If you’re into seeing the most amazing churches the world has to offer, then Portugal’s Igreja de São Francisco should definitely be on your list. This fabulous Franciscan structure, located in Porto, boasts Baroque features and is one of the oldest in Portugal – dating back to the 13th century.
And, as if that wasn’t enough incentive to check it out, the entire interior is done in intricate, carved panels covered in a layer ultra-fine gold leaf.
The gold leaf isn’t original. It was added during an 18th century makeover, then was subsequently looted during the Napoleonic invasions (the church was also used as a stable by occupying troops after the monks fled). During the Portuguese Civil War, the attached convent suffered a serious fire, but the church survived and was used as a warehouse until the beginning of the 20th century.
Now, you can visit the space as a museum, and the precious panels have been completely restored. As a bonus, you can also check out the building’s super cool catacombs!
h/t: Atlas Obscura
Check these out before you go!