Portugal breaths in Ouro Preto, with each street, each corner, each building, showing the Portuguese colonial architecture, preserved in time, and displayed with care. The churches, hundreds of them, rivaling in beauty and richness, are the result of strong competition to perfection, driving the Portuguese baroque to its best.
It was impossible to visit 10% of the marvelous masterpieces, but I think we choose the best. That’s my advice. Prepare well your visit, to profit your time.
The city is very well preserved, and Portuguese heritage shines everywhere.
Time seems to have been stopped in Ouro Preto, only the cars proving that we are not back in time.
The whole town is a sculpture, composed by hundreds of churches and colonial buildings. It’s a delight for our eyes, getting the top of one hill, and… to see the other.
Though very steep, the town is small, and easy to see in one or two days, if you skip the details. Otherwise.. only the baroque churches are more then 300!
São Francisco church
One of the “must see” churches of Ouro Preto is S. Francisco, which shows the transition from Baroque to Rococo styles. There, as in most of the best monuments of the epoch, you’ll see the hands of Aleijadinho, but we better learn with who knows – translating from ouropreto.com.br:
Construction started in 1766, by the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi – the first third order created in Ouro Preto, dating back to 1745. Masterpiece by Antônio Francisco Lisboa, who signs the project and the risk of the cover.
In the ceiling of the central nave paintings of the master Manuel da Costa Ataíde, representing the glorification of Our Lady. Highlight for the crowning of the main door, sculpture in soapstone and, in the sacristy, the toilet, both carved by Aleijadinho.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi was one of the first properties to be found individually in Ouro Preto, in the National context in 1938. The windbreak was executed by Manoel Gonçalves in 1806, and the main and lateral doors, by Lucas Evangelista.
They date from 1826 the tiles of the corridors, and the lateral altars were made between 1829 and 1890. (Guia Cultural Trem da Vale, 2nd Edition) it In 2009 was chosen one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World, in a contest carried out with the purpose of divulging the legacy of the Portuguese Expansion in the World.
There are some mines opened to public, allowing to recreate the hard conditions supported by the old miners.
We visited two of them: the mine of Chico Rei, right in Ouro Preto, and a bigger one in Passagem, close to Mariana. We descent to the mine using an old trolley (so old that Fernanda decided to stay out of it – claustrophobia, she said…).
In our way up we had a demonstration about how to search gold in the mixture of rocks and water.
Mina do Chico Rei
Right in Ouro Preto, the visitable area of this mine, several kilometers long and dug by the slave Chico Rei, in search of fortune and freedom, is not much than a hole.
Anyway, specially for the kids, it is funny (Horacio, almost two meters high was the star).
Classical Place in Minas Gerais
Lots of space, inside and, specially, outside the hotel, in a well gardened and forested area, with a large garden, in the outskirts of Ouro Preto.
My Brazilian friend Marcos risked to freeze in the pool, but we didn’t. The service was good, the only drawback is the distance from town, obliging to use the car, which was no problem for us.
Address: Rodovia dos Inconfidentes, Km 87
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