The beautiful towns of Minas Gerais are testimony to the wealth generated by Brazil’s 17th and 18th century gold rush.
Prospectors made their fortunes from the diamonds and gold found in the area, and poured the money into the pockets of artisans who lavishly decorated the churches.
You will not find finer preserved examples of Baroque art and colonial architecture anywhere else in Brazil, or possibly throughout the entire Americas.
Ouro Preto is the most picturesque and well preserved town and is a UNESCO World Cultural Monument best explored on foot. The steep streets and whitewashed colonial houses cling to the hillside and at virtually every turn you will come across a Baroque church with an excessively elaborate interior, covered with saints and rosy-cheeked angels and anointed with gold.
Another place steeped in history is the sleepy town of Tiradentes, whose cobbled streets and colonial buildings (many of which are occupied by local artists) wind gently down the hill from the Santo Antônio church towards the charming main square.
To visit these, and other colonial towns of the area, the journey is by road either from Rio or from the city of Belo Horizonte, and requires at least two days.
If you have a little more time or a particular interest in the history of this area then it is worth heading in the opposite direction by a scenic road to the delightful town of Diamantina, which is still a diamond-mining town today.
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Accommodation choices for Minas Gerais
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