for the elderly and one of the best examples of 19th century civil architecture in Bahia
Anyone passing through the Historic Center of Salvador wonders how many stories each one of those streets and colonial houses holds. At some points on the tour, it is possible to see a large and beautiful yellow building, full of windows and, of course, most people ask themselves: what is it? Is it possible to visit?
The Lar Franciscano Asilo Santa Isabel is located in the Saúde district. Its stairs lead to a gate with secondary access through Baixa dos Sapateiros, right next to Pelourinho. The nursing home is one of the best examples of 19th century civil architecture in Bahia. In the halls and rooms of Lar Franciscano, there is antique furniture that show the neoclassical style of the place, as well as its garden located in the central part, with four beautiful marble sculptures representing the seasons. The lobby floor in colored lioz marble portrays immense beauty.
The plan is by the Lieutenant Colonel of the Military Engineers of the Empire, João Bloem. It has 2 main halls, 75 rooms and more than 100 windows. The Italian marble staircase gives an air of pomp to the beautiful façade.
The Lar Franciscano Santa Isabel was founded in 1848 by members of the Third Order of St. Francis. On the building’s façade, the spelling is still kept that way, but it was already called Casa de Asylo de Santa Isabel and today it bears the name of Lar Franciscano Asilo Santa Isabel. In the early days, it sought to provide shelter for the elderly members of the Order, as it still does today. Currently, it houses about 98 residents and accepts people from outside the religious order as well.
Its origins date back to the foundation of a hospital by the Order, in 1806, which was transformed into an old people’s home. There was the idea of building this hospital in the 17th century, when wills of the time registered donations for its construction.
In the early 20th century, the facilities were renovated and expanded. The works were completed in 1914 and new renovations were carried out in 1933, with the installation of a library and the construction of a new chapel.
The construction of the current architectural complex, in neoclassical style, began in 1848 and opened in 1860, including the primitive Chapel of Santa Isabel. According to history, the place was visited by D. Pedro II, in the inauguration decade, and was named in honor of the emperor’s daughter, Princess Isabel.
Today, under the name of Lar Franciscano, the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters, since 1932, have been responsible for looking after the institution and caring for the elderly. The property was listed as a Cultural Property of Bahia, in 2002, by the Institute of Artistic and Cultural Heritage (Ipac). In 2017, it was renovated again, with works on the façade and lighting.
Visitations and Masses
Masses take place only on Sundays, but are not open to the public, being only for the home residents.
Before the pandemic, the chapel could be rented for baptisms and weddings. The space only held ceremonies, without reception.
Visits are very restricted and must be scheduled by phone 71 3243-1972 (speak preferably with Eliane, the Institution’s Director).
How guided tours work: groups must be organized with up to 3 people. It is only possible to stay at the place from 9am to 11am. There is a monitor to guide visitors and also tell the story of the place. The tour includes some internal places and the staircase, from which beautiful photos are produced. A fee of R$15.00 per person is charged.
Group photos on the staircase
Many groups of undergraduate students seek the Lar Franciscano Asilo Santa Isabel to take the traditional class photo on the steps of the building. In this case, those interested need to call for prior scheduling and access is through the Baixa dos Sapateiros entrance. For this type of action, it is not allowed to enter the premises of the Home, for the safety of the residents. The hours are the same, from 9 am to 11 am, and a conservation fee of R$15.00 per person is also charged.
Attention to the protocols:
You can go out on the street now, but the safety protocols against COVID-19 must be maintained
The city of Bahia began the green phase of the “Plano Salvador” to resume economic activities on July 23, 2021. Find out all the information on this link.
Remember that the use of a facemask and 70º alcohol gel is still necessary to avoid Covid-19 contamination.
You can only circulate in Lar Franciscano Asilo Santa Isabel wearing a mask, accompanied by the guide and with permission.
Lar Franciscano Asilo Santa Isabel
Address: Rua Jogo do Lourenço, 22 – Saúde, Salvador – BA, 40040-600
Phone: 71 3243-1972 (More information and scheduling).
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 11am.