Ouro Preto

As described by Unesco, "Ouro Preto is considered an unequaled heritage because of its churches, its simple but original urban architecture, its bridges, its fountains and its setting. It is mainly its overall homogeneity and global character that make it a unique cultural property. As the first capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto is of local interest; as a mining center of the Golden Age of Brazil, it is of national interest; and as a unique centre of baroque architecture, it is of outstanding universal value."

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St. Francis of Assisi Church
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Ouro Preto’s landscape and Our Lady of Carmo Church

The St. Francis of Assisi Church, one of the most famous and well-known, is also one of the most beautiful churches of the city, with its painted ceiling. The soapstone crafts fair is right in front of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Our Lady of the Pillar Basilica, in turn, is considered the second richest church of the country, with 434 kilos of gold. The Sacred Art Museum is located inside this church.

The several museums hold relics in their interior and exterior. The Museu da Inconfidência (Conspiracy Museum), for example, was built in 1785 and currently has a valuable collection of objects and manuscripts related to the Inconfidência Mineira, as well as various pieces by Aleijadinho, Mestre Athayde, etc. The Museum of Aleijadinho is in the sacristy of the Basilica of Our Lady of Conception, stores a rich set of sacred art. The Oratory Museum charms every visitor with its collection of 162 images and 300 shrines.

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Museu da Inconfidência (Conspiracy Museum)
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Tiradentes Square: Tiradentes Monument and Museum of Inconfidência

Ouro Preto is also rich in ecological tours, with Itacolomi Peak in the background, and beautiful waterfalls.

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Ouro Preto and Itacolomi Peak
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Figure 6: Ouro Preto on a foggy day
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Lovers Waterfall, in Lavras Novas District

Consider, for example, taking the tour of  Maria Fumaça (Train of Vale) (steam locomotive) to Mariana: just unforgettable! The Train of Vale was a project between the Vale do Rio Doce with the municipal authorities of Mariana and Ouro Preto. The touristic train, which restarted operation in April 2006, is a great success, attracting tourists from across the country. The train departs from the Train Station Square in Ouro Preto (next to Convention Center). It runs Friday through Sunday and holidays, departing from at 10am from Ouro Preto, and at 2pm from Mariana.

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Tour in the Train of Vale (Maria Fumaça)
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Train of Vale (Maria Fumaça)

Another option is to visit one of the several mines in town, such as Mina do Chico Rei, where the mythical figure of Chico Rei, captured and brought a slave from Africa along with his tribe, used to work, or Mina da Passagem (Passage Mine), on the way to Mariana, the largest gold mine open to the public in the world.

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Mina da Passagem (Passage Gold Mine)

Ouro Preto also keeps treasures in their districts, such as Museum Reductions, located in Amarantina district, around 23 km from the city. The museum has a collection of 29 perfect replicas of architectural monuments located in various cities of the country, such as the Joinville’s railway station, the Church of Our Lady of Glory of Outeiro of Rio de Janeiro, and the Convent of St. Francis of Olinda.

More information about Ouro Preto’s churches, museums and other attractions, including visiting hours is available here. Also learn more about the history and attractions of Ouro Preto taking a virtual tour of the city.

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