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South America Destination Guide

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto For much of the wild, violent and debauched l8th, century, slaves in Minas Gerais were digging up half the gold being produced in the world. The baroque churches and sacred art that some of this loot paid for especially the sculptures by Aleijadinho (see the Congonhas section, later) account for over half of Brazil's national monuments. Of all the exquisite colonial towns scattered around Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto (population 56,000),87km southeast of Belo Horizonte, is the jewel in the crown. Ouro Preto has more of almost everything homogeneous baroque architecture, churches, Aleijadinho, tourists, traffic, boutiques and hawkers than any city in Brazil. The best months to visit, as throughout Minas, are the dry, cool ones: March to August.

Vila Rica de Ouro Preto (Rich Town of Black Gold), as it was originally known, was founded in 1711 amid the western hemi sphere's richest gold deposits. At the height of the gold boom in the mid 18th century, there were 110,000 people (mainly slaves) in Ouro Preto. As the boom tapered off toward the end of the 18th century, the miners found it increasingly difficult to pay the taxes demanded by Portugal, and in 1789 the poet dentist Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier (nicknamed Tiradentes, 'Tooth Puller') and others hatched a famous revo lutionary plot called the Inconfidencia Mineira. Ile rebellion was crushed in its early stages and Tiradentes ended up being drawn and quartered.

Ouro Preto is lkm above sea level. You need at least two days to see the town and its surroundings properly. The rain slicked, cobbled streets are steep, so you need com fortable walking shoes with good tread.

Places to Visit

Rua das Lajes
Capela do Padre Faria
Igreja de Santa Efigenia dos Pretos
Manuel Francisco Lisboa
Igreja de Santa Efigenia dos Pretos
Igreja de Slo Francisco de Assis
Museu da Inconfidencia
Escola de Minas
lgreja NS do Carmo
Museu do Oratorio
Matriz de NS do Pilar

Ouro Preto Hotels


Pousada Do Arcanjo - Rua Sao Miguel Arcanjo, 270 Ouro Preto 35.400-000 Brazil
Luxor Pousada Hotel - R. Dr. Alfredo Baeta 16 Ouro Preto MG 35400-000
Pousada Sao Francisco
lgreja de Sao Francisco de Paula
Pousada Jair Inacio
Albergue Ouro Preto
Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis
Hospedaria Antiga
Pousada Ouro Preto
Pousada Tiradentes
Pouso do Chico Rei

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