Set on the eastern side of Plaza Bolívar, Caracas' cathedral started its life in the mid-16th century as a mere mud-walled chapel. A church later replaced it, only to be flattened by the 1641 earthquake. Built from 1665 to 1713, the 'new' cathedral is packed with dazzling gilded altars and elaborate side chapels; the most famous is that of the Bolívar family, which can be easily recognized by a modern sculpture of The Liberator mourning his parents and bride.

Bolívar was baptized here, but the baptismal font now stands in the Casa Natal de Bolívar. Also take a look at the fine colonial altarpiece at the back of the chapel. The wide, five-nave interior, supported on 32 columns, was largely remodeled in the late 19th century.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Caracas attractions

1. Museo Sacro de Caracas

0.03 MILES

Set in a meticulously restored colonial building that stands upon the site of the old cathedral cemetery, this museum displays a modest but carefully…

2. Plaza Bolívar

0.05 MILES

This leafy square is the nucleus of the old town. It's always alive with huddled groups of caraqueños engaged in conversation and children feeding freshly…

3. Museo Bolivariano


This museum has successfully preserved its colonial style and displays a variety of independence memorabilia, from muskets to medals and shaving sets to…

4. Concejo Municipal


Occupying half of Plaza Bolívar’s southern side, the city hall was erected by the Caracas bishops from 1641 to 1696 to house the Colegio Seminario de…

5. Iglesia Santa Capilla


This neo-Gothic church, one block north of Plaza Bolívar, is modeled on the Sainte Chapelle of Paris. It was ordered by General Antonio Guzmán Blanco in…

6. Casa Natal de Bolívar

0.11 MILES

Bolívar’s funeral took place just two blocks from the house where, on July 24, 1783, he was born. The interior of Bolívar’s birthplace has been…

7. Asamblea Nacional

0.15 MILES

As part of his mad dash toward modernization in the 1870s, Guzmán Blanco commissioned an ambitious, neoclassical seat of congress, the National Assembly,…

8. Iglesia de San Francisco


Just south of the Capitolio Nacional, the Church of San Francisco was built in the 1570s, but was remodeled on several occasions during the 17th and 18th…