During the 17th and 18th century, Brazil faced one of most important and rich periods on its history. By that time, explorers found enormous mines of gold and precious gems in the mountains in the interior of the country, in a region so-called Minas Gerais (general mines).
In this region, the richness of the mines created spectacular cities with rich architecture and art. After the exhaustion of these mines and the beginning of a new economic cycle in the coffee farms, cities like Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes and Diamantina were virtually abandoned, leaving a spectacular treasure behind. Today they are called the “Historical Cities”, forming one of the richest
Among all the Historical Cities, Ouro Preto is certainly the most important example. Located at the Espinhaço mountain range - about 1 hour from Belo Horizonte and 7 hours from Rio de Janeiro – Ouro Preto was the focal point of the gold rush and Brazil's golden age in the 18th century and became a cultural center and one of the country’s most important cities.
After centuries of abandonment, its architectonic complex and cobblestone streets have been preserved in its original state and have escaped from irrevocable signs of modern urbanization. No skyscrapers or fast food chains can be found in this charming historical town what have taken UNESCO to declare it as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its impressive and well preserved colonial architecture.
The colonial buildings and churches in Portuguese Baroque style are spread all over the city, but the most important examples are located around the Tiradentes Square. Some churches, such as the Matriz Nossa Senhora do Pilar, which interior is covered by gold and decorated by sculptures made by Mestre Aleijadinho, are considered the most important example of the baroque art in the world.
Other important cities with similar history and impressive colonial architecture are Mariana, Congonhas, Diamantina and the lovely Tiradentes and small town that became a charming destination with great restaurants, bars and rich cultural life.
See other attractions in Ouro Preto and the historical cities of Minas Gerais clicking at the link below.
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