Listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, Ouro Preto is a masterpiece of Brazilian colonial architecture. In their churches and museums, masterpieces such as Athayde and Aleijadinho are exposed.
When, in the late seventeenth century pioneers found gold in the streams of the region Itacolomi, it led to a real immigration stream in search of the “Eldorado”. Paulistas, Northeastern and Portuguese newcomers formed small camps, with their chapels in various parts of the region: the camps of Antonio Dias, the Abbe Faria, the Morro de São Sebastião, the Passa Dez, the Caquende, the Ouro Preto – with creation of the Captaincy of São Paulo and Minas de Ouro.
In 1711, these scattered villages were brought together under the name of Villa Rica de Albuquerque today Ouro Preto. Their distance from the coast and the rapid decay of the mines after 1760, the city became the example of colonial Brazil, conserving itself as a significant artistic and architectural ensemble of the time. As the first major city in the hinterland, served as a hub to link to the coastal economies with the region of the mines. The intense economic activity of the city in the eighteenth century, represents an artistic and cultural development itself. The Baroque Ouro Preto, unlike the Baroque in Brazilian coastal cities, can be regarded as typically Brazilian. Historically, during the same century, evolved libertarian movements inspired by Enlightenment ideas and the example of the American Revolution, as the Inconfidência Mineira.
WHEN TO GO
The climate is humid in summer (December to March) and dry in winter. It can be cold in winter as it is at an altitude of 1179m.
To know and appreciate the historic buildings with ease, go outside periods of holidays and long weekends. But whoever wants to shake and enjoy a folkloric dancing time, you can go during Carnival, it is a nice experience with parades blocks formed by students; and the “Festa do Doze” party in October, with lively streets day and night.
The city is still moving in Easter, when happen processions and the streets become carpets of flowers and sawdust. The month of July is also crowded due to the Winter Festival, with full schedule of concerts, theater and circus performances, exhibitions and art workshops.
Travelers who are arriving by plane have the option of flying to the airport of Pampulha in Belo Horizonte or the Confins International Airport which are 145 km away from Ouro Preto. To get in Ouro Preto leaving the Pampulha Airport the distance is about 40 km shorter than from Confins, but the number of flights are more limited, more focused on regional flights and smaller aircraft. Arriving at Confins Airport you can fly with Gol, Tam, Azul and Trip among others coming from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities of Brazil.
There are one main bus company circulating between Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto called Pássaro verde. You will have to get the bus at the “rodoviária de Belo Horizonte” (Belo Horizonte bus station), it is one of the few public buildings tumbled as Municipal Heritage in Brazil. More than 35,500 m² of floor space managed by the city of Belo Horizonte with the Municipal Regional Management Coordination who took that role since 2003.
WHAT TO DO IN OURO PRETO
Below is the description of available tours in Ouro preto and region.
On this tour, you will visit the main architectural attractions of Belo Horizonte: Oscar Niemeyer´s construction projects, the Mineirão soccer stadium and the various squares of the city, famed for being areas of cultural presentations and sports activities.
In this region of the ‘Inconfidentes’, Mariana has a pioneering role, it was the first village, the first capital and seat of the first bishopric of the state. Straight streets and rectangular squares reveal the uniqueness of this historic city that received an urban project that has also pioneered as the first planned city of Minas Gerais and one of the first in Brazil.
A full day to discover the meanderings of Ouro Preto. The title of World Heritage Site was not awarded by chance to Ouro Preto. The city hosts the largest architectural complex of the Brazilian Baroque, preserving jewelry like the churches of São Francisco de Assis, considered as an icon in the country and masterpiece Aleijadinho; Nossa Senhora do Pilar….A stroll down the slopes will be unforgettable!
This tour takes you to discover some fascinating Black Gold Natural Beauties. It is the perfect tour for those who love nature and history. New mines, a charming village surrounded by mountains. You can enjoy an invigorating walk through the breathtaking landscapes.
This is a really fantastic tour, where we will take a closer look to treasures that were long hidden beneath our feet. You could say that there is a fantastic and fascinating underground world, which makes us feel like a trailblazer who lays eyes for the first time in treasures that most people are simply not aware.
On this tour, you will learn the process to make Cachaça. The sugar cane used in the production of handmade distillate is collected manually. Then it goes through 4 steps sucha as : GRIND, FERMENTATION, DISTILLATION, AGING.
Inhotim Institute was conceived by entrepreneur Bernardo Paz in mid-1980s In 1984, the site was visited by the renowned landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who presented some suggestions and contributions to the gardens. Began to rise a large cultural space, with the construction of the first buildings designed to receive works of contemporary art. Also came to life the rich botanical collections.
Congonhas, the Baroque city asset, where we highlight the Basilica of ‘Bom Jesus de Matosinhos’. It has been awarded for the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1985, given the recognition of the talent and brilliance artwork Aleijadinho. You´ll check closely the magnificence of this masterpiece, especially the Prophets and the images of steps that cause an intense dramatic impression.
In backyards are mounted small wood stoves to produce sweet. All families of St. Bartolomeu know how to make candy. Those are not sold, but made for domestic consumption. Visitors arriving to St. Bartolomeuhave the impression back in time. Booths lined the church in the center of the square, the Velhas river, lush nature. For those seeking calm and tranquility, St. Bartolomeu is the ideal place.
The historical origins of wealth, art and culture mining extends the cities of Congonhas, Sao Joao del Rei and Tiradentes. Starting from Ouro Preto, follow the road towards the Real first destination to be visited. Congonhas. The fascination with Baroque art continues in São João Del Rei. Tiradentes, one of the most visited historic towns of Minas Gerais, high above the city find the most beautiful basilica, The ‘Matriz de Santo Antônio’
Considered a wildlife sanctuary, CARAÇA PARK has a complex architectural invaluable historically and culturally , covers the Shrine of ‘Nossa Senhora Mãe dos Homens’ and the old eighteenth-century college, passed by important personalities in the history of Brazil, as the presidents of the Republic Afonso Pena and Arthur Bernardes.
Santa Rita de Ouro Preto is considered the world capital of soapstone, material that was inside one of the bases for the ‘creative explosion’ of the baroque. Their production meets the national and international market. You will visit the factory where is extracted the product.