Old Vila Rica Welcomes History Lovers
Named after dark gold, city brings the quietness of the countryside along with the gracefulness of tradition
The city of Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerais, is well known for its colonial architecture. It was the first Brazilian city to be considered a world heritage site by Unesco in 1980, and is home to a magnificent Baroque architectural ensemble, one of the best preserved in the world.
The history of the city begins at the end of the 17th century, when an anonymous adventurer encountered curious dark stones (dark gold with a layer of palladium) and initiated one of the biggest gold races of humanity.
Tons of gold were sent to Portugal in the 18th century, and what remained in the region produced Baroque wonders that enchant those who visit the city.
In the historic center, alleys and streets you will find rich fountains, townhouses, chapels and churches of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Another example of the Baroque style, is the Matriz Nossa Senhora do Pilar, that is decorated with more than 400 kg of gold. The graceful Museu do Oratório has pieces of different styles that celebrate the miners religiosity.
The São Francisco de Assis Church was designed and decorated by Aleijadinho, and is considered his masterpiece. The image of San Francisco is thrilling.
The sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, Aleijadinho, was one of the most important artists of Minas Gerais Aleijadinho died in 1814, and was honored in 1968 with the creation of the Aleijadinho Museum, dedicated to preserving and exhibiting objects of sacred art.
The Museu da Inconfidência, which guards the memory of one of the most important separatist uprisings of the colonial period, is also another attraction of Ouro Preto.
A trip not to be missed is to ride the Maria Fumaça until Mariana. In the city, you will find hotels, hostels, cafes, shops, antique stores and craft fairs that sell pieces made from soapstone.
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