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The monastery of S.Bento stands on one of the four hills which were landmarks in the heart of Rio de Janeiro in the sventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was begun in 1617, and steadily thereafter extended and enriched by remarkable 'talhas' (wood carvings) and paintings - the works of architects, sculptors, engravers and painters - throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, always adapting to changing tastes, but never losing a sense of unity. The same observations might be made of the more recent buildings near the monastery - a secondary school and a hostel - thanks to the sensitivity and discernment shown by the Benedectine community which still inhabits the monastery.