Museum and Cultural Center of Saint Francis in João Pessoa is made up of the Sao Francisco Church and the Convent Santo Antonio, which is one of the city’s best examples of highly embellished baroque architecture and the Popular Culture Museum. Construction of the church began in 1589 and was not completed until 1770, due to interruption from battles with the Dutch and French. The attached convent was built in 1779. The Popular Museum inside the complex has a permanent display of folklore, xylographs and baroque and sacred art.
The convent of Santo Antonio is considered the finest example of Franciscan architecture in Brazil. The convent was designed in 1590 by the Franciscan architect Francisco dos Santos, but construction was only begun in 1701 with the construction of the Capela da Ordem Terceira. The cloister was completed about 1730. The convent has a huge forecourt, which is bounded by walls on either side and richly adorned with azulejos and statues.
The Museum of Cultural Center of Saint Francis is open from 9am to noon and again from 2pm to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday 2pm to 5pm. It is located in the historical center of João Pessoa on the San Francisco Square.